Consumer

Your Orange Juice is definitely going to cost more

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release its first citrus production forecast for Florida’s 2017-2018 Thursday after Hurricane Irma swept the Sunshine State more than a month ago, wiping away a majority of its treasured crop. Initial reports indicated that 50-70% of citrus crops have been washed away due to the storm. Florida’s Department of Citrus told FOX Business that farmers across the state are reporting anywhere from 30-70% crop loss over the last few weeks. Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, said that the Florida Citrus industry as a whole has taken a “heavy hit” this hurricane season. “Before the hurricane, we were expecting more than 75 million boxes of oranges on the trees this season. Sadly, that’s no longer the case. This may, temporarily, mean less Florida Orange Juice on grocery store shelves and a corresponding price increase,” she said, without elaborating on how much the price hike will be. Yet, Florida’s Department of Citrus says despite the massive setback and soon-to-be price jumps, it is confident that no shortages will happen.

Amazon causes stink with Trump-tweet toilet paper

Amazon on Friday was offering rolls of toilet paper printed with tweets from President Trump. A page on the Internet retail giant site showed individual rolls of Trump-themed toilet paper for $11.99 for Amazon Prime customers. The site said the item was being sold by a company called Toilet Tweets, and that delivery was being “fulfilled by Amazon.” By mid-Friday morning, Amazon appeared to put some distance between itself and the product. A new search for “Donald Trump Classic Tweets Toilet Paper” only led to a page that said the product was available through third parties. The classic tweets include Trump’s messages on Twitter from before he became president.

To read the rest of the article, and see the TP in question, click on the text above.     🙂

Apple HomePod sets sights on Amazon Echo, Google Home

Look out Alexa and Echo, here comes the HomePod. Apple is stuffing its beloved Siri into an Internet-connected speaker in what is the digital giant’s first new product in more than two years. The HomePod speaker was unveiled at a conference for software programmers on Monday, and will go head-to-head-to-head with Amazon and Google’s popular digital home assistants. But of course Apple says its siri-based system tops them all because it’s giving more emphasis to sound quality, not just smarts. Not surprisingly, there’s integration with the Apple Music online subscription. Besides playing music, HomePod will help people to manage their lives and homes. Siri will be the voice assistant responding to requests for information and other help around the house. It’s Apple’s first new device since the company released the Apple Watch in April 2015. But it all comes for a fairly hefty price. The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180 and Google sells its Home speaker for $130. So that speaker better sound pretty nice. The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released last year, have helped plant the seeds for a promising market. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the U.S. are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year.

Car shoppers shelling out hundreds more in down payments

U.S. auto sales have moderated this year, but here’s a positive sign for dealerships: Consumers are spending hundreds of dollars more on down payments. Car buyers are digging deep to pay more money up front and lower their monthly payments, according to a new report from Edmunds, the car-shopping platform. Down payments on new cars nearly hit a record high in May, rising to an average of $3,801. That’s an increase of $233, or 6.5%, compared to May 2016. Used vehicles also attracted higher down payments. The average buyer paid an additional $93 up front, a jump of 3.8%. With interest rates and sticker prices climbing, the increase in down payments has helped buyers make up the difference. Edmunds also noted that shoppers have more confidence in a stronger economy, which has encouraged them to spend more for a car with extra bells and whistles. “In our increasing credit-based culture where consumers are willing to finance everything from cellphones to vacations, more money up front shows car buyers aren’t completely sacrificing practicality in order to get the cars they really want,” Edmunds Executive Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell said. Consumers have also cut their monthly payments by taking advantage of longer loan terms. The average loan for a new vehicle hit 69.1 months in May, marking a 6.6% increase over the last five years.

Sen Perdue on Trump’s First 100 Days: Consumer Confidence Is the Highest It’s Been in 20 Years

Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” while discussing President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) heralded Trump’s leadership, noting, “Consumer confidence is actually up, it’s the highest it’s been in 20 years. CEO confidence is up.” Perdue said,”When he was a candidate, he said job one would get the economy going and he is trying to move in that direction. The regulatory work that has been done so far is encouraging. I like this tax conversation. I give Paul Ryan and Kevin Brady a lot of credit for starting this dialogue this year. I am hopeful that we will get there, but I am encouraged by the tax plan that came out last night. I’m looking forward to having that debate over there. I am excited we are talking about things that are pro-growth.” He added, “When I go home people are so frustrated with the gridlock. I just think that’s the first thing we have to come to grips with. And the second is that we see the world here in Washington – these politicians that have been here for so long don’t see it the same way as the rest of the world. They want Washington to work. They’re less concerned about how we got Gorsuch confirmed than they are we got him confirmed. They are less concerned about how we do this tax thing than getting it done here. They want the economy moving. Let me give you some encouragement here. I’ve watched this all my life. Consumer confidence is actually up, it’s the highest it’s been in 20 years. CEO confidence is up. Why is that? They’re hopeful, you talk about hope, they’re hopeful that actually, we’re going to break through on regulation, which they see happening right now, that we’ll end up with a relatively good tax package that will create a level playing field with the rest of the world, we’ll solve this health care disaster that we’re sitting here with and move forward.”

Nordstrom Charging $425 for Fake-Mud Jeans

Fashion retailer Nordstrom is selling a pair of $425 jeans that allegedly show “you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.” The “Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans,” which come with a “caked-on muddy coating,” have been roundly mocked on social media, with Mike Rowe remarking that the jeans are intended to make someone appear like they have a dirty job when they do not. “The Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans aren’t pants. They’re not even fashion. They’re a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic – not iconic,” Rowe wrote on Facebook. On “Fox & Friends” this morning, Brian Kilmeade echoed Rowe’s sentiment, saying that if you’re going to wear muddy jeans, you should earn the mud. He noted that the description on the Nordstrom website says the jeans “embody rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.” “But yet you are afraid, because you have to buy somebody else’s dirt,” Kilmeade said. “It’s for the trust fund baby. It’s for the kid who inherits the millions of dollars, the kid who doesn’t want to work hard and wants to go into Nordstrom, pay a lot of money and act like they work,” Ainsley Eardhardt said. Steve Doocy said “hats off” to Nordstrom if they really can get $425 for these jeans, which are made in Portugal. “If got a closet full of clothes that could look just like that in about half an hour,” Doocy said. “If it works out, I’m going in to business too!”

You really can’t make this stuff up, folks!  This is the epitome of phoniness.  The official Nordstrom site says that wearing these ridiculous jeans “..shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.”  But, you are!  Otherwise, you wouldn’t buy jeans with fake mud to falsely portray yourself as someone who, in fact, does get “down and dirty” in the mud.  Wow..  Like I said, you really can’t make this stuff up..  Unreal..

Brick-and-Mortar Stores Are Shuttering at a Record Pace

American retailers are closing stores at a record pace this year as they feel the fallout from decades of overbuilding and the rise of online shopping. Just this past week, women’s apparel chain Bebe Stores Inc. said it would close its remaining 170 shops and sell only online, while teen retailer Rue21 Inc. announced plans to close about 400 of its 1,100 locations. “There is no reason to believe that this will abate at any point in the foreseeable future,” said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies for Columbia Business School and a former executive at Sears Canada Inc. and other department stores. Through April 6, closings have been announced for 2,880 retail locations this year, including hundreds of locations being shut by national chains such as Payless ShoeSource Inc. and RadioShack Corp. That is more than twice as many closings as announced during the same period last year, according to Credit Suisse. Based on the pace so far, the brokerage estimates retailers will close more than 8,600 locations this year, which would eclipse the number of closings during the 2008 recession. At least 10 retailers, including apparel seller Limited Stores Co., electronics chain Hhgregg Inc. and sporting-goods chain Gander Mountain Co., have filed for bankruptcy protection so far this year. That compares with nine retailers that declared bankruptcy, with at least $50 million liabilities, for all of 2016. The seeds of the industry’s current turmoil date back nearly three decades, when retailers, in the throes of a consumer-buying spree and flush with easy money, rushed to open new stores. The land grab wasn’t unlike the housing boom that was also under way at that time. “Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared,” Richard Hayne, chief executive of Urban Outfitters Inc., told analysts last month. “This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst.”