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Tourist Trap

By a comfortable margin, shopping remains the most popular activity among domestic travelers. Fully 34 percent of domestic travelers overall and 36 percent of leisure travelers went shopping while they were away from home last year. Only 8 percent said they wagered a bet while on the road.

Private Labels Grow Profits

Supermarket sales are down, leading grocers to emphasize their in-house private label foods. Morgan Stanley analyst David Adelman says private labels offer grocers higher margins, increased customer loyalty, and differentiation from Wal-Mart, which offers a lower assortment of private labels.

Working Girls

The share of women in the labor force has climbed from 43.3 percent in 1970 to 60 percent today, meaning that the majority of workers are married to other workers and that most American couples juggle multiple demands of career, home and family, without any adult at home during the day. The rise of the working woman impacts shopping habits in a variety of ways, from hours of activity to apparel selection.

Video Games Sizzle, Direct TV Fizzles

Merchandise category 2003 YOY Growth Rate
Home Office 27% 1%
Televisions 13% 4%
Other Accessories 13% 4%
Video Games 12% 10%
Wireless Phones 9% 1%
Home Theater & Audio 6% -2%
Car Audio 5% 4%
Digital Cameras/Camcorders 5% 3%
DVD, VCR & PVRs 4% -3%
Home Phones 3% 4%
Car & Home Security 2% 7%
Home Satellite & ISP Boxes 1% -33%

Wholesale purchase of home satellite systems such as Direct TV have not caught on with consumers, and electronics retailers are wisely shying away from stocking them. Instead, they're pinning hopes on video games, a category that grew 10 percent between 2002 and 2003, according to data from the Consumer Electronics Association.

PREIT Pinches Penney's

When PREIT acquired Crown American Realty Trust earlier this year, it boosted its dependence on J.C. Penney Co. for annual rent revenues. Penney's rents already made up 2.1 percent of PREIT's 2002 revenues. Crown American depended on Penney's for 3.7 percent of its annual take. For now, it's not such a good position for PREIT: Penney's posted a total sales growth decline of 6.3 percent and a comp store sales decline of 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2003.

It's A Mall World

Retailers interested in leasing regional mall space in the Asia Pacific region won't find many bargains. A scarce supply of suitable space drives prices up in many markets, according to data from NAI Worldwide. Numbers indicate median price per square feet for regional malls. Hot spots such as Tokyo and Beijing are too fragmented to quantify.

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