Rise & Fall: Brian Schatz and national holiday retail sales
One is an Ann Arbor native gaining national political prominence; the other threatens our economic recovery.
Here are our picks for a winner and loser in the news last week:
He left Ann Arbor at the age of 2, but his family maintains ties here - and many of those folks celebrated when he was named a U.S. senator last week. Schatz will serve the state of Hawaii, where he and his family made their home after leaving Washtenaw County. Pegged a ‘rising political star’ by the New York Times, Schatz now has a higher national profile as he tackles bigger issues in the Senate. At the top of his agenda: Climate change.
Retail sales during the pivotal holiday season grew only 0.7 percent this year, prompting concern among retailers, who - on average - expect to generate 15 percent of their annual sales during the last weeks of the year. The impact could be felt for months, as the sales affect how stores order merchandise for the coming year. But we’ll also point out: The nation looked for years to the consumer to spend its way out of a downturn, and that backfired. If we learned something about cautious shopping, over-consumption or debt over the last four years, that’s not a bad thing.