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Saturday, June 6, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Thursday focus: Shopping life

It’s back to the buffet, bargains and customer bonuses for Las Vegas casinos.

Fast food is up, fine dining tabs are down and hotel rooms are available for under $50 in a city that has been calling on recession-weary tourists to come back and play the quarter slot machines.

Casinos found consumers unwilling to pay premium prices for just about anything, from meals to hotel rooms, drinks and entertainment. Occupancy citywide dropped to about 72 percent in January, far below the 90 percent-plus normally enjoyed by Las Vegas hotels.

Executives say changing customer demands affect every hotel-casino, from the $159-per-night Wynn Las Vegas to the Imperial Palace, where rooms can be found for $34 per night.

The Imperial Palace is selling a package that includes a one-night stay with all meals at its buffet and a cafe and all drinks at casino and pool bars for $95.

Digging out? Recession-weary customers are still putting off big-ticket purchases from office-supply chain Staples Inc., but the retailer said it’s beginning to see smaller declines in foot traffic and sales to small businesses.

The chain’s tepid first-quarter results, released Wednesday, show the limping U.S. economy may finally be digging itself out of its slump by the end of the year, executives said Wednesday.

Same-store sales in the U.S. – a key retail industry metric of sales in stores open at least a year – fell 8 percent, better than the fourth quarter’s 13 percent decrease.

Profit at the Framingham, Mass.-based retailer fell by one-third, and customers – particularly big corporations, where layoffs are ongoing and fewer employees means less need for office supplies – ordered less merchandise and spent less money on each order.

Fix is in: Automotive parts retailer AutoZone Inc. on Wednesday said its fiscal third-quarter profit climbed 9.5 percent, helped by an increase in replacement-part sales as consumers held onto their cars longer.

AutoZone and other parts retailers have benefited from the slowdown in the economy as strapped consumers hold back on buying new cars, opting instead to keep and repair their existing vehicles. New vehicle sales are down 37 percent for the first four months of the year, according to Autodata Corp.

From wire reports

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