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Wednesday, 9-May-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Weaker retail sales, jobs surveys raise risk of longer slump

cheap air jordansLONDON (Reuters) - British retail sales posted their biggest fall in more than a year last month and growth in the number of people placed in permanent jobs in Britain slowed, raising the risk of another quarter of economic contraction.
The bleak news from retailers will further complicate the Bank of England's decision on Thursday on whether to give another cash boost to the economy, which slipped into recession at the beginning of the year.
The central bank faces the dilemma of balancing weak growth with stubbornly high inflation.
The British Retail Consortium said on Wednesday that like-for-like retail sales - or sales at stores open for at least a year - plunged by 3.3 percent in value terms compared to April 2011, following a 1.3 percent rise in March.Buy Cheap Jordan Shoes
The reading, the weakest since March last year, confounded analysts' forecasts for a 0.5 percent increase.
Stephen Robertson, BRC Director General, said the wettest April since records began had hurt sales of summer clothing and outdoor products, while a long Easter weekend early in the month meant that some Easter shopping was shifted into
Shopping in March received an extra boost from unusually warm weather, which contributed to the biggest increase in British retail sales in more than a year, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.New Jordan Shoes 2012 For Sale
"It would have been difficult for this April to outperform April 2011 even with favourable weather, but these numbers are still disappointing," Robertson said.
"April last year was boosted by the royal wedding and the accompanying extra day off for people to shop or celebrate."
The value of total retail sales, a measure favoured by economists and closer to that found in official statistics, was 1 percent lower on the year, after a 3.6 percent rise in March.
"While May will certainly be brighter than April, the health of the retail sector continues on a downward trajectory," said Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail at consultancy K PMG, which sponsors the BRC survey.
A poll by the Confederation of British Industry also showed late last month that, while sales volumes dropped in April from a year earlier, British retailers reported the best outlook for the following month's sales in more than a jordan shoes
The latest survey for KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), which represents recruitment agencies, reflected similar month-to-month volatility in economic data, highlighting the economy's precarious jordan shoes
The REC said the number of permanent staff placements in Britain rose in April at the slowest pace since January, with the relevant monthly index ticking down to 51.9 from 52.4 in March. Readings above 50 indicate growth.
However, in a sign that jobseekers may fare better in the coming months, overall vacancies maintained the pace of growth recorded in March - the strongest since last July.
"During 2011, employers made do with the staff they had," said REC Chief Executive Kevin Green.
"Confidence has grown sufficiently for organisations to make the positive decision to take on more staff. This growth is fragile though, and reports of a double-dip re cession and crises in the euro zone could have a negative impact on that confidence," he added.
April surveys of purchasing managers showed slower growth across British services, manufacturing and construction sectors, indicating a weak start to the second quarter of this year after the economy shrank between last October and March.
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Wednesday, 9-May-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Utah trial over actor Gary Coleman's estate ends

retro jordans for cheapPROVO, Utah (AP) — It's now up to a Utah judge to decide whether Gary Coleman's ex-wife or an ex-girlfriend is entitled to the late child TV star's
Judge James Taylor heard closing arguments Tuesday in Provo but didn't specify when he'll issue a ruling.
The "Diff'rent Strokes" actor died of a brain hemorrhage in 2010.
Shannon Price testified Monday that even though she and Coleman divorced in 2008, they continued to live together and present themselves in public as husband and wife.Retro Jordans
Another woman, Anna Gray, says Coleman named her a beneficiary and executor of his estate in 2005. Gray managed Coleman's affairs for a number of years and was his ex-girlfriend.Air Jordan Retro Shoes For Cheap
It's not clear how much Coleman's estate is worth, but court papers mention a $324,000 house and a pension, among other possible assets. Coleman's ashes and the intellectual rights to some of his work also are at stake.
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Saturday, 7-Apr-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Trinidad announces discovery of 48M barrels of oil

cheap air jordansPORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — Trinidad's state-owned petroleum company says it has discovered 48 million barrels of crude oil off the island's southwest jordan shoes
Petrotrin President Designate Khalid Hassanali said late Thursday that it is the company's biggest discovery in a decade. He said the crude oil is located in 60 feet (18 meters) of water and described it as a combination of light and heavy oil.
Prime Minister Kamla Persaud-Bissessar said the anticipated revenue would be used for several development projects.
"There will be no squandering of these very precious resources," she said.
While she anticipated that Trinidad and Tobago would receive a substantial economic boost, local economists were more reserved.New Jordan Shoes 2012 For Sale
"It is far too early to make a true assessment of the Petrotrin find and its impact on the economy," economist Gregory McGuire said.Buy Cheap Jordan Shoes
Hassanali said the discovery was made last year, adding that officials do not know yet when drilling and commercial production would
Trinidad's oil production has fallen in the last two decades to about 97,000 barrels per day from a peak in the 1970s of more than 200,000 barrels per jordan shoes
Hassanali said local refineries have the capacity to process 150,000 barrels per day, but that only 50,000 of that production comes from local sources.
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Saturday, 7-Apr-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Whole Foods to stop sale of unsustainable seafood

Nike Air Jordan ShoesALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Whole Foods Market said Friday that it will stop selling fish caught from depleted waters or through ecologically damaging methods, a move that comes as supermarkets nationwide try to make their seafood selections more sustainable.
Starting Earth Day, April 22, the natural and organic supermarket chain will no longer carry wild-caught seafood that is "red-rated," a color code that indicates it is either overfished or caught in a way that harms other species. The ratings are determined by the Blue Ocean Institute, an advocacy group, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.
Among the seafood disappearing from Whole Foods shelves will be octopus, gray sole, skate, Atlantic halibut and Atlantic cod caught by trawls, which can destroy habitats. The company will stock sustainable replacements like cod caught on lines and halibut from the Pacific.
"In the long term, what we're really looking to do is help reverse trends of overfishing and bi-catch, so that really we can move the industry as a whole toward greater sustainability," said seafood quality standards coordinator Carrie Brownstein. She added that Whole Foods is making the shift a year ahead of its internal
Retail prices could be higher in some cases in which sustainable suppliers have lower yields.
Whole Foods, which has been strengthening its buying practices for years, is among a number of supermarket chains responding as consumers become more concerned about the sources of their seafood.
In the past month, BJ's Wholesale Club announced a policy to ensure its seafood is sustainable or on track to meet sustainability standards by 2014, and Supervalu announced a comprehensive policy to ensure its farm-raised seafood is sustainable. Supervalu, which operates Albertsons, Shop 'n Save and seven other retail brands, also stopped selling six wild-caught species because of sustainability concerns.
The changes have come fast. In 2008, when Greenpeace first published its seafood sustainability scorecard of supermarkets, all 20 of the major chains surveyed failed. Last year, 15 of 20 companies had passing scores, said John Hocevar, the environmental group's oceans campaign director.
"It's pretty impressive to see that it was an issue that really wasn't on most of these companies' radar," Hocevar said, "and with encouragement from us and many others, they really did for the most part step up."Cheap Jordan Shoes
Greenpeace is among a number of private groups that certify or offer guidelines for seafood, meaning consumers sometimes must sort out multiple ratings.
For instance, some Whole Foods seafood will continue to feature labels from the Marine Stewardship Council, which maintains a widely used system that certifies seafood from sustainable fisheries. But Brownstein said the council doesn't assess every fishery, so Whole Foods relies on the color coding for seafood from fisheries not covered by the council. Whole Foods will now only sell green- and yellow-rated seafood, which is more sustainable.Retro Jordan Shoes
Shrimp, salmon and other seafood grown on farms have yet another separate labeling system.
Hocevar said the profusion of ratings can confuse customers, which is why Greenpeace urges supermarkets to only sell sustainable products.
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Saturday, 7-Apr-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Apple pledge could lead to China wage hikes

retro jordans for cheapBEIJING (AP) — A pledge by the manufacturer of Apple's iPhones and iPads to limit work hours at its factories in China could force other global corporations to hike pay for Chinese workers who produce the world's consumer electronics, toys and other goods.
Foxconn Technology's promise comes as Beijing is pushing foreign companies to share more of their revenues with Chinese employees. It follows a report by a labor auditor hired by Apple Inc. that found Foxconn was regularly violating legal limits on overtime, with factory employees working more than 60 hours per week.
"I think whatever Foxconn did will have an impact, certainly, on all Chinese workers in all trades," said Willy Lin, managing director of Hong Kong-based Milo's Knitwear, which makes clothing in three factories in China for European clients.
Foxconn, owned by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., promised to limit hours while keeping total pay the same, effectively paying more per hour. Foxconn is one of China's biggest employers, with 1.2 million workers who also assemble products for Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.
Japan's Toshiba Group, which employs 32,000 workers in China to make goods such as refrigerators and TVs, said it too is taking measures to reduce overtime work and create safe working conditions at its factories.
China has long been a low-cost manufacturing center for goods sold under foreign brand names. But wages already were rising quickly as companies compete for workers and communist leaders try to push the country up the technology ladder to make more profitable products.
After a lull following the 2008 global crisis when Beijing froze the minimum wage to help exporters compete, Chinese workers have received big pay hikes over the past two years, though salaries still are low by Western standards.Retro Jordans
Foxconn responded to a spate of suicides by employees at one of its mainland factory campuses in 2010 by more than doubling its basic monthly salary to 1,800 yuan ($290). The same year, Toyota Motor Corp. and other Japanese automakers granted pay hikes following a wave of strikes that had tacit government support.
Communist leaders have promised to double the country's minimum wage from 2010 levels by 2015.
The minimum wage in Shanghai, one of the world's most expensive cities, is about 1,200 yuan ($200) a month after an increase of more than 10 percent last year. The northern city of Tianjin raised its minimum wage to 1,070 yuan ($175)
Beijing has tightened enforcement of wage and hour rules "because there has been a general lack of compliance — greater than in other countries," said K. Lesli Ligorner, head of the China employment group for law firm Simmons & Simmons.
"China is trying to make sure that at least at the lowest level of unskilled workers there are greater protections in place for them," she said.
Export-driven manufacturers along China's booming east coast also have to pay more to get and keep workers as rising living standards in the countryside mean fewer people migrate to cities for factory jobs.
U.S. and European clients might push Chinese suppliers to pay more so they look better in front of consumers, Ligorner said.
Higher wages at Foxconn "will have a ripple effect," she said.
Pay and working and environmental conditions are a sensitive issue for U.S. and European companies, some of which have been criticized by activist groups. Companies such as Nike Inc. and The Walt Disney Co. set specific standards in contracts with producers of toys, athletic shoes and other goods sold under their brands and send auditors to enforce them.Air Jordan Retro Shoes For Cheap
"We mind our corporate social responsibility and demand that our contract manufacturers strictly follow local as well as international rules on labor and environmental protection," said Henry Wang, public relations director for Taiwan's Acer Inc., the world's fourth-largest personal manufacturer.
Acer's laptop computers are produced by contractors in Kunshan, west of Shanghai, and in Chongqing in the southwest.
Wang said he didn't know whether the report on Foxconn by the Fair Labor Association, an American industry group, would lead to changes at Acer. He said suppliers already are required to "strictly follow" rules on wages and working conditions.
Higher wages will be easier for manufacturers to absorb if labor is a small portion of their total costs.
Research firm IHS iSuppli estimates that Apple pays $8 for the assembly of a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S and $188 for its components. iSuppli's figures suggest that if Apple were to absorb a Foxconn wage increase to keep pay level and cut the work week from 60 hours to 49, it would pay less than $2 extra to have an iPhone made.
Other companies earn smaller profits and might find higher wages harder to pass on.
Higher costs in China already have prompted some companies in labor-intensive industries such as shoes and textiles to migrate to Vietnam and other lower-wage economies.
Lin, the garment manufacturer, said his company employs about 1,500 people in Guangdong province near Hong Kong. He said entry level pay has more than doubled over the past five years from 600 to 700 yuan ($95-$110) a month to about 1,500 yuan ($240).
"Anything lower than that, you wouldn't find the workers willing to do it," he said.
AP Business Writers Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong and Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo and Associated Press writers Annie Huang in Taipei, Taiwan and Foster Klug in Seoul, South Korea contributed.
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