Inside these posts: shopping

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Wal-Mart expands free pick-up service across U.S.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding a program that lets shoppers pick out items online and pick them up in its stores across the United States as it tries to bring people to its stores more often following several quarters of disappointing sales. Get the full story »

MasterCard reports back-to-school uptick

Caution remained the name of the game for U.S. consumers in September, but there was an upswing in spending on back-to-school supplies and less expensive electronics, according to a report by MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse.

Clothing, electronics and online retailers all saw sales gains in September, SpendingPulse said, supporting Wall Street’s view that they got a boost from late back-to-school shopping that pushed sales from August. Get the full story »

Retail sales rise, but aren’t at pre-recession levels

Retail sales in the Chicago area inched up slightly in the first quarter, marking the first year-over-year improvement since 2007, but also signaling that the region has a long way to go to recover from the economic downturn.

According to a report to be released today, the six-county metropolitan Chicago area generated $21.29 billion in sales for the first three months of 2010, up $43.5 million, or 0.20 percent, from the same period a year ago, according to the report from Melaniphy & Associates Inc. The city of Chicago had $4.76 billion in sales, an increase of $12.4 million, or 0.26 percent.

The report concludes that while consumers are loosening their grips on their wallets, retail sales fell so dramatically during the recession that the region has yet to make up the lost ground. Get the full story »

Consumer confidence rebounds to 52.5 in March

Consumer-Confidence.jpg(David McNew/Getty Images)

Associated Press | Americans’ confidence in the economy rebounded in March after a February
plunge, but shoppers still remain cautious, according to a private
research group’s monthly survey released Tuesday.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to 52.5 in March,
recovering about half of the nearly 11 points it lost in February.
Analysts were expecting a reading of 50 for March. February’s 46.4
marked the lowest level since April 2009 and erased three consecutive
months of improvement.

Get the full story »