business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The US Department of Commerce said yesterday that April retail sales rose 0.9 percent, which the Associated Press coverage characterized as "a solid increase that underscores Americans’ ability to keep ramping up spending even as inflation persists at nearly a 40-year high … Even adjusting for inflation, which was 0.3% on a monthly basis in April, sales increased. Gas prices fell slightly last month, restraining inflation, after soaring in March in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

"Consumers are providing critical support to the economy even after a year of seeing prices spiral higher for gas, food, rent, and other necessities. The economy contracted in the first three months of the year, but consumer and business spending still increased at a healthy pace."

The AP writes that "the Tuesday report also showed that sales in March were revised much higher, to a gain of 1.4%, from 0.7%. As a result, spending even rose that month after adjusting for inflation, which surged to 1.2% as gas prices rose. The revision suggests the economy likely shrank by less than the 1.4% contraction that was reported last month."

At least some economists believe that the continued strength in the consumer spending numbers suggests that a recession is "much less likely, at least anytime soon,"  the story says.



•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Coca-Cola Co. ’s British business said it would introduce packaging that keeps plastic lids tethered to bottles when opened to make it easier for consumers to recycle drinks packaging in its entirety.

"Plastic bottle caps can be recycled but are often lost, discarded or end up as litter, Coca-Cola said in a statement. The new design aims to reduce that, the company said.

"The hinged lids started rolling out Tuesday on 1.5-liter bottles of Fanta, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke in Scotland, and all plastic bottles across Coca-Cola’s brands will adopt the new design in the U.K. by 2024, the company said.

"Coca-Cola will work with bottling partners to eventually phase the design into production lines across Europe, a company spokesman said."