Consumer Discretionary

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  • Not all 'bad' gifts are bad, and may actually be very good.

    Not OK Gifts that are Actually OK

    There are many social norms that dictate gift-giving, including when, how and what to give as gifts. 

    Interestingly, these norms don’t seem to be about making sure that recipients get the gifts they want. What makes for a good or bad gift often differs in the eyes of givers and recipients.  In fact, behavioral science research shows that gifts that may seem “taboo” to givers might actually be better appreciated by recipients than they might think.

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  • Loyalty and frequent flier programs mean big bucks for corporations.

    The Loyal, Frequent Customer

    The rewards business has turned into its own multi-national industry. When a Chinese billionaire reportedly bagged a lifetime of free first-class flights by using his credit card to buy a single (admittedly expensive) piece of art recently, it acted as a reminder that millions of us are underwriting loyalty schemes such as this. However, we’re not all benefiting quite as much as certain comfortably off art collectors.

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  • Black Friday push-back is new, but not widespread.

    Black (Eye) Friday

    Black Friday is the “traditional” start of the holiday shopping season, when hordes of eager consumers line up outside retailers in the wee hours to ensure they don’t miss out on steeply discounted televisions, faded jeans and smartphones. Fistfights over printers are known to occur.

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  • Retail's boat anchor is often its real estate.

    What to Do with Real Estate: Retail Mulls Options

    Amazon and Zappos have saved money by only taking up space on shopper's computers and mobile devices. Even though the former opened one flagship bookstore, investors have seen the amount of square footage held by retailers like Macy's, Sears and others as a millstone around their proverbial necks. That is not necessarily a valid concern, and if the brick and mortar retailers handle their market position correctly, they could rebut concerns about expected dips in Black Friday sales.

    The Macy's Story: Mistakes down the Top Retailer

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