consumers

Could Japan Hold the Key to Asia's Rising Consumers?

Although Japan's stock market has been weak for the last 20 years, there are signs that a shift may be under way that could transform that nation into the gateway to Asia's emerging-market consumers. For patient investors looking for a contrarian play with huge upside potential, it's time to re-examine Japan.

Consumer Sentiment Dips on Economic Concerns Ahead of Elections

Consumer sentiment dipped to 67.2 in October -- its lowest reading in about a year. Further, there%u2019s no mystery behind consumers%u2019 protracted melancholy mood: Economic uncertainty. Sentiment is not likely to rise until Americans are certain job market conditions are improving and their incomes are rising.

National Retailers Go Local to Boost the Bottom Line

Knowing customers' likes and dislikes is about as basic as it gets in retailing. But for years, chain department stores got it wrong. More concerned with profits and keeping down costs, big retailers kept a tight rein on inventories and focused more on sameness. Not anymore.

Warren Accepts Role as Consumer Agency Adviser

Elizabeth Warren said Friday that she had accepted the position of creating a consumer financial protection agency, and vowed the agency would put an end to "tricks and traps" in consumer lending. In a White House blog post this morning, Warren said she "enthusiastically agreed" to take the position of assistant to the President and adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Winter Prediction: Extra Cold, But with Low Oil Prices

The mid-Atlantic region, hard hit last winter, will catch a break from the weather next time, says the Farmer's Almanac, but much of the rest of the U.S. will be colder than normal, New England in particular. For those who heat their homes with oil, however, lower prices should ease the season.

House or Food? Consumers Protect Their Credit Cards

Normally, it would be considered a positive sign that people are reducing their credit card debt load. But a series of statistical releases this week confirms an ominous new trend among desperate consumers: They have stopped paying their mortgages but are continuing to pay off their credit cards so they can continue to buy staples, like food.

U.S. Auto Sales May Have Revved Up in July

Analysts' expectations are that sales rose to the highest levels of the year last month, reaching an annualized rate of 11.9 million units. Eager to make room for 2011 models on dealers' lots, automakers have hiked incentives, drawing summertime bargain-hunters.

Millions of Americans See Credit Scores Plummet

Millions of Americans are seeing their credit scores plunge. According to FICO, 25.5% of consumers -- roughly 43.4 million people -- have a credit score below 600, making them a poor risk for lenders, and making it hard for those consumers to get credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.

How finance reform affects us directly

The historic finance reform bill hammered out by a House and Senate panel is 2,000 pages long, but WalletPop had its yellow highlighter out to spare...

China's Currency Move Means Hard Decisions Ahead

If you think China's decision to unpeg its currency from the U.S. dollar was a good move for both countries, Gary Shilling says don't believe it. The economist who saw the subprime crisis coming warms that the move isn't what it appears to be, and says it will have a number of unintended consequences.

Love Will Be on a Budget This Valentine's Day

Even Cupid is frugal these days. With mildly optimistic retail forecasts for 2010, experts expect lovers will hold their wallets tight while shopping for Valentine's Day gifts. For the full year, retail sales are expected to rise only a modest 2.5%.

AT&T Resumes Online iPhone Sales to Big Apple Customers

Turns out, Apple's trendy iPhone is a little too popular for its cell service provider to handle. AT&T has halted online sales of the smart phone in the New York City area, citing lack of capacity on its cellular network there.

Retailers: More Customers Using Food Stamps

Retailers are adjusting to an increasing number of customers buying food with food stamps. Some stores have had to change they way to do business to accommodate shoppers on food stamps, who flood the stores on the first day of the month, when the benefits arrive.