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Question: With all of the breaches at major retailers, is it actually safer to shop online these days?
Between the beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, the candy, and Santa’s midnight trip, it is easy for kids to miss the message of Christmas.
As the sun set Tuesday evening, Mesa unveiled a bold new look for the Fiesta District. Gigantic entry monuments at the intersection of Southern Avenue and Alma School Road were lit up for the first time, demarcating the entrance to an area once famous for its retail and now a prime target in the city’s campaign for economic rejuvenation.
Today is the busiest mailing day of the year, and the Postal Service’s Phoenix Processing & Distribution Center will process more than 3 million pieces of mail.
Tri-City Audiology, with three convenient locations in the East Valley, is dedicated to providing the best possible solutions for every hearing challenge.
The Arizona economy could be headed toward its best Christmas season in years.
PHOENIX -- The Arizona economy could be headed toward its best Christmas season in years.
A report from Valley Auto Dealers Association (VADA), the planning organization for the Arizona International Auto Show and representing body for 150 Valley auto dealerships, reveals that through the end of the third quarter, new car sales are up in Maricopa County with a 6.2 percent increase over the same period last year.
A lot of us are going to be doing a lot of holiday shopping in the next month. That’s why it’s even more important to keep a close eye on your receipts, and make sure the scanner is accurate.
It’s Black Friday shopping season, and here we go again! Retailers are playing their games so they can get your dollars. As it was last year, Black Friday is not just one day, it is a season and it started in early November this year. There will be plenty more deals to come, but how do you know if a deal is a deal?
Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said it was the most commonly asked question he receives as mayor regarding the old Elevation Chandler project: What is that thing and when it is coming down?
PHOENIX -- Arizona gained 24,700 private-sector jobs last month, enough to push the state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate down a tenth of a point, to 6.8 percent.
An annual survey from National Retail Federation showed an anticipated slight decrease in consumer spending on Halloween candy this year, compared with 2013.
Arizona gained 24,700 private sector jobs last month, enough to push the state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate down a tenth of a point, to 6.8 percent. But all indications are that many of these aren't necessarily the best jobs in the world.
Another election season has come and gone. You might reasonably conclude that, once again, no ballot fraud occurred in Arizona, from the absence of any news accounts. But that’s almost certainly not true.
Shoppers at the Chandler Fashion Center now have a new place to shop for high-tech items with the opening of the Microsoft Store last week.
Although a slice of the project is already under construction, representatives from the town of Gilbert, Nationwide Realty and others broke ground on what will become the town’s most sizable business plaza.
LGE Design Build has started the second phase for the design of the Heritage Marketplace located in downtown Gilbert.
Gilbert’s Development Services Department is in the midst of updating its land development code, which could provide benefits to town residents and businesses.
Question: Why are so many big name retail chains being hacked all of the sudden?
In late October, Boomtown Entertainment, parent company of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, closed the chain’s original location in Mesa Riverview. A new location will open in early November on High Street in northern Phoenix.
This and that from the great outdoors
The word watermark doesn’t tend to come up in casual conversation. Yet consciously or unconsciously, watermarks are a big part of daily life and faith. Here are a few examples. High-quality stationery has long been associated with watermarks. I can still remember my mom’s special bond-quality writing paper, with the curious watermark on every page. We all handle money regularly, but if you work in retail, banking, or any profession that deals with money frequently, then you’ll be more than familiar with the watermarks used in paper currency to help stop counterfeiting. The same is also true of those who work in airport security checking passports for the safety of all travelers. If you’re in any kind of construction work, home or building repair specialist, then watermarks have a whole different meaning, especially if you’re called in to deal with the aftermath of a flood or some other type of water damage. Then there’s digital watermarking used in audio or image data for copyright purposes. Other types of digital watermarks protect data integrity and computer security. Last, but not least, from a spiritual perspective, the word watermark reminds us of our baptism.
Halloween is just two days away. According to the National Retail Federation, nearly a quarter (24.6 percent) of consumers like to put off Halloween shopping until the last minute.
Fear not, procrastinators: there's still time to grab get-ups and goodies for less. Let CouponSherpa.com navigate you through the scary mark-ups with the latest Halloween coupons, and save on everything from crafts to costumes to restaurants.
1. Babies 'R Us
Take 50 percent off Halloween costumes through Oct. 30 (no coupon required).
Get 50 percent off one regular-priced item through Nov. 1 with this coupon.
3. Spirit Halloween
Take 20 percent off one item through Oct. 31 with online or printable coupon.
Buy select Halloween toys, treats and apparel, and get $5 off your pet's next bath or full groom through Oct. 31 with printable coupon.
5. Krispy Kreme
Wear your costume to participating locations of Krispy Kreme on Oct. 31 and get a free doughnut (no coupon required).
6. Party City
Take $10 off your purchase of $60 or more through Nov. 2 with promo code or printable coupon.
Get a free Halloween treat through Oct. 31 (no purchase necessary).
8. Baskin Robbins
Save $3 on your ice cream cake purchase through Oct. 31 with printable coupon.
9. Jo-Ann Fabric
Save 30 percent on one regular-priced purchase through Nov. 1 with this coupon code, or use the mobile or printable offer for in-store redemption.
10. Auntie Anne's
Enjoy a free Signature Pretzel with purchase of any pretzel through Oct. 31 with printable or mobile coupon.
11. Hancock Fabrics
Save 50 percent on one regular-priced fabric item through Nov. 1 with printable coupon or promo code.
12. Morton's Steakhouse
Enjoy a four-course meal for just $35 when you order from a special menu through Oct. 31 (at participating locations).
Purchase a Hallmark card and get a Super-size Halloween Lollipop for 99 cents (regularly $2.95) through Oct. 31.
PHOENIX -- Two new reports Tuesday show some bumps in the state's recovery from the recession.
One finds that Arizona consumers are spending more, at least in certain areas. But not a lot. The other shows that, for the first time in three years, Arizona is not among the Top 10 states in job growth.
Reports from retailers, released Tuesday by the state Department of Revenue, put total taxable sales at $4.47 billion. That figure comes from reports filed last month which actually reflect sales made in August. That is up 5.2 percent from the same time a year earlier.
But economist Dennis Hoffman from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, said it's hardly a number to cheer about.
"It's OK,'' he said. "It's not gangbusters.''
He said a state such as Arizona should be showing year-over-year growth in the 7 percent range.
The numbers represent more than just an academic exercise.
Close to half of the state budget is built on taxable retail sales. And when these figures lag, so do state revenues -- and the ability of lawmakers to meet the spending demands.
In fact, the staff of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which advises state lawmakers, is predicting that, for the entire fiscal year, retail sales will grow just an anemic 3.7 percent.
The job-growth figures come from a separate study by Lee McPheters, also an economist at ASU.
There are signs the state is making some progress at recovery.
Sales at motor-vehicle dealers hit $719.9 million in August. That's 8 percent higher than the same time a year earlier. But it's still far below the $833.8 million figure for August 2005, even with vehicles now costing more than they did back then.
Sales of furniture and other home furnishings increased just 3.1 percent from 2013 and also remain below pre-recession levels. Purchases of clothing and accessories actually dropped by nearly 1.6 percent year over year.
Hoffman said the really shocking number is in the category of residential construction. Total sales there for August tallied $285.5 million. In August 2004, the same category posted $604.7 million in sales. "And that was before the real ratchet-up that we had,'' Hoffman said, with the real estate bubble reaching its peak in 2006 before it burst.
That lack of home construction is reflected in the separate employment report by Lee McPheters, also an economist at ASU. He said that so far this year, the state's already beleaguered construction industry has lost jobs. That sector of the Arizona economy remains at half of what it was before the recession. Manufacturing employment also has shed jobs so far this year.
He did find some bright spots.
For example, for the first nine months of the year, only two states hired a greater percentage of new workers in the health-care field than Arizona. And Arizona is No. 5 for jobs in the financial sector. But that was not enough for Arizona to maintain its Top 10 status of job growth.
McPheters puts year-to-date job growth at just 14th in the nation. And when government jobs are removed from the picture, the state drops to 15th.
"And it appears that unless something very unusual happens, we're going to end up this year as not a Top 10 growth state,'' he said. "That's just one other disappointment to go along with the fact that the economy is losing construction jobs.''
McPheters said the state will likely add no more than 55,000 jobs this year, about the same as last year.
"So that means we're kind of in a three-year period where the economy appears to have plateaued and we're just waiting for something to happen to either spur population growth or get some other sectors to drive the economy,'' he said.
Hoffman said, though, that the sales figures may not be as bad as they seem -- if not from the perspective of state revenues, then at least in terms of the strength of the economy: The numbers reported by retailers to the Department of Revenue obviously do not reflect some purchases made by consumers online or by phone.
Online retailers who have a physical presence in Arizona, like Target.com or Walmart.com, are required to collect the state sales tax. But those based solely elsewhere do not.
Arizona law technically requires buyers to report these purchases and pay an equivalent "use tax'' to the state. But with no real enforcement mechanism for the average consumer, that law goes largely ignored.
September reported taxable sales in billions of dollars
(Reflects August sales)
2004 -- $3.51
2005 -- $4.22
2006 -- $4.44
2007 -- $4.27
2008 -- $4.02
2009 -- $3.53
2010 -- $3.45
2011 -- $3.75
2012 -- $3.87
2013 -- $4.25
2014 -- $4.47
-- Source: Arizona Department of Revenue
Key elements of taxable sales
Element / Amount in millions of dollars / Year-over-year change
Motor vehicle dealers / $719.9 / 8%
Furniture and home furnishings / $274.3 / 3.1%
Building materials, lawn & garden / $270.7 / 2.3%
Taxable food and liquor / $288.3 / 1%
Miscellaneous retail / $684.1 / 10.3%
Clothing and accessories / $235.4 / (-1.6%)
Bar and restaurant sales / $896.3 / 7.1%
Hotel and motel rentals / $157.7 / 14.9%
Residential construction / $285.5 / 9.2%
Nonresidential construction / $192.2 / (-6.4%)
Heavy construction (roads, bridges) / $65.6 / (-4.9%)
-- Source: Arizona Department of Revenue
Private sector job growth, first 9 months of 2014
Rank / State / Number of jobs added / Growth percentage
1 / North Dakota / 19,590 / 5.4%
2 / Nevada / 41,270 / 4.1%
3 / Texas / 329,780 / 3.5%
4 / Florida / 221,520 / 3.4%
5 / Utah / 34,660 / 3.3%
6 / Oregon/ 42,280 / 3.1%
7 / Colorado / 59,510 / 3.0%
8 / Delaware / 9,980 / 2.8%
9 / California / 327,890 / 2.6%
10 / Georgia / 83,970 / 2.5%
11 / North Carolina / 83,000 / 2.5%
12 / Tennessee / 57,690 / 2.5%
13 / Washington / 59,790 / 2.5%
14 / Arizona / 49,630 / 2.4%
15 / Oklahoma / 29,400 / 2.3%
-- Source: W.P. Care School of Business, Arizona State University