HOUSING BOOM TOUGH TO EXPLAIN, EASY TO ENJOY
The continuing housing boom during what has been a recession is tough to
explain, but many related industries continue to enjoy it all the same.
Demand for lumber, carpeting, laundry machines, furniture and all other
things going into the home continues soaring.
The National Association of Home Builders reports that in the first year
after buying a new home, property alterations cost $2,475, furnishings $2,117
and appliances $529.
DEPARTMENT STORES DOOMED?
While not exactly facing extinction, department stores are striving to remain
useful in shoppers’ lives. A page one headline in The Wall Street Journal
(March 12, 2002) states, “Department Stores Fight an Uphill Battle
Just to Stay Relevant.”
The Journal went on to observe that department stores have been losing market
share for years because of inconvenience. They are difficult to get to,
difficult to find one’s way around in, difficult to shop in and even
difficult to pay up in because of a shortage of sales help. Plus, they charge
WALLET PHONES COULD BE NEXT
Someday soon consumers could store their credit card or bank account numbers
in their mobile phones and when they’re ready to pay for something
simply press a button to transmit the information.
Such a program will be launched this year in the United Kingdom and Germany
by Vodafone Group PLC and T-Mobile International AG. In the United States,
Paypal, Inc. is active in developing such payments.
U.S. CURRENCY TO ADD COLOR
To thwart counterfeiters, the U.S. government plans to roll out new currency
next year with new color added. The new bills will have “subtle color”
in neutral areas, but the colors have not been announced.
As in 1995 when currency was changed by enlarging the presidents’ portraits,
the $1 and $2 bills likely won’t be changed because they’re rarely
counterfeited. Computers have made counterfeiting much easier—of the
$47.5 million in fake money last year, almost half was made on computers.