business news in context, analysis with attitude

We took note the other day of a Barron’s piece about who is to blame for the so-called retail apocalypse. One MNB reader responded:

The death of retail can’t totally be blamed on Amazon or E-com in general. The part about spending rising on things like student loans, phones, phone bills, internet bills, rising health insurance, and restaurants rang true to me. I might add 401k savings, rising property taxes, rising home insurance, extra mortgage principal payments, and home security to the list too. Also, I agree that many companies and even churches have shifted to casual dress codes, so we don’t need fancy suits/dresses/shoes like we did 30 years ago. Some of my money goes to Amazon and occasionally to brick & mortar for groceries, but most of my money goes to basic home bills, savings and to restaurants for convenience/time. Brick & mortar retail is dying because there is not as much disposable income to go around.

So much of the much-talked-about economic recovery, which I think has benefitted a lot fewer people than some would have us believe.

And from another reader:

Interesting bit about what’s causing the weak retail sales, I can 100% attest to student loans as a major factor in our monthly spending. Without such insane loans, my husband and I would have an additional $1,100 per month to either help us save for big ticket items—like real estate  or new cars—and we would definitely shop more at retail locations rather than making our purchases at consignment stores or Good Will if we had more cash on hand. And we have another 8 years – at least- of paying off those loans.

Following up on our discussion of some men’s questionable bathroom habits, MNB reader Phil Herr wrote:

Suggesting that men are pigs may be true. However, not too long ago the head of HR of the company I used to work for printed up a sign for the women’s room: “If you sprinkle when you tinkle — wipe it up.” Seems that some women, averse to sitting on unfamiliar seats, were hovering above them and creating a mess. Just sayin’…
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