Are you ready for prime time?
Amazon Prime is looking like anything but to some of their subscribers these days. The premium online service is about to go up a premium $20 to a yearly fee of $99. With fuel and shipping costs on the rise, and the number of members eligible for the service hitting 20 million, the mega e-retailer hopes this increase will help defray some of the costs. Subscribers are currently paying $79 for service with perks that include things like two-day shipping. However, it remains to be seen if those subscribers are now going to pony up the extra $1.67 a month or bail on the service completely.
Things that make you go…huh?
The big theme this quarter was retailers crying foul on the weather for messing with their earnings. But Williams-Sonoma wasn’t one of them. In fact, in one of the bigger head scratchers of the quarter, maybe even the year, the super cool kitchen gadget retailer had their best earnings in five years. So what gives? Execs at the company – that also own Pottery Barn and West Elm – say their success is because of their “multi-channel format.” I can’t tell you what that is – not because it’s top secret – but because I have no idea what that means in corporate speak. I do know that it has something to with taking a good look at their online traffic and figuring out how to price things just so, so that they don’t need to use the over-used weather excuse to explain poor sales – like some other companies that we’ve been hearing about.
Good things come in small percentage points…
And in case you were curious how our fickle little economy was weathering this mess of a season, well then let’s take a peek at our handy-dandy retail sector. Curious thing about our retail sector – it’s a pretty decent economic litmus test. And guess what America? We’re on the rebound – in case you didn’t remember we were off it. The economy went up .3% beating analysts’ expectations by a whopping .1%. Ugh! Analysts, I tell you. Even better news is that unemployment applications are down to 315,000. Hard to believe it, but that is considered good news.