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Latest consumer news and updates

Money Matters - Simplified


Retail sales in Britain slide in September

London -- Retail sales fell for the second consecutive month in Britain, falling 0.2 percent in September following a 0.7 percent drop in August, the government said.

Sales at clothing and shoe stores dropped 0.8 percent, while Internet and catalog sales dropped 0.5 percent. Grocery store sales rose slightly, up 0.1 percent, The Guardian reported Thursday.

"The second successive fall in retail sales in September is surprising and particularly worrying given the importance of consumer spending to the economy," said economist Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight.

Amazon Scans the Competition

Have you ever gone shopping, found something that you want to buy, and wondered if you can get it cheaper through Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN)?

Top cyberthreats outlined in report

Atlanta -- A Georgia security center has released its report on the top three security risks and concerns for consumer and business users of computers and the Internet.security

The Georgia Tech Information Security Center announced its Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2011 to a summit of industry and academic leaders in Atlanta, a Georgia Institute of Technology release said.

An increase in the number of mobile and networked devices provides an enticing target for cyber criminals to steal data and thwart the functioning of systems in a variety of venues from hospitals to utility providers, the report said.

The center highlighted three cyber security areas in which threats are expected to increase.

Spending and incomes rose in July

Washington -- The U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending and incomes rose in July after months of virtually stagnant data.

Spending rose 0.4 percent in the month compared to June. But spending fell in 0.1 percent in April, rose 0.1 percent in May and was unchanged in June. That puts the four-month average rise at 0.1 percent.

Incomes, which were also flat a month ago, rose 0.2 percent in July.

For consumer goods in July, spending rose 0.5 percent, with retail sales up 0.4 percent, the report said, much of that due to hot weather, which spurred sales of air conditioners and drove demand on utilities to keep homes and businesses cool.

Sony Leads This Group of Consumer-Related Underperforms

As an investor, it doesn't pay to follow the crowd.

Fool Radio Roundtable: Adobe, RIMM, and Consumer-friendly, Dividend Stocks

Motley Fool Money is a one-hour weekly business radio show syndicated to radio stations across America. On our most recent show, host Chris Hill talked with our analysts about some stocks on their radar. You can catch this week's show online at motleyfoolmoney.com. In this lightly edited transcript, the guys share three stocks on their radar.

HP to release two tablets in market soon

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Friday finally confirmed that it is working on a two tablet computers, which will be releasing in the market as early as next year.

Ford, GM get top consumer ranking

Detroit -- Ford's Lincoln-Mercury brand and GM's Buick nameplate topped the auto industry in consumer satisfaction, a report released Tuesday said.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index, developed at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, showed U.S. automakers on the rise after problems at Japan's Toyota. Overall, U.S. brands were rated higher than Japanese and Korean autos for the first time since 2000, but were still behind European vehicles.

It was the first time Lincoln-Mercury and Buick have been tops in consumer satisfaction in the survey's history

Despite higher sales, Chrysler's problems persisted. Its Jeep and Dodge brands were rated at the bottom of the list, the report said.

U.S. markets shake off early doldrums

New York -- U.S. markets opened flat Monday and picked up steam in the early afternoon.

Disappointing data from a week ago and anticipation of a Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting this week are likely to keep markets subdued. The Commerce Department said Tuesday consumer spending was unchanged from May to June. On Friday, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent.

Both reports indicated the economic recovery had stalled.

In addition, investors often take a wait-and-see approach before a Federal Reserve policy meeting.

Crude oil holds above $82

New York -- Crude oil prices held above $82 per barrel Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, establishing a new plateau despite sluggish spending.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that consumer spending and incomes were virtually flat in June. Stock markets slumped slightly, but crude oil prices headed higher, breaking the $80 barrier for the first time in three months.

Overnight, the price of light, sweet crude oil for September delivery peaked at $82.85 before dropping back to $82.52 per barrel.

Prices were supported by a drop in the dollar index, which fell Monday and Tuesday.