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The Dow Jones industrial average, powered higher all year by optimism that the economic recovery is finally for real, crossed 13,000 on Tuesday for the first time since May 2008. The market couldn't hold those early gains, finishing up 15.82 points at 12,965.69.
My approach to tracking my spending has traditionally been to wait for credit card bills to come, then (hopefully) pay them off. Three new online services promise to help you do a better job of tracking as you buy.
Retail sales barely rose in December, but the gain was enough to lift sales to a record level for 2011. It marked the largest annual increase in more than a decade.
Sears Holding Corp., which owns the two ubiquitous retail names Sears and Kmart, announced this week that it would shutter 100 to 120 stores, citing poor holiday-season sales. The move came as little surprise to retail strategists who say the issue wasn't simply weak 2011 sales.
They key word in the title of this beautifully and intelligently illustrated book is "world." Indeed, it might just as well have been called "Department Stores of the World," for its focus is on the worldwide nature of this merchandising phenomenon. The great stores of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles get their due, as do those of Paris (where they began), London and Berlin.
The Christmas shopping season started with a bang and the consumer mood is brightening at a critical time during the month that brings a quarter of the year's retail sales in the U.S.