Morning Money Memo…
Many retailers could be facing flat sales for the holidays. But Black Friday is still a huge event. The Consumer Electronics Association says more than 6 out of 10 Americans plan to shop on Friday.
Small business Saturday is also a big deal for many local businesses, especially book sellers. Hundreds of authors, including best-selling novelists Wall Lamb and Richard Russo will be signing books at local shops on Saturday.
“Consumers are far more likely to discover books while browsing in a bricks-and-mortar store than anywhere else,” said Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association.
“Small businesses are the backbone of American cities,” Matthew Mahood, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley San Jose Chamber of Commerce, told the San Jose Mercury News. “Whether these small businesses are on a busy downtown street or a small neighborhood business district, they are vital to creating a sense of place, building community, supporting our local economy and creating jobs.”
Despite the rise of online shopping, the Internet accounts for only 10% of retail sales. “It’s still a small or relatively small part of overall spending,” said Richard Feinberg, professor of consumer behavior and retail management at Purdue University.
For many people, shopping at the mall on Friday will be a social event. “People love going out, getting the great bargains that could be had and then talking about it when they get back and talking about it years after,” Feinberg said.
Some stores may be crowded with shoppers when they open on Thursday evening. “What’s better?” asks Feinberg. “Sitting around and digesting your food or getting out there and meeting people and enjoying yourself.”
The toy industry is pushing back after consumer groups urged shoppers to watch out for toxic toys. “There are over 100 tests for safety under the U.S. mandatory requirements,” said Joan Lawrence of the Toy Industry Association. “They range from small parts and sharp edges to the chemical content, the sound level. … Up to a hundred different tests before they can be sold in this country.” There were only 36 toy recalls last year, compared to 172 in 2008.
New toy safety regulations imposed strict limits on lead and other toxic metals in children’s products. “Unfortunately some toys with lead are slipping through the cracks and toys with other toxic metals are also turning up,” said Jenny Levin of the Public Interest Research Group.
Motorola is selling a cheap smartphone more than a month ahead of schedule. The company says it was able to produce the Moto G phones faster than expected. They sell for $179 without a contract requirement. That compares with $600 or more for most other no-contract smartphones.
Follow Richard Davies, business correspondent for ABC News Radio, on Twitter @DaviesNow