Retail spending forecast trimmed

first_img“That’s a pretty big haircut he’s given the total outlook for 2008,” Hall said. “This far in advance it’s difficult to say what is going to happen.” Melich encouraged investors to focus on companies that have the ability to increase earnings in a “decelerating market.” He named Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp., CVS/Caremark Corp., J.C. Penney Co., Coach Inc., Staples Inc., O’Reilly Automotive Inc. and Safeway Inc. as good bets. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Mae Anderson THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK – Morgan Stanley on Friday sharply cut its forecast for retail sales growth in 2008, saying U.S. consumer spending will be restricted by declining home values, tighter credit standards and more modest job growth. Analyst Gregory Melich now expects retail sales to grow 3percent in 2008, down from a previous forecast of 4.5 percent. That would mark the slowest annual growth in retail sales since 2003. His forecast assumes average home prices fall about 6percent from where they are now, leading to about $100 billion less in total consumer spending, half of which he predicts would come from traditional retail categories. Declining home sales and rising mortgage defaults have sparked fears of a slowdown in spending and forced lending institutions to tighten credit standards. Overall, however, consumers have proved to be resilient even as prices for gas and food remain high and housing prices decline. Melich’s revised forecast is based on a predicted deceleration in household wealth, credit availability and jobs growth, which he calls “key lead components” of retail sales. Consumer electronics and home improvement sectors are particularly at risk, the analyst said. Consumer spending is closely watched by economists because it accounts for two-thirds of the total economy. Jeoff Hall, chief U.S. economist for financial-information provider Thomson Financial, said Melich’s assumptions are valid but it might be a darker take than necessary. last_img read more

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The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Everything Going on at the Universal Orlando Resort (new rides, new restaurants, new hotels and more)

first_imgHonorable Mention: Today CafeThe Today Cafe officially opened last month in Universal Studios Florida, and appears to be a massive hit with everyone who has tried it with some great menu options. You couldn’t ask for better real estate, being located at the front of the park and across from the popular Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem attraction. I enjoyed the menu of the old Beverly Hills Boulangerie, but the new venue themed to the Today Show does pop visually in a way the former venue did not.Our corporate overlords are here and they bring with them…SYNERGY. (photo by Michael Carelli)Inside the Today Cafe. (photo by Michael Carelli)Various sandwiches are available. (photo by Michael Carelli)Some of the many dessert options. Blueberry cheesecake on a stick is E-Ticket. (photo by Michael Carelli)More desserts at Today Cafe. (photo by Michael Carelli)Acai bowl. (photo by Michael Carelli)The I Heart Vegan sandwich. (photo by Michael Carelli)Al’s avocado toast. (photo by Alicia Stella)Lemon Tart. (photo by Alicia Stella of Orlando Park Stop)Confetti Cake. (photo by Michael Carelli)Nitro cold brewed coffee. (photo by Michael Carelli)Coffee. (photo by Alicia Stella) # 2 – Jurassic ParkWhile Universal has still not announced what is going into the Jurassic Park area of Islands of Adventure, work is chugging along on what will almost undoubtedly be a new thrill coaster. Below is a photo taken a couple days ago by @bioreconstruct, flying above Universal in the high-in-the-sky blogger copter, and it shows just how much is going on inside the Jurassic Park land. You can also check out This Picture from Bio taken in early May that gives a much clearer look at what’s happening in the area.Overhead arial picture of Islands of Adventure with Jurassic Park in the bottom center. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Lots of work going on in front of the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. (photo by Michael Carelli)Update on the bridge which will lead from Jurassic Park to Lost Continent. (photo by @bioreconstruct)To make way for the new attraction, many current elements of Jurassic Park are being moved around, so there are construction walls throughout the land.Construction walls throughout Jurassic Park. (photo by Michael Carelli)Construction walls. (photo by Michael Carelli)Makeshift merchandise kiosk. (photo by Michael Carelli)New entrance to the popular Raptor Encounter, which just may be the best “meet and greet” in all of Orlando. (photo by Michael Carelli)For Jurassic Park and Jurassic World fans, there is a ton of great merchandise available. This T-Rex themed bubble wand comes to Florida from Universal Studios Hollywood, which is getting ready to debut their Jurassic World attraction soon.T-Rex bubble wand. (photo by Michael Carelli)I love this little display of the iconic Jurassic Park gate. (photo by Michael Carelli)Jurassic World pins and keychains. (photo by Michael Carelli)Jurassic World merchandise. (photo by Michael Carelli)Plastic in the Parks presents: Dr. Ian Malcolm at Jurassic Park. (photo by Michael Carelli) Next we’ll go to the former home of concierge. The large room at the end of the lobby is now walled off, with concept art of the new “grab and go” on the walls. When Sapphire Falls opened, it was clear that the Dutch Trading Co. store in their lobby was something that was needed at all of Universal’s hotels and it looks like they’re are heading in that direction. Share This!This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at everything going on at the UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT! This fine blog has had lot of incredible coverage of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – including the Batuu bathrooms (and you know we here at the SAT 6 appreciate our theme park restrooms) – but today we’re going to head over to Universal and check out all the stuff going on there, starting with…# 6 – Surfside InnLater this month Universal’s newest onsite hotel will open its doors for guests when Surfside Inn & Suites begins checking in guests on June 27. Located on the former home of the Wet ‘n Wild waterpark,  Surfside is half of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. Surfside’s sister hotel, Dockside Inn & Suites, is located directly across the street. Endless Summer will be Universal’s first true “value” resort with pricing that is going to force many offsite competitors to up their game to compete. Guests at Surfside will be eligible for early admission into the Wizarding World and Volcano Bay, along with bus transportation to CityWalk. Believe it or not, with a straight shot to the “hub” of Universal,  Endless Summer is closer to the action than Cabana Bay is.New signage for Surfside is now installed. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Surfside flag. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Surfside’s port cochère. (photo by @bioreconstruct)A new sidewalk has been put in place around Surfside Inn. Not only do guests have bus access to the incredible Hollywood Drive-In Mini Golf in CityWalk, but they are walking distance to Congo River Mini Golf which is also a blast to play. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Sidewalk lined with palm trees going past Surfside Inn & Suites. (photo by @bioreconstruct)With Surfside in the foreground you can see The Wheel at ICON Park in the background. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Universal recently unveiled the crafted menus coming to Surfside, with some pretty tasty looking options. I’m still in shock how much we loved the food court at Universal’s Aventura Hotel, so we’re looking forward the culinary options Surfside brings to the table.Pipeline Burger. (photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort)Cobb Salad. (photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort)Assortment of freshly mixed drinks. (photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort)Here’s the latest photo update of Dockside Inn & Suites. It resides in the former home of Wet ‘n Wild’s parking lot.  It will be a much larger hotel than Surfside, have a lobby bar, and offer two onsite pools (compared to Surfside’s lone pool.)Dockside Inn & Suites. (photo by @bioreconstruct) The concierge desk used to be located at the very end of the lobby, past the check-in area. Now it has been brought to the front of the lobby and resides across from bell services. The “marble-like” color scheme you seen on the concierge desk is one that will be very prominent once the overall refurbishment is done. # 4 – BigfireThe newest eatery in CityWalk looks close to opening with Bigfire. Replacing Emeril’s Orlando, Bigfire looks to be targeting the crowd who may be intimidated by places like Toothsome, Antojitos, or Cowfish and “just want something normal.” Touting American fare like steaks, burgers, and freshwater fish dishes, one of the gimmicks that the restaurant has is an “open fire” cooking process that will use different types of wood. The building itself looks great, is in a prime location, and has an E-Ticket main logo once the sun goes down. Emeril’s Orlando was a great restaurant, and we’re going to miss Emeril’s signature banana creme pie dessert, but Bigfire is going to have a lot more appeal to families leaving the parks at night. It’s also interesting to note that while Disney seems to be getting away from running restaurants at Disney Springs and using third parties for just about every dining experience, Universal has gone the other way and replaced many of their third-party restauranteurs with Uni-run venues (such as Toothsome, NBC Sports Grill & Brew, and Breadbox).Bigfire. (photo by Michael Carelli)Bigfire is located directly next to Margarittaville and steps away from the entrance to Islands of Adventure. (photo by Michael Carelli)Outdoor lounging at Bigfire. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Nice signage for Bigfire Bar. (photo by Michael Carelli)Bigfire Menu spot. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Here’s some samples of what to expect when Bigfire opens.Bison Burger and fries. (photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort)Cowboy ribeye steak. (photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort)Baked Alaska. (photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort) Double Secret Honorable Mention: Voodoo DoughnutOur favorite Voodoo Doughnut has been offering limited-edition doughnuts exclusive to Universal on a pretty regular basis, but the latest themed to the new Secret Life of Pets 2 may be favorite to date. Looking like the character Max, the yeast doughnut has a chocolate peanut butter filling, and as a huge peanut butter fan, this was fantastic because the ears also have a peanut butter flavor. If this Pets doughnut were offered on the menu year round it would be in our normal rotation including apple fritters, Portland creme, maple bar, and the voodoo doll.Secret Life of Pets 2 doughnut. (photo by Michael Carelli)Cross section. (photo by Michael Carelli)One year anniversary doughnut. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Easter egg themed doughnut. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Another Easter egg themed doughnut. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Cross section. (photo by @bioreconstruct)center_img # 5 – Royal Pacific Resort Lobby RenovationLongtime SATURDAY SIX readers know that Universal’s Royal Pacific Resort may be pound for pound my favorite onsite hotel at either Universal or Disney (especially when I start to think about the Wok Experience). The fact that Royal Pacific is so close to Islands of Adventure, offers Unlimited Express Pass to every guest, and has a wonderful Polynesian theme, makes it my go-to onsite resort. After refreshing all the rooms at the hotel, the Royal Pacific  – currently 17 years old – has now begun a massive refurbishment to their lobby area to bring it more in line with what guests are used to at the newer resorts like Aventura and Sapphire Falls.We’ll take a quick look at some of the changes already done. Upon entering the lobby, there used to be a small gift shop offering non-Universal branded items. This has been replaced with a Vacation Planning Center. Here you can purchase and pick up tickets, as well as getting any questions about the parks answered. # 1 – Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike AdventureWe are less than a week away from Universal Orlando’s newest attraction opening with Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Construction walls were removed earlier in the week, and the area in front of the ride has been set up for an upcoming media event. In May, Universal invited several members of the media to tour the attraction, and this looks to be a sure-fire hit with guests who want more Potter (and who doesn’t?). Be sure to check out Inside Universal’s recap of the tour that gives a first look at the queue and also don’t miss out on Orlando Park Stop’s invaluable Everything We Know About Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.Hagrid’s logo. (photo by Michael Carelli)Display in front of Hagrid’s attraction. (photo by Michael Carelli)Plastic at the Parks presents: Hagrid in front of his new attraction. (photo by Michael Carelli)Plenty of merchandise already available for the new coaster. (photo by Michael Carelli)The “Fluffy” puppet will surely be a big seller. (photo by Michael Carelli) Next to the the walled-off room is the new area for car rentals. I’m imagining once the grab-and-go area is completed, Royal Pacific will then work on totally revamping the other half of the lobby with an updated sushi bar and Orchid Court Lounge. # 3 – Universal MonstersMany fans of Universal feel that the stable of Universal classic monsters has been underutilized in the parks. Things seems to be changing though, with strong rumors of the monsters having their own “land” in Universal’s upcoming third theme park and a recent announcement that they will have a maze based around them in this year’s Halloween Horror Nights event. Inside Universal Studios Florida we’ve also had some indications that Universal is trying to revitalize their monsters “brand” including a complete new menu at Monsters Cafe. While you can still get pizza and standalone dishes, Monsters Cafe now features a BBQ option that should be familiar to anyone who has eaten at the popular 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Orlando or the Polite Pig at Disney Springs. The new menu allows guests to pick their own combination of meats and sides to create their own meal. The “perilous pair” offers 2 meats and 2 sides, while the classic 3 combo) offers 3 meats and 3 sides. Some of the meat options are also offered separately as sandwich dishes including The Invisible Man (beef brisket on Texas toast) and The Mummy (vegan jackfruit on a kaiser roll).Universal Studios’ Classic Monsters Cafe. (photo by Michael Carelli)New menu board out front. (photo by Michael Carelli)Selection of meats available. The rotisserie chicken and ribs were previously available, but sausage, beef brisket and the vegan jackfruit are all new additions. (photo by Brian Carey)The sides available to pair with your meat selections. Personally I’m a sucker for any place that offers crinkle cut fries. Like tater tots, there are not enough crinkle cut fries offered at Universal or Disney. (photo by Brian Carey)Sample dish. (photo by Brian Carey)The Mummy combo platter. Vegan Jackfruit sandwich, with fries, and watermelon. The drink is the new Lavender Elixir, made with Sprite, a flavor mixture, and blueberry popping boba balls. (photo by Michael Carelli)The crypt cookie, one of the various desserts offered at Monster’s Cafe. (photo by Brian Carey)Monsters’s Cafe does offer mobile ordering. (photo by Michael Carelli)Creature from the Black Lagoon. (photo by Michael Carelli)Theming from Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. (photo by Michael Carelli)Some of the seating in Monster’s Cafe. (photo by Michael Carelli)Plenty of Coke Freestyle machines.(photo by Michael Carelli)A little while ago Universal transformed the old Terminator 2: 3D gift shop into one themed around the classic monsters. Those In The Know suggest that this was Universal testing out guest demand for the monsters, with a whole bunch of new shirts, cups, and other various other pieces of merchandise.Transportation devices from The Fly. (photo by Michael Carelli)Monster merch. (photo by Michael Carelli)Monster merch. (photo by Michael Carelli)There is a much bigger Ghostbusters presence in the gift shop than Universal normally offers, so let’s hope this also means our chances of seeing a Ghostbusters house at this year’s HHN are good. With a new Ghostbusters film being released in 2020 – bringing back original cast members such as Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver – it only makes sense for Universal to incorporate them more in the park. For those who don’t remember, Universal once had a Ghostbusters attraction at USF with the Ghostbusters Spooktacular show (held in the area now occupied by Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon).Ghostbusters merchandise. (photo by Michael Carelli) Triple Threat Honorable Mention: Not a hoax! Not an imaginary tale! MYTHOS CHANGED THEIR BANNER!!“Do you believe in miracles?!” – Al Michaels(photo by Hunter Underwood)So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX checks out what’s happening at the Universal Orlando Resort! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 6 Surprising Secrets of the Universal Orlando Resort6 Reasons We Love PORT OF ENTRY at Islands of Adventure6 Reasons We Love AVENTURA HOTEL at Universal Orlando6 Great Souvenirs From the Universal Orlando ResortSpecial Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, the incomparable Alicia Stella, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2019 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it?That’s right, ANOTHER NEW ONE EXCLUSIVE TO THIS EDITION!Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!Wait a second, does that say DOUGHNUT BURGER? Well, we know what we’re doing next….last_img read more

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Tomorrow at Walt Disney World: September 6, 2019

first_imgShare This!Tomorrow is Friday, September 6, 2019.Here’s what you have to look forward to if you’re headed to Walt Disney World tomorrow.Park HoursMagic Kingdom: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.Epcot: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.Hollywood Studios: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.Animal Kingdom: 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.Extra Magic HoursMagic Kingdom: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.Hollywood Studios: 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.Animal Kingdom: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.Other HoursTyphoon Lagoon: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Blizzard Beach: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Disney Springs: 10:00 a.m. 10 12:00 a.m.Crowd Calendar LevelsMK: 2EP: 1HS: 7AK: 1Resort-Wide: 2Refurbs and ClosuresMK: Astro OrbiterMK: Walt Disney World RailroadEP: O Canada!AK: Primeval WhirlParades and Nighttime EntertainmentMK–Festival of Fantasy: 2:00 p.m.MK–Not So Spooky Spectacular: 10:15 p.m. during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween PartyEP–IllumiNations: 10:00 p.m.HS–Fantasmic!: 8:30 p.m.HS–Star Wars Fireworks: 10:00 p.m.AK–Rivers of Light: 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.WeatherHigh: 94 / Low: 71UV Index: 10+ (Extreme)Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain.Sunrise: 7:06 a.m. / Sunset 7:42 p.m.Special Events to NoteMK: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.EP: Eat to the Beat Concert–Grace KellyIs tomorrow a Disney day for you? Where are you headed? Got a countdown you want to share?last_img read more

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How to derive real value from “smarter” connected health products

first_imgNow that the wide selection of “quantified self” products — like FitBit and Jawbone — have bled over from the fitness fanatics to mainstream consumers, we’ve reached a tipping point in which we should expect more from our connected products. Consumers have become accustomed to looking at readouts that assess our own personal health, but unfortunately this information is not always ‘smart’ or actionable for the individual and does very little to advance the medical community’s ability to improve our health.In addition to the frequent lack of guidance on how to react to this health information, what is missing from these available data sets, which would help us better detect, treat and stop the spread of illnesses is highly geo-located, medically accurate fever and symptom data taken from someone who has just fallen in, before they enter into the health system — and generally, before they have taken to the internet.The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) aggregates provider-reported data (illness data as reported by doctors or labs) which is high in accuracy. Unfortunately, it is sparse; not everyone reports, compliance isn’t great, and it can be highly delayed — the lag time is usually many weeks or more, a lifetime when we are talking about a spreading illness.When Google came out with Flu Trends, it was a huge leap forward in thinking. They were mining search queries, entered by people that are presumably still at home, before they’ve entered the health system, to find flu-like terms. This yielded real-time data. There are four problems with this data however.The four problems with real-time health dataPeople do not frequently turn on geo-located services when they are searching (neither on web nor on mobile), so Google could instead mine the IP address to get a regional or city level understanding of geolocation, but not to small geographic areas, such as a neighborhood or a small community around a school.Second, the use of Natural Language Processing and related technologies to understand what someone is writing about can lead to false positives. For example, “Bieber fever” is clearly not about the flu, a fever, or illness.Third, there is a bucket of what I call “important non-direct effects” like the news. For example, if a local news outlet did a story on a new treatment for the flu, well then there could be a spike in search queries on the flu, but not related necessarily to an actual increase in flu.Finally, the power of this approach may be limited because search queries also don’t reveal how an illness progresses, or necessarily the accompanying symptoms, to indicate the type of illness – a contagious one or otherwise.Other companies have attempted to mine social media using similar approaches, for example mining Facebook or Twitter posts, but these have the same limitations.Enter smarter connected health productsConnected devices bridge the gap with current methods for identifying an ‘outbreak’ (regardless of its severity, from strep throat at your child’s elementary school, or more serious cases of Yellow Fever or Zika, top of mind concerns for those attending the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio).There are a couple of important notes on the value that connected devices bring.First, there is inherent value for individual users given its presumed delivery of accurate, real-time information that helps the user to better respond to what’s going on with their health in their moment of need. Rather than a medical device that simply tells you whether or not there’s something wrong, smart devices can alert you to exactly how serious it is, how it relates to illnesses you’ve had in the past, and what you can or should do next, thereby minimizing any sense of anxiety.When a sick person – particularly a sick child – is in a moment of need, the first thing that person or those concerned parents look for isn’t simply an answer to “how high is my temperature?” What they really want are answers around what that number means and what they should do next — What is it? Should I call a doctor? How can I/he/she get better?With smart devices that can respond to the onset of illness in real-time, we finally have the ability to deliver those answers to that person in their time of need, helping them detect illness sooner, get care faster and prevent their illness from spreading.Second, anonymous, aggregated data from these devices can offer more detailed and timely information to healthcare professionals to help them better diagnose patients. It can alert emergency medical response teams and health authorities to trends and patterns in contagious illness in a particular geography or among a particular population, in real time. This can signify potential outbreaks and allow them to allocate resources accordingly.Think of it as a “Waze” for public health. When that information is also available to the general public, they have the knowledge of what they’re walking into and can be better prepared.The key to enabling this type of value is to take a medical device people are already comfortable using, without requiring a behavior change. Take a ubiquitous tool – as we did with Kinsa for instance, a regular stick thermometer – and make it smarter by connecting it to your smartphone.Key IoT applications for global healthThe idea of real-time, crowdsourced data eliminates the need to rely on information coming from physicians on the ground in the case of global health emergencies. It eliminates observer bias and transcription errors and paints a realistic picture of what’s happening in that moment.In the case of the Olympics this year and fears related to the Zika Virus or Yellow Fever, that’s where smart products can play a major role in monitoring how and where these illnesses are spreading.Early detection, early response will be essential in the effort to contain these outbreaks.The author is the Founder & CEO of Kinsa, which is using mobile technologies to create a real-time map of human health to track—and stop—the spread of communicable illness. FDA Extends Collaboration on Living Heart Proje… Inder Singh How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… 8 Unusual Ideas for a Dentistry Businesscenter_img Tags:#CDC#Center for Disease Control#featured#health#Internet of Things#IoT#Rio 2016#top#Zika Related Posts Can IoT Bridge The Gaps In Modern Mental Health…last_img read more

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