While many shoppers use Cyber Monday to score deals on gadgets and big-ticket tech items, fashionistas can also save big on clothing and jewelry. Take a look at the designers and retailers below for the best Cyber Monday fashion deals. Aritzia Aritzia’s Cyber Monday sale is taking up to 50 percent off online orders. Ann Taylor Get 50 percent off everything at Ann Taylor in stores and online using the code CYBER50. Anthropologie Anthropologie’s 24-hour online exclusive sale takes 20 percent off full-price items and offers free shipping on orders over $150. Athleta Enjoy 20 percent off your Athleta purchase when you use the code RECHARGE. Banana Republic Banana Republic is offering 50 percent off sitewide on Cyber Monday ― no code required. Bloomingdale’s Take 25 percent off a large selection of regular and sale-price items at Bloomingdale’s. Total savings can range up to 60 percent. Online shoppers can also get free shipping and free returns. Coach Get up to 50 percent off select styles and shop over 125 online exclusive sales. Cole Haan Enjoy 40 percent off everything when you shop Cole Haan in stores or online on Cyber Monday. Express Express is offering 50 percent off plus free shipping on items sitewide. This deal excludes gift cards and featured brands. Forever21 Get 21 percent off your order and free shipping when you shop Forever21 online this Cyber Monday. Gap Score a whopping 50 percent off everything at Gap.com when you use the code CYBMON. H&M H&M has several offers this Cyber Monday. If your purchase exceeds $30, take 20 percent off with the code 5144. You’ll also receive free shipping. If your purchase totals over $50, use the code 0275 to receive 25 percent off your order, plus free shipping. For orders over $100, insert the code 8284 to receive 30 percent off and free shipping. Intermix Take 30 percent off select full price items and 40 percent off designer sale items on Cyber Monday. Shipping is free. J.Crew J.Crew will take 40 percent off your order in stores and online when you use the code MONDAY. They are also offering free shipping. J.Crew Factory J.Crew Factory is offering 60 percent off everything except Crewcuts styles and men’s suiting, which are 50 percent off. Get an extra 40 percent off clearance, as well as free shipping. JC Penney For orders of $100 or more, enjoy 33 percent off at JC Penney this Cyber Monday. For orders under $100, you’ll receive 25 percent off. Use the code TOSAVE23 at checkout. L.K. Bennett Enjoy 40 percent off select L.K. Bennett lines on Cyber Monday. There is no code required. Madewell Madewell is taking 25 percent off your entire purchase when you use the code CYBERMONDAY at checkout. Moda Operandi Moda Operandi’s Designer Sale is taking up to 65 percent off their sale items. Shoppers can also get an extra 30 percent off when they use the code EXTRA30 at checkout. Net-A-Porter Get up to 50 percent off sale styles when you shop Net-A-Porter on Cyber Monday. Old Navy Score 50 percent off sitewide and receive a pair of free cozy socks when you use the code COZY on any online purchase. Sperry Save 50 percent on select styles when you use the code CYBER50. Swarovski Add some bling to your wardrobe with Swarovski’s Cyber Monday deal. The company is offering 50 percent off site-wide. Urban Outfitters Urban Outfitters will take $15 off your order of $75+ and $50 off your order of $150+ on Cyber Monday. The Huffington Post may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Two days ago we reported that according to a troubling - for retailers - survey conducted by Reuters/Ipsos, nearly two thirds, or 63% of US adults, did not plan to shop on Black Friday. It is unclear what exactly is causing this sharp slump in US consumerism: according to Christopher Baldwin, CEO of BJ's Wholesale Club, one excuse is that "Black Friday is no longer a one-day event; it has turned into a multi-week event." Another possible reason is that shellshocked by soaring Obamacare premiums, US adults simply have far less disposable cash which to splurge on holiday trinkets. Confirming the pessimistic outlook on this holiday's spending season, Reuters reports that according to its own spot checks as well as those of reporters and industry officials, "store traffic remained subdued across the country." "Initial reports show it's steady and not very busy at stores around the country," said Craig Johnson, president at retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners. The firm deployed 18 people nationwide to observe customer traffic. Rain hurt shopping at stores in the Northeast, Johnson said, but some retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart saw improved customer traffic at stores across the country. At a JC Penney store in Manhattan, Terry Bodiford, visiting from South Carolina, said he did not feel deals were better than he had found online over the past few weeks. Macy's and Best Buy on Chicago's Magnificent Mile were packed, but employees said most of the customers were tourists. The lack of enthusiasm is troubling. As Bloomberg reports, a perpetually optimistic National Retail Federation projects that about 137.4 million consumers will make purchases in stores or online over the four-day weekend that starts on Thanksgiving. The amount Americans have spent has declined in the last three years, slipping 26 percent from 2013 to an average of $299.60 per person last year, according to the trade group. To be sure, at least superficially, there should be good news: By most accounts, this holiday season is expected be a boon for retailers. Unemployment, gasoline prices and inflation are low, while wages, home values and the stock market continue to rise. Shoppers have the wherewithal to spend, and now retailers are hoping the holiday season will give them a reason to. Companies such as Kohl’s Corp., Gap Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc. have said the U.S. presidential election was a major cause of consumers’ recent reluctance to open their wallets. With the outcome settled, they’re expecting the dollars to finally flow. Oh yes, the "I don't know who will be president so I won't buy that TV excuse." It was laughable when it first emerged, and it is even more laughable now that contrary to expectations, Americans are failing to unelash their purchasing animal spirits. Maybe now they are worried about Jill Stein's recount? And yet, nothing will dent the NRF's optimism, which expects that U.S. retail spending is expected to rise 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion in November and December as "retailers are poised to take full advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday period, now known by some as Black Week, which accounts for about 15 percent of holiday spending, according to the trade group." What is even more troubling is that physical retailers have made every possible concession to consumers to get them through the door and spend, spend, spend. J.C. Penney will open its doors at 3 p.m. on Thursday to reach shoppers before they tuck into their Thanksgiving feasts. EBay Inc. is trying to push the selling even earlier: It rebranded the day before Thanksgiving as Mobile Wednesday, using discounts to target traveling Americans. The sales will stretch through the weekend, with online and brick-and-mortar companies offering deals for Cyber Monday. Investors are confident that the retail industry will see strong sales. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Retail Index has risen 4.9 percent so far in November and is on pace for its best monthly return since July. Retail stocks have outpaced the broader market since the U.S. presidential election, with the index up 4.7 percent since Nov. 8, compared with the broader S&P 500’s 3 percent rally. Historical studies indicate that elections affect the timing of retail sales rather than the overall volume, said Jerry Storch, CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue owner Hudson’s Bay Co. “Hopefully, when we get to Black Friday, which really tolls the bell of holiday shopping, then the consumer will start looking forward to Christmas,” Storch said. Indeed, while actual revenues may be lacking, optimism is prevalent as retails hope that finally US consumer will beging spending. "That would be a welcome development for merchants that have yet to see a sales bump materialize. Dollar sales in the second week of November were 8 percent lower than in the same period a year earlier, according to research firm NPD Group. The decline was broad-based, too, with drops in apparel, toys, technology, athletic footwear and perfumes, the firm said." * * * However. what appears to be yet another year of pain for traditional, bricks and mortar retailers, will likely result in further gains for online vendors. According to Reuters, Chicago's State Street, a normally bustling shopping area popular with locals, was desolate. Shaun Smith, a 29-year-old restaurant manager, said he only came to the State Street store to take advantage of a deal for a $279 Westinghouse TV which is normally priced over $600. "I will buy most of what I need online," he said. “If Amazon had everything, like everything you need in the world, I would buy everything from there,” said Oscar Viral, a 58-year-old chef in New York. “I wanted something from Macy’s, and I got on the Internet because they didn’t have it available in the store.” Confirming this, moments ago Amazon.com reported that Black Friday is already on pace to surpass Black Friday last year, in terms of items ordered, adding that In first few hours, Amazon customers have ordered >100k toys. Alexa devices are some of the best-selling items on Amazon.com so far today, including Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote. The company also adds that Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-functional Cooker, Hasbro’s Pie Face Game, WeMo Switch Smart Plug (Works with Amazon Alexa) and Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones also among best- selling deals today. * * * Amazon is just one of many alternatives: for shoppers who are ready to spend, they have more ways than ever to do so, with retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. offering exclusive deals to customers who download their mobile applications. Non-store sales may increase 7 percent to 10 percent this year, reaching as much as $117 billion, according to the NRF. Online sales account for the bulk of this measure, the group said. Online spending by U.S. bargain hunters climbed to above $1 billion by Thanksgiving evening, according to Adobe Digital Index, surging almost 14 percent from a year ago and reflecting a broader trend away from brick-and-mortar shopping. At the start of the first holiday shopping season since the election of Donald Trump as president on November 8, U.S. consumers loosened their purse strings and spent $1.15 billion online between midnight and 5 pm ET on Thursday, according to Adobe. The Adobe figure is collected from 21 billion online visits to 4,500 U.S. retail sites since Nov. 1. "We saw one of our strongest days ever online," Brian Cornell, chief executive of discount retailer Target, told reporters on Thursday evening. He added that online sales grew by double digits, without giving further details. "Online discounts are earlier and a lot bigger than last year," said Tamara Gaffney, principal research analyst at Adobe Digital Index. While the surge in online spending is unmistakable, the question is whether the 7-10% increase in online sales to $117 billion will offset what is shaping up to be another tepid holiday season for traditional retailers. If so, with the election now behind us, we wonder just what the next "latest and greatest" excuse used by retail CEOs will be on Q4 conference calls should the always delayed rebound in US spending fail to materialize yet again..
Submitted by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com, Whatever numbers the retail association posts this weekend for Black Friday (typically overoptimistic assessments) are likely to be skewed this year even more. The New York Times expects a Less Frenzied Black Friday as Millennials opt to stay away. If you’re in the retail business in the United States, you probably really care about these two things: millennials and Black Friday. But more and more, these two big drivers of the industry don’t mix inside stores — a dynamic that is reshaping one the country’s biggest shopping days. Young people of all kinds, a coveted group for retailers because of their free-spending ways, are increasingly turning to their computers and phones to do their holiday shopping, spreading out more widely the days they open their wallets. Crowds on Friday, the unofficial kickoff of the holiday shopping season, will tilt older than a few years ago, and also, it appears, more cautious with their money. As a result, the mix of retailers with high expectations for the day is changing quickly, skewing more toward dollar stores and discount retailers and toward essential products like food and cookware. And it is also making the day itself less and less important for the industry over all. A decade ago, the day after Thanksgiving accounted for 6 percent of all shopping for the holiday season, according to Craig Johnson, the president of Customer Growth Partners, a research firm. This year, he expects shoppers to spend $27 billion on Black Friday, but that will account for only 4.3 percent of the spending this season. Over all, people are expected to spend $632 billion this holiday season, up from $607 billion last year, the company estimates. But for the first time, more than half that growth will come from online shopping, Mr. Johnson said. At the same time, there is a distinct division in who is shopping online. More than half of baby boomers surveyed said they would do none of their holiday shopping online, according to a study by CivicScience, a market research company. Nearly 40 percent of those age 18 to 34 — the group known as millennials — will do most or all of their shopping on the web, and another 35 percent said they would shop both online and in-store. That shift to online shopping has put more pressure on stores to offer deals good enough to bring people out into the cold. Less than a quarter of Americans plan to shop in stores on Black Friday, down from 28 percent two years ago, according to a survey by Bankrate.com, a website that tracks savings products. Does Black Friday Make Sense? The notion of Black Friday no longer makes much sense. Now, there are “Black Friday doorbusters happening all week long” More and more stores will be open Thanksgiving. Wal-Mart and Target will open stores a 6:00 PM. Next year it will likely be noon. Amazon has Black Friday deals on a variety of toys, electronics, and home goods starting on Wednesday. JC Penney is promoting $500 coupons. Sorry, it’s one per store. One in 10 will get $100, and everyone else $10. Can JC Penney really afford losing $100 on 10% of its customers. We will find out. Maybe there is another catch. Black Friday Month A few years ago people were waiting in line hours to be the first in the door for blockbuster deals. Perhaps some still do. But why bother? BGR reports “Black Friday is no longer a day, it’s now a month-long event on Amazon that kicks off today and runs straight through Cyber Monday and all the way to December 22.” The “today” in that story was Friday, November 18, a week ahead of the presumed black Friday. On November 21, Aarons put out a press release announcing “7 Days of Black Friday“. Perpetual Black Friday? Why Not? Why not start in September? Why not Perpetual Black Friday? I just did a website search. The name PerpetualBlackFriday.Com was not taken. I snagged it for $15 on GoDaddy. Why not?
Following San Francisco’s lead, Seattle and New York City have introduced initiatives to regularize workers’ hours.
Пока никто не может точно сказать, на каком именно этапе производство военных касок стало вредительским. Дефекты, однако, налицо: шлемы режут кожу из-за острых металлических винтов, вмятины доставляют дискомфорт, указанные размеры снаряжения не соответствуют армейским стандартам, пуля или осколок могут запросто разнести каску вместе с головой.
Что вы видите на этой фотографии? Правильно - это голова инопланетянина. У нас с вами было несколько больших подборок на эту тему, ну вот например Доктор, что со мной ? Я их вижу ! или например Они следят за нами !Этот пример хорошо иллюстрирует психологический феномен парейдолии. Именно он заставляет нас видеть в случайных предметах самые различные образы. В этом материале мы попытались разобраться в явлении парейдолии, а также узнали, как он может сыграть на руку художникам и дизайнерам.Слово парейдолия происходит от греческих слов para (para — рядом, около, отклонение от чего-либо) и eidolon — изображение. Явление проявляется в том, как в одних зрительных образах мы видим что-либо отчётливое и определённое — например, фигуры людей и животных в облаках.Давайте узнаем об этом подробнееФото 2.ЕСТЬ НЕСКОЛЬКО ТЕОРИЙ ОТНОСИТЕЛЬНО ПРИЧИНЫ ПОЯВЛЕНИЯ ЭТОЙ ОСОБЕННОСТИ У ЧЕЛОВЕКА. Карл Саган, американский космолог и популяризатор науки утверждал, что парейдолия была одним из инструментов выживания древнего человека. В своей книге 1995 года «Демон-Призрачный мир: наука как свеча в темноте» он пишет, что способность распознавать лица на расстоянии или в условиях плохой видимости была крайне важным свойством. В ходе эволюции у человека выработался механизм, который позволял по одному лишь мимолётному взгляду считывать пол человека, его эмоции и другие характеристики. Инстинкт давал возможность человеку мгновенно судить о том, кто идёт ему навстречу — друг или враг. Homo sapiens научился этому настолько хорошо, что мы стали различать людей даже там, где их нет. Когда мы смотрим на механизмы, предметы интерьера, автомобили и другие случайные объекты, совершенно неосознанно мы начинаем видеть в них лица. Этому курьёзу посвящено множество блогов, где публикуются случайные предметы, в которых явно различимы черты живых существ.Фото 3.ЭКСПЕРТЫ ТАКЖЕ УТВЕРЖДАЮТ, ЧТО ПАРЕЙДОЛИЯ ПОРОЖДАЕТ МНОГИЕ ЗАБЛУЖДЕНИЯ, НАПРИМЕР, СВЯЗАННЫЕ С НАБЛЮДЕНИЯМИ НЛО, ОЖИВШЕГО ЭЛВИСА ИЛИ ЛОХНЕССКОГО ЧУДОВИЩА. Как и в случае с вышеупомянутым подгоревшим тостом, парейдолия часто имеет религиозный подтекст. В ходе исследования, проведённого в Финляндии, было обнаружено, что люди, верящие в Бога и другие сверхъестественные явления, чаще видят лица в неживых объектах и ландшафтах.Фото 4.Парейдолией активно пользуются художники. Ещё Леонардо да Винчи писал об этом феномене как о художественном приёме. «Если вы посмотрите на любую стену, испещрённую различными пятнами или выложенную различными видами камней, вы можете вообразить целые сцены и увидеть в ней сходство с различными ландшафтами, горами, реками, скалами, деревьями, равнинами, широкими долинами и холмами», писал он в одной из своих тетрадей. Один из самых известных художников, который использует подобные иллюзии в своём творчестве, — венгр Иштван Орос, создавший серию гравюр с безобидными сценками, композиции которых отчётливо изображают мистический череп.Фото 5.ИЛЛЮСТРАТОР СКОТТ МАККЛАУД СДЕЛАЛ СВОЁ ЛЮБОПЫТНОЕ ПРЕДПОЛОЖЕНИЕ О ПАРЕЙДОЛИИ. Он отметил, что лица людей мы можем увидеть не только в электрических розетках, решётках, стульях и прочих неживых предметах, но и в абсолютно любой изогнутой геометрической фигуре, если мы добавим одну точку в её область. Ровно так же, как абстрактный смайлик (который является двумя точками и линией) мы расцениваем как человеческое лицо.Фото 6.ЯВЛЕНИЕ ПАРЕЙДОЛИИ НАУЧИЛИСЬ ИМИТИРОВАТЬ КОМПЬЮТЕРНЫЕ СИСТЕМЫ. По тому же принципу работает система распознавания лиц в «Фейсбуке» и цифровых фотоаппаратах. Любопытный пример около года назад представила арт-группа из Сеула Shinseungback Kimyonghun. Художники сделали фотографии облаков, которые на краткий миг сливаются в подобие человеческого лица. Они разработали скрипт, который использовал библиотеку обнаружения лиц OpenCV, и подключили к компьютеру цифровую камеру, направленную в небо. Так система выявляла и фотографировала человеческие лица в небе автоматически.Фото 7.Парейдолию взяли на вооружение и промышленные дизайнеры. Ааррон Уолтер в своей книге Designing for Emotion сравнивает дизайн с иерархией потребностей пирамиды Маслоу. Чтобы быть востребованным и полезным, дизайн продукта должен отвечать определённым потребностям пользователей. В верхней части пирамиды, согласно Маслоу, значится самореализация, в случае с дизайном — это эмоции и индивидуальность, которые должен нести в себе дизайн продукта. Для того чтобы подчеркнуть их, существует множество способов — одним из них может стать приём с антропоморфизацией.Фото 8.В 1915 году компания Coca Cola создала иконическую Contour Bottle. Эта бутылка стала быстро ассоциироваться с Мэй Вест (американской актрисой и секс-символом начала XX века), потому что напоминала формы женского тела. В то время дизайн бутылок редко отличался по форме от обычного цилиндра. Очевидно, что бутылка с антропоморфными характеристиками стала более привлекательной, и многие компании в течение следующих десятилетий пытались перенять эту концепцию. До сих пор флаконы шампуней и прочих бьюти-средств имеют изгибы, напоминающие талию.Фото 9.Одним из самых ярких примеров антропоморфизма в дизайне являются автомобили. Ещё задолго до того, как студия Pixar представила мультфильм «Тачки», люди заприметили сходство переда машины с лицом. Лауреат Пулитцеровской премии, автомобильный критик Дэн Нейл заявил журналу Wired: «Автопроизводители очень много знают об особенности человека видеть лица в неодушевлённых предметах. Порой это играет им на руку, а иногда играет против них».«АВТОМОБИЛЬНЫЕ ДИЗАЙНЕРЫ НЕ ПРОСТО ЗАДУМЫВАЮТСЯ НАД ЭТИМ, НО СОВЕРШЕННО СОЗНАТЕЛЬНО ПРИДАЮТ «ЛИЦУ» АВТОМОБИЛЯ ТОТ ИЛИ ИНОЙ ХАРАКТЕР, ЗАВИСЯЩИЙ НАПРЯМУЮ ОТ АУДИТОРИИ, НА КОТОРУЮ АВТОМОБИЛЬ РАССЧИТАН. Многое зависит от того, как и насколько удачно дизайнерам удалось попасть в сердце покупателя, отображая те или иные черты характера автомобиля, но также и от известности бренда и уместности конкретной модели в общем ряду бренда; много разных неизвестных уравнения, но, несомненно, заложенный характер играет очень важную роль в успехе модели. Для молодого покупателя — это чаще агрессивные черты дерзкого хулигана, семейные автомобили — нейтральные, как типичный семьянин с небольшим лишним весом, воротилам большого бизнеса — характер уверенный, спокойный, с долей элегантности, презентабельный — копия владельца.Фото 10.эКстати, одним из известных образцов парейдолии является регион в северном полушарии Марса — Кидония (Cydonia Mensae) или «Лицо Марса». Один из выветренных холмов, который была запечатлён на фото со станции «Викинг-1», выглядел похожим на огромное каменное изваяние человекоподобного лица. И подобных примеров в космосе существует масса.Фото 11.Немецкая студия дизайна Onformative ведет, наверное, самый масштабный и систематический поиск таких изображений в мире. Их программа, Google Face, будет в течение нескольких месяцев искать лица на картах Google.Google Face просканирует Землю несколько раз под разными углами. Сейчас программа уже обнаружила загадочный профиль в Магаданской области, мужчину с волосатыми ноздрями близ Эшфорда в графстве Кент и какое-то существо в горах Аляски.Берлинцы, конечно, не первые, кто ищет лица там, где их на самом деле нет.В прошлом году на eBay продали куриный нагет (котлетку) с портретом Джорджа Вашингтона - он ушел с молотка за 8100 долларов.А 10 лет назад 20 000 христиан посетили Бангалор, чтобы поклониться чапати (лавашу) с изображением Иисуса Христа. Некоторые даже молились перед этим ликом.Фото 12.В 2011 году блоггер, который собирает фото объектов, похожих на Гитлера, запустил в Tumblr фотографию скромного дома в Свонзи (Уэльс). Скошенная крыша сооружения напоминает знаменитую челку диктатора, а двери с небольшим навесом - его характерные усы.На этой неделе сеть американских универмагов JC Penney сорвала большой куш после того, как в соцсети Reddit кто-то заметил, что один из ее чайников похож на Гитлера. Чайники немедленно раскупили.Фото 13.В 2009 году семья Аллен из Истрада, что в Уэльсе, открыв баночку Мармайта (пасты из дрожжевого экстракта), увидела на крышечке вместо привычных коричневых пятен лицо Иисуса.А американка Диана Дайсер в 1994 году, откусив кусок от тоста с сыром, узрела на нем Деву Марию. Женщина хранила недоеденный бутерброд более 10 лет, и в конце концов выставила его на eBay. Лот получил 17 млн просмотров и был продан за 28 тысяч долларов.Разработчиков программы Google Face Седрика Кифера и Джулию Лаб также вдохновляла Парейдолия.Фото 14.Несмотря на то, что большинство лиц достаточно искажены и напоминают персонажей авангардистских картин, некоторые выглядят "настолько реалистично, что в их случайность трудно поверить", добавляет он.Но почему люди видят лица в пятнах или складках рельефа?Во-первых, благодаря эволюции, говорит доктор Нушин Гаджихани из Гарвардского университета. Люди "запрограммированы" распознавать лица с рождения, говорит она."Даже новорожденный реагирует на схематическое изображение лица и не реагирует на рисунки, где глаза, нос и рот расположены в неправильном порядке", - говорит ученый.Фото 15.Выделять из фона знакомые объекты умели еще первобытные люди, говорит Кристофер Френч из Британского психологического общества."У нас развился мозг, который мыслит быстро, но неточно. А потому иногда вводит нас в заблуждение, - объясняет он. - Классический пример: стоит кроманьонец, чешет в затылке и размышляет: что там в кустах шуршит - соплеменник или саблезубый тигр? В этой ситуации больше шансов на выживание у того, кто верит в саблезубого тигра и вовремя убежит. Прочие рискует попасть в хищную пасть ".Другие эксперты считают, что Парейдолии - эффект работы нашего мозга. Он постоянно обрабатывает информацию, полученную извне, анализирует линии, формы, поверхности и цвета, говорит Джоэл Восс, невролог из Северо-западного университета.Мозг присваивает этим изображением смысл - как правило, сопоставляя их с информацией, хранящейся в долговременной памяти. Но иногда ему попадаются "неоднозначные" вещи, которые он ошибочно соотносит со знакомыми объектами. Это и есть Парейдолии.Также ее может вызвать наше желание увидеть определенные вещи, считает нейробиолог Софи Скотт из Университетского колледжа Лондона.Фото 16."Если вы различаете лицо Иисуса на тосте, это говорит нам не о тосте, а о ваших ожиданиях и о том, как вы интерпретируете мир на основе своих ожиданий", - утверждает она.Если же корочка на бутерброде уже сложилась для вас в профиль Девы Марии, эта картинка закрепится в сознании накрепко, говорит Брюс Гуд, автор книги "Самообман"."Это одно из свойств иллюзий: очень трудно вернуться в первоначальное состояние и снова видеть на месте пятна пятно, а не что-то другое", - говорит он.Но способность различить силуэт на тосте или заборе не объясняет, почему люди готовы покупать эти артефакты за немалые деньги или поклоняться им.У некоторых парейдолия вызывает сильные эмоции - особенно, если человек склонен верить в чудеса, говорит Скотт.Фото 17."Это демонстрирует, насколько мощными являются подобные иллюзии. Мы действительно хотим видеть эти лица, действительно хотим слышать эти голоса, а потому наша система восприятия сделает так, чтобы мы их увидели и услышали", - добавляет он.Для некоторых парейдолия служит доказательством сверхъестественного, говорит Гуд. "Люди специально ищут вокруг себя подобные вещи", - утверждает он.Сам объект также может приобрести особое значение, говорит Френч. Люди верят в его божественное происхождение, в то, что он несет на себе "божью печать" и является "счастливым", говорит он.Но для того, чтобы положительно относиться к парейдолии, не обязательно нужно быть религиозным."Я не верю, что эти силуэты имеют какое-то религиозное значение, - говорит Френч. - Но они такие милые и аккуратные, согласитесь!"Фото 18.Фото 19.Фото 20.Фото 21.Фото 22.Фото 23.Фото 24.Фото 25.Фото 26.Фото 27.Фото 28.Фото 29.Фото 30.Фото 31.Фото 32.Фото 33.источникиhttp://www.lookatme.ru/mag/how-to/inspiration-howitworks/201921-pareidoliahttps://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9F%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B9%D0%B4%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%8Fhttp://www.psy.msu.ru/illusion/pareidolia.htmlhttp://www.bbc.com/ukrainian/ukraine_in_russian/2013/06/130605_ru_s_pareidolia_effectА я вам еще предлагаю ПОСМОТРЕТЬ В ЛИЦ ЕДЕ и как Животные удивляются и Животные с похмелья
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP) is slated to report second-quarter fiscal 2016 results on Aug 12.
There are growing concerns about slowing sales at Macy's, JC Penney, Kohl's and other retailers. Weak auto sales also are making people worried that the consumer may be tapped out. But Amazon and Home Depot continue to thrive.
Welcome to Amazon’s bold new pricing initiative, which I’m calling the “In Jeff We Trust” strategy. The New York Times recently reported that Amazon is scaling back in mentioning list prices for products it sells. When a list price is not noted, Amazon simply provides the price it is charging. Even on Prime Day, Amazon resisted noting list prices — which would have made the deals appear even more attractive — on most of its sale items. While this move is admirable in intention– using list prices is often considered deceptive – its execution risks profits and means Amazon could miss an opportunity to emphasize to customers how strong its price position is. The purpose of showing a list price and a much lower “our price” is to impress upon consumers they are getting a good deal. Never mind that list (or “original,” “compare to,” or “manufacturers suggested”) prices rarely comport to the market prices that other retailers are charging. Perhaps Amazon, which has yet to comment on this pricing change, is taking the high road or trying to avoid becoming a defendant in the increasing number of class action lawsuits being filed over deceptive advertising. Since consumers are dubious about the honesty of list prices, why are they so important? No one wants to overpay for products, yet it’s a hassle to check product prices at other retailers. A high list price creates an anchor in consumers’ minds. It is then used to evaluate whether or not an actual price is a good value. While consumers may not believe a list price is truthful, as long as it’s higher than a retailer’s actual price, we find comfort. Is this rational? No. But neither is believing that 99 cents is significantly lower than a dollar. Eliminating list prices is analogous to JCPenney’s move to “everyday low prices.” Tired of playing the high list price/frequent sales game – and convinced that customers were too – JCPenney curbed sales and offered everyday low prices. The company essentially said to customers, “Trust us, our ‘Fair and Square’ prices are the best.” Customers weren’t convinced and as a result, the general merchandise retailer’s stock share price dropped from over $43 to under $14 in less than 15 months. JCPenney quickly reverted back to high list prices and a frequent sales cycle. The drawback of eliminating list prices (or any type of comparison reference price) is consumers won’t have a “crutch” to help evaluate the deal-worthiness of Amazon’s prices. Customers have to either trust that Amazon is offering a good price or take the time to check other retailers. Amazon needs to keep in mind that its lofty stock price is courtesy of Wall Street betting that its wild growth will continue. The value of a company is often measured as a multiple of its net earnings (price to earnings – P/E – ratio). A recent estimate of the P/E ratio for the S&P 500 is 24.07. This means the market value of the average company in the S&P 500 is equal to 24.07 times its annual earnings. In contrast, Amazon’s P/E ratio is over 300, which conveys that investors are less concerned with profits and more focused in their belief that the company will continue growing. Due to its high P/E ratio, Amazon needs to be militant in advancing revenues. Any suspicion that the growth train is slowing will cause investor anxiety, resulting in a drop in stock price. The last thing that Amazon needs is a pricing strategy which encourages customers to visit rival retailers in search of better prices. Amazon also missed the opportunity to implement a disruptive “look no further” pricing strategy. With its operational excellence and buying power, it can trounce the competition in price. But now the online retailer needs to demonstrate this pricing advantage by providing data-backed confidence to customers. It should be easy for Amazon to scrape prices from rivals’ web site. It could list the average current price of each product next to Amazon’s price. Or perhaps adopt a variant of the Costco strategy – instead of using reference prices, the big box retailer pledges not to mark up its costs by more than 15%. My point is Amazon needs to find a way to clearly flaunt its price advantage to customers. There is no doubt that Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, is creative and entrepreneurial. So much so that even an event he created — Prime Day — receives national attention as a real holiday. Perhaps he’s even a great guy to pal around with. I’m just not sure if I’m ready to trust Jeff to always provide me with the best price.
Changing Tribune to tronc Brings Up the Age Old Question 'When and How Should Companies Change Their Names?'
Many have commented on the proposed name change of Tribune Publishing to tronc. Most of the comments have been critical. Rather than just add to the chorus of criticism, I thought I would try to provide some insight into (1) when company decision makers should (or should not) change their company's name and (2) how they should go about doing it. Company decision makers should not change the company name without sufficient thought Since the company name is an extremely important branding element, changing the name should only be done if there are really good reasons. Too many executives change the name of their companies without giving this important decision sufficient consideration. The reasons why it is usually a bad idea to change your company name typically include the following: Negative impacts on relationships. If the company has been in business for a while and has a loyal following of customers, vendors, stockholders, and other important publics, changing the name disrupts the relationship with these important stakeholders. Have you ever known people that have changed their name after you have known them for a long time? If you have, you know it is hard for you to adjust to their new names. Costly. Name changes cost more than most executives think. Signs on places of business, vehicles, letterhead, business cards, stock call letters, phone and other database listings, social media handles, and so many other things have to be changed. This will take time, and cost you a lot of money. Neural connection costs. More costly than physical name change implementations are the costs to rewire the brains of all the people that have learned your company name. Those neural connections in the brains of constituents took a long time to build. They are likely to take longer to dismantle and replace with new connections. Like any brain surgery, the repair and recovery period is hard to determine and usually more difficult than anyone thought. Some costly examples of company name changes include: Research In Motion to Blackberry, Kraft to Mondelez, Datsun to Nissan, or JC Penney to JCP. If it is usually a mistake, why do executives do it? Too often, decision makers change the company name (1) on a whim, (2) because they just took over the company and want to put their own mark on the business, or (3) it's easier to change the name to signify change rather than implement strategies that will have a positive impact on the business. These are not great reasons - especially since they are "inside-out" or coming from inside the heads of the executives. If a name change is required, it should be "outside in" coming from the needs of the marketplace - especially from customers and prospects. When company names should be changed There are situations where it is a good idea to change the company name. Examples include: Damaged reputation. If the company suffers from a seriously damaged reputation, it should consider changing its name. ValuJet flight 592 crashed in the Florida everglades on May 11, 1996 killing all 110 people on board. Because improperly stored cargo was deemed the cause of the crash (and it already had a poor safety record), the airline had little choice but to change its name. As a result, it chose to merge with AirTran, and took on that airline's name. Business changes. Apple Computer became Apple Inc. when it added phone, tablet, iTunes, and other product lines to its computer offerings. After it made the change, Apple was able to widen its brand platform and grow to become the most valuable company in the world. Many companies, however, were able to successfully reinvent their businesses without changing their names. Examples that come to mind include IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and 3M. Allow innovations. Google changed its corporate name to Alphabet to create a wider brand platform that allowed for (1) products beyond those for which it was known and (2) innovative products that might fail. Innovation is fraught with failure, and if a product line fails, the company would like to isolate the failure so the negative side effects do not spill over to its other products. Even if decision makers find themselves in the above situations, they should make sure that the reasons for making a change outweigh the reasons for keeping the previous name. How should companies change their names? Once the tradeoffs are properly weighed, decision makers should select a name that... Leverages brand equity. Unless the image of the former company is bad or wrong for the new business, the new name should be selected to take advantage of the brand equity built up in the former name. Apple Computer to Apple, Inc. is an example that leverages the Apple handle. Adds value. Once constituents see or hear the name, they should learn one or more of the following: (1) the business the company is in, (2) the benefit they will derive from that business, and/or (3) the reason they should buy from the company over competitors. If the name is able to communicate one of the three, the logo and slogan should help with the other two. Creates a sufficiently wide brand platform. As Google did with Alphabet and Apple did with Apple, Inc., the company name should be broad enough to enable it to cover existing product lines and add new product lines in the future. Alphabet versus tronc While time will tell if the Tribune name change to tronc is successful, based on the criteria provided in this article, it is not likely that it will be. On the other hand Alphabet frees Google to add any innovative product lines from A to Z, and if one of those product lines fail, it is unlikely to spillover to damage the Alphabet or Google brand. I wish Tribune company the best of luck. Based on what I see now, they are going to need it. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
It has not been a great time for retailers. Last week, Macy's missed its estimates and reported its fifth consecutive decline in revenues. Kohl's and JC Penney saw declines in their stock prices and Nordstrom suffered a profit drop. Both Walmart and Target are expected to show similar disappointing results when they release their earnings this coming week. But what about you, the small merchant? How are you doing? The good news is that you're different than those stores. You're more nimble and less bureaucratic. You can make decisions quicker and act faster. And there are plenty of great technologies available for you to not only increase productivity in your store but also expand your customer universe and your profits, regardless of how those big-box retailers fare. Here are just three technologies that will help you do this. Mobile point of sale. Look at Revel, Shopify, Shopkeep, Imonggo and others. This is what your customers want. Mobile POS systems work on iPads and tablets. They replace your cash register. They enable your employees to come out from behind the checkout counter and interact with your customers. They integrate data with your website if you've got an ecommerce store (and you better have an ecommerce store too!). A good mobile POS system can not only take orders but manage your inventory, alerting you when new items need to be ordered or if lines are getting too long. Because it knows your inventory so well, it will recommend additional items that a customer may want based on what they're purchasing so it can do some of the thinking for your employees too. Your mobile POS system will, of course, accept both credit and mobile payments on the go because it integrates with all the major applications, from PayPal to Apple Pay, that do this. And it will provide to you metrics -- best and worst selling items, highest margin items, turnover, most popular times of sale -- that will help you to increase your profitability. Do you see any of these big retailers doing this? I don't. Think there's a connection with their profits or lack thereof? I do. Loyalty. Look at Clover, Belly, FiveStars, Perka and there are others here too. Once a customer comes into your store, the goal is to keep him or her coming back. And in 2016 a great way to do this is through loyalty programs. Now, these are not your father's loyalty programs. These are mobile programs. Your customers will have to download an app and sign in. But once they do, you can deliver to them coupons and points or discounts based on their visits or (more importantly) their historical purchases with you. You can find out what they like buying and offer similar products. You can enable them to engage with you on social media and capture their data for your customer relationship management system (more to come on that soon). Most importantly, keep an eye on those services, like Clover and Belly, that are "beacon-enabled" because you'll want your customers recognized the minute they walk into your store with a customized greeting and specific offerings delivered right to their smartphones. Your customers want to feel special and, short of buying them each a puppy, a good loyalty program will help you to do this. CRM. Look at Insightly, ZohoCRM, Salesforce and GoldMine (and, full disclosure, my company sells some of these). I order sushi every week (yes, every week) from a local Japanese restaurant and every time I call them, they recognize me in advance and know what my order is before I say it. Last Christmas, I received a fruit basket from this restaurant. Yes, a fruit basket--are you getting a fruit basket from your local Japanese restaurant? Didn't think so. Every month, I get an email offer. Once a year, I get a birthday card from this Japanese restaurant. I haven't received a birthday card from my kids in over five years, but I get one every year from this restaurant! That's because they have a customer relationship management (CRM) system. They capture contact data for every customer who gives it to them by joining their "VIP" club or who offers it when requested. They integrate it with their phone system. But they primarily use it to engage and expand their community by delivering communications -- emails, postcards, etc., to their customers with offers, tips on making sushi and special announcements to keep them close. CRM systems will integrate with mobile point of sale and loyalty applications. And they will build value in your retail shop because they will make sure that every customer or prospect who walks in the door will continue to receive helpful information from you to entice them back another day. That's because it's not just about the sale. It's about the repeat sale. Which is why very great business invests in CRM regardless of their size or their industry. No, you won't ever be as big as Macy's or Walmart. But you can be better and ever profitable, relatively. You can invest in the kinds of technologies that these stores aren't using very well, if at all. You can do this because you're smaller, more nimble and -- c'mon, let's admit it -- smarter than those guys! A version of this column originally appeared on Inc.com. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
What is a store? Must it have merchandise? A checkout counter? Sales representatives? None of the above, says Amazon. The company -- which generated $29 billion dollars in net sales last quarter -- is using more than a dozen new stores to aggressively manage its brand and improve online fulfillment. The stores will not sell anything. Last week, Amazon opened [email protected], a retail location on the University of Pennsylvania's campus. It is the 5th college pick-up destination this year, following store openings at Purdue University, UMass Amherst, Isla Vista and the University of Cincinnati. Before leaving campus, I decided to check out the store -- I had to find out what all the hype was about. I have to admit -- it was pretty cool. The store is centrally located, halfway between the academic buildings on campus and the residential side of campus, where most upperclassmen live. Inside, it looks like a hangout space; there are tables available for group study work, and a big pickup counter in the middle. I left with a smile on my face. I was thinking, "I really love Amazon." Now this is a business that finally understands my lifestyle and is quite literally adapting to it. That's when it dawned on me that fostering brand loyalty might be the real genius behind Amazon retail locations. This strategy offers a lens into the future of retail, in the age of the Internet. The stated purpose of Amazon's retail locations is to improve package fulfillment. Universities like Penn are monopolistic institutions, extracting rent from customers (err, students). As such, they have little incentive to provide high-quality services to their students -- hence, routine delays of up to two weeks in delivering mail/packages to students. (When I lived on-campus, I got accustomed to receiving magazine subscriptions a week late, so I was always reading last week's news). On many college campuses, Amazon now accounts for more than 50 percent of packages received by students. According to Business Insider, Amazon Prime is "wreaking havoc on college mailrooms." In a press release, Marie Witt, vice president of Business Services at Penn, wrote, "The preference by today's students for on-line shopping has led to a significant increase in deliveries. When we looked closely at the shipping activity, we discovered that almost half of all packages delivered to Penn student mail rooms were from Amazon." Now with Amazon pick-up locations on campus, the company is offering same-day delivery if students order by noon and free one-day delivery for packages ordered before 10:00 p.m. For students who order their daily necessities from Amazon (textbooks, hangers, light fixtures -- you name, we've ordered it), this is a significant improvement. Amazon is in the business of convenience, but it's not clear that retail locations will generate enough new revenue to justify their costs. After all, students were already ordering tens of thousands of packages from Amazon, before the company eliminated two-week wait times. How much more can we order? In the long run, Amazon's pick-up locations are brand management at it's finest. Amazon is building relationships with tens of thousands of college-educated adults. If I built out a financial model -- and I won't -- I might conservatively value each of these customers as having a lifetime value of upwards of $5,000 each. The real goal of Amazon stores is not to increase sales now, but to convert college students into lifelong loyal customers. If Amazon becomes a visible part of our daily lives, we'll keep our Amazon Prime subscriptions long after we graduate. Amazon's new strategy provides insights for traditional retailers, whose decline has been one of the central business stories of this year. Macy's is struggling. U.S. retailers had a bad Christmas, even as online sales climbed. Hedge fund investments have gone sour. JC Penney keeps making headlines for its failures. Bloomberg reported, "department stores are on their deathbed." Amazon stores are "showrooms" -- rather than selling products, they promote the brand. The idea behind the showroom model is that since people are buying less and less in stores, companies need to reduce their store counts and instead focus on using stores to drive online sales. As this idea becomes mainstream -- it's now a popular buzzword used in business schools and the mainstream media -- managers are taking note. Amazon takes this evolution one step further. For Amazon, physical retail locations are about more than driving online sales. As the Internet drives consolidation in competitive industries, with Facebook dominating social media, Apple ruling smartphones, and Uber becoming the king of transportation, Amazon wants to capture market share from its rivals by ingraining itself in our daily lives. Amazon wants to be the be-all and end-all retail destination. This strategy is working. As the buying power of millennials grows, stores will evolve from revenue centers into focal points for brand management. Inventory will be replaced by sexy, modern store layouts and designs. This is great for consumers; shopping will be more enjoyable, delivery will be faster, and the selection will be more varied. Whether this comes at the expense of entrenching mega-corporations and eliminating competition, only time will tell. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Times are tough for America’s department stores. This month Macy’s, Kohl’s, JC Penney and Nordstrom all reported slumping sales. Foreign tourists are spending less; consumers are buying other types of goods. Even if they drift back, one threat looks likely to stay: Amazon. In 2011 the online retailer accounted for 1.4% of American sales of clothing, handbags and shoes. Next year Cowen, a financial services firm, expects it to overtake Macy’s as America’s top seller of apparel. Shoppers like the Amazon’s huge selection (about 19m items), easy shipping and partnerships with brands such as Adidas. Not all traditional retailers are floundering; on May 17th TJX reported a 7% bump in comparable sales. The firm’s stores satisfy those keen to hunt for discounted designer clothes—a quest hard to mimic online. But Cowen expects even TJX’s clothing sales to be less than half of Amazon’s by 2020.
Macys Today: The underlying reasons for Macys' recently reported striking lack of performance have been a long time in the making. Though Macys would likely never agree, much of their positive performance over the past several years may very well have come from the unprecedented recent collapse of JC Penney and [...]
Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog, After a week in which all the big retailers—Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom’s, Gap, JC Penney, Dillard’s——reported exceedingly downbeat results for their April quarter, it is not surprising that the Census Bureau’s statistical fabrication mill reported robust April retail sales. Likewise, you could count on the financial press to trot out the superlatives, as in the case of the Reuters’ headline proclaiming, “U.S. retail sales rise strongly, boost economic outlook”: U.S. retail sales in April recorded their biggest increase in a year as Americans stepped up purchases of automobiles and a range of other goods, suggesting the economy was regaining momentum after growth almost stalled in the first quarter…….”The retail sales report shows that recent claims of the demise of the U.S. consumer have been greatly exaggerated,” said Steve Murphy, a U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto. Not exactly. Retail sales of $450.89 billion in April were down 2% from $460.1 billion in March. Yes, April has one fewer day than March so there is a matter of seasonal adjustment. But that’s where the shenanigans start. The Census Bureau reported seasonally adjusted April sales of $453.44 billion, up by a headline catching 1.3% from March. But then again, based on the seasonal adjustment factor used in 2011, the SA number would have been $450.35 billion, up only 0.6%; and had the 2014 seasonal adjustment factor been used, headline sales would have been $452.6 billion, representing an in-between gain of 1.0%. Then we also have Easter falling in April during both of the latter two years versus March 27th this time; and in all years there were April showers, too, normal or not! For crying out loud, seasonally-maladjusted, weather-whacked single month deltas from the rickety government statistical mills are only one step removed from noise. But they are seized upon by the financial press because the latter are exceedingly lazy and always on the prowl for anything that might be “good news” for the stock averages. But that’s what Bubble Finance has come to. Namely, a cult of the daily stock market that is so myopic, superficial and sycophantic that it has practically reduced financial journalism to noise, as well. To be sure, there is plenty of information in the Census Bureau on-line data base that shows in an instant that the vaunted American consumer is running out of steam. As will be documented further below, there is not a snowball’s chance that the debt besotted consumer can save the US economy from the demise that lies ahead. Even as to the near-term, in a nearby post Jeff Snider put the lie to the headline noise with charts that provide historical and cyclical context.The 2.9% year-over-year non-seasonally adjusted gain in April was obviously nothing to write home about and was among the lowest monthly gains outside of recession during this century. In fact, the April retail sales report brought even more evidence of continued deceleration from the 4-6% annual gains recorded earlier in the recovery. It is reminiscent of the pre-recession patterns of the past, not a signal that the consumer has spung back to life. Even these sharply weakening trends overstate the case. The above figures include auto sales, which have rebounded under the tailwind of soaring auto lease and loan finance. In fact, practically any consumer who can fog a rearview mirror has gotten a car loan, but that is not a good thing; it’s a booby-trap as explained below which will boomerang in the years ahead. Meanwhile, yeaterday’s Census Bureau release provided unmistakable evidence of an exhausted consumer that the media cheerleaders missed altogether. Thus, between April 2010 and April 2014 when households were recovering their sea legs after the trauma of the financial crash and Great Recession, ex-auto retail sales grew at a 4.1% rate in nominal terms, and 2.1% adjusted for the CPI. By contrast, during the last 24 months, non-auto sales have barely crawled higher, rising from $343.3 billion in April 2014 to $355.0 billion in April 2016. That’s less than a 1.7% annual rate. Moreover, even if you credit the BLS’ comically understated CPI, it is evident that inflation adjusted sales outside of autos are now rising at barely a 1.0% annual rate. It would take less than five minutes to spot that dramatic slowdown by scrolling through the Census Bureau data. Apparently, the algos which scanned the April release and posted the stories didn’t have the milliseconds to spare. Likewise, it wouldn’t take long to see that even auto sales have shifted to a distinctly lower gear. April NSA auto sales were up just 3% on a y/y basis compared to annual gains of 10% to 15% early during the recovery, and from the exceedingly deep cyclical hole that accompanied the GM/Chrysler bankruptcies in 2008-2009. Actually, the robust upturn of auto sales since 2010 has been a mixed blessing, to say the least. It has been induced by a spectacular explosion of auto loans and leases. To wit, since July 2010 motor vehicle sales reported in the monthly retail sales data have risen at a $354 billion annualized rate. At the same time, auto loans outstanding have increased from $699 billion to $1.052 trillion. The arithmetic gain in auto debt thus happens to be $353 billion. That’s right. Exactly 99.72% of the gain in sales was funded by more debt. And during the last year it has gone off the deep end; auto loans have grown by $54 billion while annualized sales have climbed by only $28 billion. Needless to say, payback time is just around the corner. The virtuous cycle of declining used car generation and rising used car prices has exhausted itself. Yet that was crucial to the debt financed car-buying spree because it meant rising trade-in prices and therefore enhanced capacity to make down payments and loan terms. Thus, in the run-up to the new auto sales crash in 2008-2009, used car prices plunged by 20% and new light vehicle sales fell from an 18 million annual rate to barely 10 million at the bottom of the cycle. By contrast, during the first three years of the post-June 2009 recovery, used car prices soared by 24%, enabling the credit fueled recovery of new vehicle sales shown in the graph. Here’s the thing, however. The worm is fixing to turn because the used car market is facing an unprecedented tsunami of used vehicles coming off loans, leases, rental fleets and repossessions. As shown above, used vehicle prices have been weakening for the last several years, but between 2016 and 2018 upwards of 21 million vehicles will hit the used car market compared to just 15 million during the last three years. This means used car prices are likely to enter another swoon like 2006-2008, causing trade-in values to plummet and thereby draining the pool of qualified new car borrowers. When the cycle turns down, fogging a rearview mirror is never enough. To be sure, there is nothing very profound about the certainty that an auto credit boom always creates a morning after hangover, and that the amplitudes of these cycles is getting increasingly violent owing to the underlying deterioration of auto credit. Currently, average new vehicle loans are at a record 70 months, loan-to-value ratios have hit 120% and upwards of 80% of new retail auto sales are loan or lease financed. Moreover, the race to the bottom is happening once again in the lease market. That is, monthly lease rates have gotten so ridiculously cheap that the implied residual values are at all time highs. This means that when the used car pricing down-cycle sets in during the flood of vehicles ahead, massive losses will be generated, causing a sharp contraction of the leasing market, as well. Stated differently, the auto sales piece of retail sales has virtually nothing to do with a rebounding consumer. Its a reflection of an artificially bloated and unstable credit cycle that is about ready to take the plunge. And that gets to a larger issue brilliantly dissected in a nearby post by Thad Beversdorf. The entire mainstream meme about the consumer being the 70% backbone of the US economy, and that implicitly households can spend the America to prosperity ignores a crucial factor. Namely, that the PCE (personal consumption expenditure) component of GDP is not the same thing as household jobs and wage and salary income, at all. More than 25% of PCE is accounted for by government income transfers led by social security and medicare—both if which are heading for insolvency in the years just ahead. On top of that, the surge in household leverage ratios in the two decades leading up to the 2008 crash and arrival of Peak Debt added a further layer of spending power derived from credit expansion, not production and wages. As a result, as Beversdorf’s chart demonstrates, the share of PCE accounted for by transfer payments and consumer borrowings has soared from 24% in 1993 to nearly 36% today. This means that the prospective trend of consumption spending is as much a matter of fiscal policy and household credit health as it is wage and salary growth. To wit, reported PCE has grown from $4.4 trillion in early 1993 to $12.3 trillion at present. That represents a 4.3% growth rate over the last 23 years. Yet had the 1993 transfer payment/consumer debt share remained constant at 24% of PCE——today it would be only $10.2 trillion, if you assume that the growth of government transfer payments on the margin was financed with Federal borrowing. At the end of the day, the seasonally maladjusted data for April retail sales amounts to no more than a swiggle in the larger trend. To wit, consumption spending financed by the growth of transfer payments and household borrowing is coming up hard against Peak Debt, while tepid growth in wage and salary income remains hostage to a domestic economy plagued with structural barriers to growth, an aging business cycle and a gathering global recession from which it is not remotely decoupled. So contrary to Reuters and its Keynesian quote standbys, it is not true that “the demise of the U.S. consumer have been greatly exaggerated”. Actually, it can be hardly exaggerated enough.
Submitted by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, I find J.C. Penney to be a sick joke. The executives of this company think they can put out positive press releases and have their financial statements not properly show in the earnings press release to cover up the fact their financial results are deteriorating – not improving. CNBC will dutifully report the corporate lies. Checkout the press release where, for some reason, the financial results don’t format. Must be a glitch. Right? http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jcpenney-reports-a-63-percent-increase-in-ebitda-to-176-million-and-reaffirms-full-year-ebitda-guidance-of-1-billion-2016-05-13 The press release heading makes you think business is booming. Whenever a corporation crows about EBITDA, you know they are covering up their true results. Of course, a company with $4.7 billion of debt wouldn’t want to include interest expense in the results they announce. These rocket scientists owe their ongoing existence to Bernanke and Yellen. A company with this much debt and billions in losses over the last five years should be paying 20% interest on their debt. Instead they can finance themselves at 8% rates. This bloated pig should have gone belly up by now. That’s how creative destruction works in a free market. Their existence as a dead retailer walking brings down the results of other retailers, creating the current zombie retail environment. These retailers just plod along, losing money, buying back stock, and never dying. The Fed has created this Walking Dead Economy with their warped QE and ZIRP “solutions”. If you go to JC Penney’s website, you can actually see their income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. http://ir.jcpenney.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=70528&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2168214 It seems the actual results are in complete opposition to the feel good press release put out by the feckless management of this carcass of a company. Here is a little truthiness about J.C. Penney’s real results: Sales declined by 1.6% and comp store sales declined by 0.4%. Last year comp store sales rose by 3.4%. Does that sound like improvement? Gross margin declined by $23 million, but they fired thousands of people, reducing operating expenses by $93 million. Slashing prices and firing employees really sounds like a turnaround. It seems their crowing about EBITDA might be a little overdone. They continue to lose gobs of dough. Their loss for the quarter was $68 million. The real disaster will not be discussed by the brain surgeons running this poor excuse for a retailer. They burned through $394 million of cash in the first quarter, 74% higher than last year’s burn. They only have $415 million of cash left. Good management does not increase inventory by 4% when sales are falling by almost 2%. Another $525 million of equity was evaporated in the last year. I bet they wish they hadn’t bought back those hundreds of millions in shares at prices 3 or 4 times higher than the current price. Other retail CEO’s should take note, but they won’t. Their golden parachutes will protect them. Screw the shareholders. To give you some perspective on how great J.C. Penney is performing, let’s compare their first quarter results to their 2007 first quarter results. 2007 1st Qtr Sales – $4.4 billion 2016 1st Qtr Sales – $2.8 billion 2007 1st Qtr Income – $238 million 2016 1st Qtr Income – ($68 million) J.C. Penney sales have fallen by 36% since 2007. They have lost billions over this time frame. They have four times as much debt as they do equity. They have $2.5 billion of current liabilities and only $400 million of cash to pay off those liabilities. But, the bozo management thinks going into the low margin appliance business is going to save this sinking ship. Sorry bozo. You are going bankrupt. It’s just a matter of time.