Consumer Confidential: Chase disclosure, retail sales, Toys R Us
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Here’s your thank-the-lord-for-the-nighttime Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
— From the Better Late Than Never file: Chase bank is making its checking accounts easier for customers to understand. The bank says it will start providing a three-page disclosure that helps consumers quickly identify the key terms of its basic checking account, such as the monthly fee and conditions customers need to meet to have that fee waived. Chase will be the first major bank to adopt a version of the consumer-friendly disclosure developed by the Pew Charitable Trusts earlier this year. As it stands, Pew says disclosures are often more than 100 pages and bury the fees and terms of most interest to consumers. The model disclosure developed by Pew in April is just one page and highlights terms such as the ATM withdrawal fee and overdraft policy. (Associated Press)
— Retail hopes are rising for the holiday season. The National Retail Federation says it now expects holiday sales for the November-December period to rise 3.8% to a record $469.1 billion. That’s up from its more modest 2.8% forecast made in early October when the economy’s health looked more uncertain. The new forecast is hardly stellar. The projected gain is still below the 5.2% pace seen during the holiday 2010 season from the prior year, but it’s well above the 2.6% average increase over the past 10 years. And any upgraded forecast is good news as stores look to the final days before Christmas to rope in holiday shoppers. (Associated Press)
— But some retailers are taking no chances. Toys R Us says its stores nationwide will remain open for 112 uninterrupted hours beginning at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, and continuing through 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. This is the second year Toys R Us has opened 24 hours during the holidays. The company will hold a two-day sale from Tuesday to Wednesday, and it has extended shipping deadlines. Orders submitted online by 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve can still be picked up in store on the same day, so presents can be wrapped and ready for Christmas morning. (Orlando Sentinel)
— David Lazarus