business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Associated Press:

"Walmart and Target plan to begin offering deals and price matching offers earlier this year to keep up with Americans pressed by soaring inflation and looking for ways to ease the potential sting of holiday shopping. The holiday sales strategies, announced Thursday, come amid what is expected to be slower holiday sales growth compared with a year ago.

"Consulting firm AlixPartners forecasts that holiday sales will be up anywhere from 4 percent to 7 percent, far below last year’s growth of 16 percent. The current inflation rate of 8.3 percent means retailers would see a decrease in real sales."

•  From CNBC:

"Target announced Thursday that it plans to hire 100,000 seasonal workers for the holidays and start offering markdowns the first week of October.

"The company said the new workers will be hired after existing Target workers are given a chance to set their holiday shifts. Target hired the same number of workers for the 2021 shopping season, after hiring 130,000 the previous year. Starting wages range between $15 and $24 an hour."

The number is significantly higher than the 40,000 seasonal workers that Walmart said it would hire this year.

•  From Bloomberg:

"Applications for US unemployment insurance rose for the first time in six weeks but remained historically low, suggesting demand for workers remains healthy despite an increasingly uncertain economic outlook.

"Initial unemployment claims increased by 5,000 to 213,000 in the week ended Sept. 17, after a downward revision in the prior week, Labor Department data showed Thursday … The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility from week to week, fell to 216,750.

"Continuing claims dropped to 1.38 million in the week ended Sept. 10."

•  Lidl US yesterday said that it "will introduce rotating price cuts on more than 100 items in all of its 170+ stores. Lidl will kick off the price-cutting campaign on September 28, which will continue throughout the Fall, with price drops on more than 100 everyday items rotating throughout the season … Lidl's investment in lowering prices for its customers comes as inflationary pressures have led to sharp increases in food prices for many retailers, especially on staples including meat, grains, milk, frozen prepared foods, and other key household products."