Five Things To Know This Week:
1) Consumers Keep Spending
2) Twitter Adds Millions of Users
3) Best Luggage
4) Veteran Loan Fund
5) The Wharton Business Daily Show
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Brian Moran & Associates
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Consumers Keep Spending
The National Retail Federation (NRF) just announced that U.S. consumers continue to spend money despite the continuing COVID-19 virus and inflation. Retail sales for January 2022 were off to a very strong start.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, overall retail sales in January were up 3.8% seasonally adjusted from December and 13% year-over-year. And NRF’s numbers, which exclude sales from automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, show January sales rose 4.7% seasonally adjusted from December and 8.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
These robust retail sales continue 2021’s retail revival, with annual sales jumping 14.1% year-over-year.
Read more about soaring retail sales.
Twitter Adds Millions of New Users
My favorite social network (connect with me @BrianMoran) had a growth spurt in the fourth quarter of 2021, adding 6 million daily active users. In total, Twitter now has 217 million daily active users.
Much of the growth was global—Twitter added about 1 million daily active users in the U.S. Social Media Today says Twitter’s U.S. user total fluctuates between 36 and 38 million. And it notes, “…The numbers here are solid—especially when you consider that Facebook lost a million daily users in the US in the most recent quarter, and Pinterest’s usage continues to decline.”
About the overall social media picture in the U.S., Social Media Today says, “In some ways, it seems we’ve reached social media saturation point in the main markets, with people either signed up or not ever going to be. TikTok is bucking that trend, as it continues to gain momentum, but most other platforms are slowing, or declining, in western markets.”
Like me, my guess is that most of you haven’t been traveling as much as you did before the onset of COVID-19 two years ago. My sense is that’s starting to change as more companies hold in-person events and conferences.
While you may be ready to hit the road again, is your luggage? The New York Times offers a helpful roundup of the best rolling luggage, including affordable options.
Read more about the best rolling luggage.
Veteran Loan Fund
The Veteran Collaborative, now known as the Veteran Loan Fund, was founded in 2017 to consolidate best business practices to engage with and support veteran entrepreneurs.
“Veterans make great entrepreneurs. As a veteran, it is an honor to launch the Veteran Loan Fund to provide the capital and resources that they need to start and grow their small business. In doing so, we are helping them attain the American Dream,” says Grant Bennett, director of Veteran Programs and operating manager of the Veteran Loan Fund.
The fund is comprised of a network of veteran service organizations focused on providing technical assistance and business coaching and 12 specialized capital providers, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Eligible Veterans receive free business coaching and loans with interest rates of 10% or less.
The first $15 million round from the Veteran Loan Fund is made possible by a $5 million commitment of long-term, below-market-rate lending capital from Bank of America as lead investor. The fund plans to grow to $100 million within five years, an amount equal to the estimated annual demand for capital from Veteran entrepreneurs who don’t receive any funding for their businesses.
Resource of the Week
You can find the Wharton Business Daly Radio Show on Sirius XM channel 132 every day from 10:00 am – Noon ET. The show covers all aspects of the U.S. and global economies, featuring top subject matter experts as guests. It’s a fantastic resource for keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world as well as your own marketplace.
Listen to the Wharton Business Daily Radion Show with Dan Loney