Sunday, November 27, 2011


Washington (AP) - Retail sales on Black Friday rose by their biggest margin since 2007 to hit a new record, while online sales grew even faster, according to initial estimates. Sales on the frenetic shopping day that follows the US Thanksgiving holiday expanded by 6.6 per cent from the previous year to $11.4bn, according to ShopperTrak, a research group. The group’s estimates are based on traffic counts in 25,000 places and the historical relationship between traffic and sales. Online sales expanded by 24.3 per cent from last year, according to the Coremetrics benchmark calculated by IBM, which captures online sales from more than 500 retailers.The sharp jump came as traditional retailers boosted their online efforts to compete with internet-only rivals at a time when smartphones have made consumers more comfortable shopping online. Half a percent of sales were referred from Facebook.

Bill Martin, ShopperTrak’s founder, said his group’s estimates were “surprising” given the economic situation but probably reflected a slight fall in job insecurity in recent weeks. Retailers had done a “tremendous amount” of discounting and marketing. “We believe the US consumer has seen some level of stability in [their] own jobs and therefore it looks like they’re willing to spend when they perceive they’re going to get good value,” Mr Martin said. ShopperTrak said the number of people in stores rose 5.1 per cent from last year. But concrete data are still unavailable for how many items the shoppers bought and whether they snapped up anything other than the heavily discounted goods. Mr Martin cautioned that ShopperTrak’s Black Friday estimate could not be extrapolated to provide a reliable forecast for the full holiday season because four of the traditional top five sales days of the season were still to come.

Black Friday marked the official start of the end-of-year shopping season, which is a make-or-break period for many US retailers struggling to defend market share and secure profits amid intense competition in a weak economy.  Retailers also made a stronger push this year for online sales.  Black Friday sales rose 6.6% from a year ago, getting the holiday shopping season off to a strong start, retail data and consulting firm ShopperTrak said. Consumers were drawn out by heavy promotions and early store openings. People have become extravagant consumers and their desires induce them to work hard for money.
Perhaps the most profound, and simplest, message that can be learned from the Hindu spiritual tradition is the value of a simple life. Western civilization has created the cult of the consumer. Human fulfilment has come to be measured in terms of possessions. Whoever has the most is considered the most advanced. One who travels on foot is inferior to one who travels by Concorde. By contrast, in the Hindu tradition fulfilment refers to the human spirit. Human life, says the Vedanta Sutra, is meant for understanding spirit, which alone can bring real fulfilment. In Hinduism, the one who takes the least is the most respected. A society which upholds the value of the inner life does not crave the pursuit of material wealth as a means of achieving happiness. ... All the world's religions say that materialism doesn't work - that a simple life is best. The highest 'standard of life' is the simplest. This has always been the Hindu way - the way of simple living and high thinking.

Ranchor Prime (Śripad Ranchor Dasa) :
“Hinduism & Ecology”
Chapter 13: “Restoring the Forest of Krishna”
Friends of Vrindavan (FOV) - Publish by Cassell y WWF UK

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