. . . Just Don't Tell Wal-mart
Wal-Mart is relying on a huge selection of products and rock-bottom prices. So what else is new? This time it's all on-line.
By year's end the country's No. 1 retailer expects to sell 80,000 products on-line, according to Bloomberg News, partly because on-line prices are lower than in its stores. Internet experts say the Wal-Mart Web site also is appealing and easy to use.
Saving Skips a Generation
Generation X-ers have more in common with their grandparents than Baby Boomers -- at least when it comes to saving money. A recent Gallup poll has learned that Americans between 18 and 30 years old save about 16 percent of their income, much like their grandparents. The in-between Boomers save about 13 percent.
IRS Pinpoints Tax Cheats
For tax purposes, it's probably better to be located in Sioux Falls, SD, than in Pensacola, FL. A Syracuse University study shows no Sioux Falls taxpayers faced prosecution by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 1995, while Pensacola suffered four times the national average in income tax criminal prosecution. The next highest prosecution rate was found in Manhattan, NY, followed by Las Vegas, NV.
Database of Retail Employee Thieves
Employee theft now costs retail stores an estimated $10 billion a year, so some large merchants are turning to a national database of workers accused of theft before they hire. Penney's, Dayton, Target and Home Depot use the TheftNet database from Deluxe Corp.'s Employment Screening Partners. For a monthly fee they check names of job applicants against the database listing store employees who have signed confessions or have been prosecuted for theft.
Internet Makes a Difference, Except in Sales . . .
Forty percent of small business owners say the Internet has changed the way they operate. According to a survey by George S. May International Co. the most popular reasons for going on-line are research, e-mail, advertising and promotion. Sales isn't a top use for the Net yet, although on-line companies racked up about $730 million in sales last year. Analysts say too many Web sites discourage sales by failing to provide a telephone number and other assurance that shoppers can reach a real person if something goes wrong. Cybersource, an industry association for Internet commerce, adds that products often can be bought more cheaply by telephone or in a store than on-line.