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Monthly Archives: June 2019

Changing habits: ‘Back-to-school shopping season just isn’t that important anymore’ – National

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – Giulia Pugliese is a typical teenager. She likes to look good, and she’s particular about what she wears.

But when The Associated Press followed the 15-year-old from Long Island on a recent back-to-school shopping trip with friends, she left a Nike store empty-handed — even though Nike is one of her favourites. The reason?

“I buy on sale because it’s stupid to buy a pair of shorts for $60,” said Pugliese, who instead looks for the “Swoosh” logo in discount stores like Marshalls.

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    Back to school shopping

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Teens are shopping like their parents during the back-to-school season, and that’s putting a lot of pressure on retailers to change the way they market to them. Gone are the spending sprees, starting weeks before school bells ring. More teens are thrifty nowadays, a habit picked up from their recession-scarred parents.

Today’s kids recycle more clothes from the previous school year, mixing and matching the old with the new for different looks. They also shop year-round for things they need so they’re spending less money this time of year.

When they do buy, they’re less likely to get anything that’s not on sale. And the number of kids who’ll reuse last year’s items rose to 39 per cent from 26 per cent between 2011 and 2015, says a Deloitte LLP poll of 1,000 parents.

And when teens shop, they’re spending less. Families with school-age kids, on average, are expected to spend $630.36 this year, according to a survey of 6,500 by the National Retail Federation. That’s down 6 per cent from last year and results have registered declines for four out of the past seven years.

Overall, back-to-school spending this year should hit $42.5 billion, up 2.1 per cent from the previous year, according to The Retail Economist, a research firm. That’s much lower than the 5 to 6 per cent average gains typically seen in a healthy economy.

Teens’ behaviour is an extension of how their parents learned to shop since 2008 when retailers pushed discounts to entice people to buy during the downturn. That helped lure shoppers, but it also got them addicted to deals. The shift made it difficult for stores to make money because discounts cut into profits.

Such behaviour has cut into sales from July through September, the second biggest shopping period of the year behind the winter holidays. Sales during that period were 24.9 per cent of total sales annually last year, down from 25.8 per cent in 2003, according to The Retail Economist.

“Consumers are sending a message to retailers that says ‘the back-to-school shopping season just isn’t that important anymore,’” says Deloitte’s Alison Paul.

The shift is changing how stores market to teens. Whereas stores’ promotions would end around Labor Day, they’re now extending them through September. They’re also pulling together complete outfits from different brands in stores to make it easier for teens to buy looks. And they’re using social media campaigns to be more easily discovered by teens.

To observe teens’ new behaviour, the AP followed Pugliese; her cousin, Arianna Schaden, 14; and two friends, Isabella Cimato, 17, and Sofia Harrison, 15, at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, N.Y. Here are some ways teens are shopping differently, and how retailers are adjusting:

THEY’RE IN NO RUSH TO BUY

Teens aren’t impatient about shopping.

Although they started shopping weeks early, the four teens plan to delay buying things they don’t need immediately, like jeans, until well after school starts and the weather cools. In fact, they’re planning to spend about half of their back-to-school budget of about $400 after school begins.

Cimato didn’t buy anything at all that day. Harrison, who bought just a few shirts, said: “To be honest, it’s not that big of a deal because I shop year round.”

Besides that, they want big discounts. During their shopping trip, Schaden found a $58 romper she liked, but decided to leave the mall without it.

“I think I buy on sale because my mom never buys something unless it’s on sale,” she said.

In response to this new thinking, Macy’s and J.C. Penney are now staggering back-to-school promotions through September. Penney also is increasing the back-to-school merchandise it carries in late August and September. That includes denim, backpacks, and basics such as underwear.

And Hollister, a division of Abercrombie & Fitch, says it is timing deals on items that shoppers most want at that time. Right now, it’s promoting trendy tops and T-shirts with graphics, for instance.

THEY’RE SMARTER CONSUMERS

Teens aren’t roaming around at the mall for kicks during back-to-school. They’re researching the looks they want online and follow popular hashtags on social media so they can piece together looks before they get there. Google says its image searches for “school outfit” have grown dramatically during the past three years, and soared 76 per cent in July.

Cimato, who researched denim tops and items with fringe on Instagram, said: “I pretty much know what I am looking for.”

That presents challenges for retailers that are afraid teens will bypass their stores because they’re focused on items they already want to buy. So, retailers are trying to get teens’ attention before they are in stores.

Macy’s is identifying key trends and hashtags on social media that are getting lots of followers. It now highlights shoe trends using the popular hashtag FWIS, which means “from where I stand.”

The retailer also is putting together more looks from various labels to create outfits and displaying them on mannequins or tables in the teen department instead of showing them by merchandise category. These include looks teens haven’t necessarily seen on social media.

Penney uses Pinterest personalities like Katherine Accettura and Mai Phung who are influential among teens to market its back-to-school fashions. The company says it sees up to 500 times more re-pins than if it promoted the product itself.

THEY WANT A UNIQUE LOOK

Teens no longer want to be carbon copies of each other. Now, kids, inspired by what they see on Instagram and the like, want to personalize hot looks.

“I’m not a big fan of logos,” Harrison said. “That’s distracting to my style.”

That behaviour makes it hard for retailers to dictate specific looks. That means retailers have to do more marketing to attract teens.

Penney’s back-to-school ad campaign called “Bend the Trend” tries to show how easy it is to put together trends for a personalized style. And like many teen retailers, Hollister has scaled back its logoed merchandise.

“Today, the customer is the centre of everything we do,” said Hollister president Fran Horowitz.

©2015The Canadian Press

In photos: Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival – Edmonton

Global Edmonton has been a long-standing partner of the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival.

On Wednesday, August 19  and Saturday, August 22 Global Edmonton was on-site at SupercaliFRINGEilistic with our Global News Photo Booth! Fringers who visited the photo booth had their picture taken with our Chief Weather Anchor, Jesse Beyer.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth.


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Survivors tell of deep grief from Colorado theatre massacre – National

WATCH ABOVE: The sentencing hearing for Colorado movie theatre shooter James Holmes began on Monday with both survivors and family members of the victims present. Leanne Gregg has more.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — In trembling, tearful voices, two daughters of a man killed in the Colorado theatre shooting told a judge Monday his death shattered their lives and left them in a black hole of sorrow.

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They were the first of at least 100 victims and witnesses who are expected to testify about the July 20, 2012, attack’s impact on their lives during shooter James Holmes’ formal sentencing hearing.

“There’s no human language that can convey the pain I have witnessed seize ahold of my family,” said Kristian Cowden, whose father Gordon Cowden was the oldest of 12 people gunned down by Holmes in the attack.

Her sister, Brooke, described “drowning in pain and sadness.”

READ MORE: Colorado theatre shooter to spend life behind bars after jury fails to agree on death penalty

The three-day sentencing hearing gives survivors a chance to share their harrowing stories with the judge, but it won’t change Holmes’ sentence. Jurors already determined that Holmes will spend the rest of his life in prison without parole for the attack that also wounded 70 others.

Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. will formally sentence Holmes to life on 24 counts of first-degree murder — two for each of those killed. This week’s testimony will help him determine Holmes’ sentences on 141 other counts that include attempted murder and an explosives charge. Samour has not set a limit on the number of people who can testify at the hearing.

Holmes will also have an opportunity to speak, though he declined to do so during his trial.

Many victims took the stand during Holmes’ four-month trial earlier this summer about the terror and carnage he inflicted on more than 400 people who filled the seats at a sold-out midnight movie premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Holmes, a former graduate student in neuroscience, slipped into the darkened theater, threw gas canisters into the crowd and opened fire with a shotgun, assault rifle and semi-automatic pistol.

READ MORE: Parents of Colorado theatre shooter James Holmes testify in sentencing phase of trial

State corrections officials will determine where Holmes will be incarcerated after an evaluation that includes his mental health. That could last up to 60 days, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Adrienne Jacobson said.

Colorado prisons have an extensive mental health care system, and Holmes, who has been diagnosed with varying forms of schizophrenia, could wind up in the department’s mental hospital, the 250-bed San Carlos Correctional Facility in Pueblo.

The department has four levels of security for inmates, and those serving a life sentence, like Holmes, are usually classified at the highest or second-highest security level, Jacobson said. She said she couldn’t speculate on what kind of prison routine Holmes or any inmate would have.

Holmes’ attorneys blamed the massacre on his schizophrenia and psychotic delusions, and experts testified that it wouldn’t have happened if he were not seriously mentally ill.

Jurors quickly rejected his insanity defense, convicting him on July 16 of 165 felony counts. But they could not unanimously agree on the death penalty for Holmes.

After the trial, prosecutors said Holmes’ fate ultimately came down to a single juror, who said she could not morally impose a death sentence after hearing testimony about Holmes’ mental illness. The Aug. 7 verdict shocked many in the courtroom and the community, who assumed Holmes would pay with his life for one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

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Associated Press writer Dan Elliott in Denver contributed to this report.

©2015The Canadian Press

Stock your freezer with summer fruit while you can and make popsicles – National

The autumn produce season catches me off-guard every year. As we glide from the hot days of August into the cooler months ahead, we never quite know when the magic moment arrives that we have seen our last bit of fresh summer fruit in the produce aisle. Sure, we can get peaches all year if we insist (and are willing to pay a small fortune), but they just aren’t nearly as delicious.

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The good news is that so many summer fruits freeze quite well. It’s a great excuse to stock up when things are seasonal (and more affordable) and freeze them for later. Peaches and most berries are particularly great candidates for this.

In fact, my easy recipe for peach-blueberry frozen pops is a great way to use some of your frozen stash any time of year. Low-calorie peaches (about 60 calories a cup) and blueberries (about 80 calories a cup) bring their natural sweetness along with plenty of nutrients to these refreshing and pretty little treats.

Coconut milk makes the pops creamy and gives just a hint of coconut (add coconut extract if you want more coconut flavour). The best part about frozen pops is that they take a long time to eat, which means my family can enjoy a leisurely dessert without overdoing the sugar.

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PEACH-BLUEBERRY FROZEN POPS

For richness, this recipe uses coconut milk, the variety sold in cartons as a beverage. If you can’t find that, substitute canned light coconut milk.

Start to finish: 15 minutes, plus freezing

Servings: 8 (depending on mould size)

1 cup chopped peaches (about 1 large peach), fresh or frozen3/4 cup low-fat plain Greek or regular yogurt3 tablespoons honey1/3 cup coconut milk1/2 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract1 teaspoon lemon juice1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

In a blender, combine everything but the blueberries, then puree until smooth. Stir in the blueberries, then divide the mixture among frozen pop moulds. Add the sticks and freeze for at least 8 hours.

Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories; 5 calories from fat (8 per cent of total calories); 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 15 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 2 g protein.

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Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.”

©2015The Canadian Press

Your anxiety about math could be bringing down your kids’ performance – National

TORONTO — Helping your kids with their math homework could be doing more harm than good if it makes you anxious.

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As much as you may try to hide it, kids can pick up on your anxiety level and internalize it, according to a recent study published in the Psychological Science journal. The study assessed more than 400 Grade 1 and 2 students in math achievement and anxiety both at the beginning and end of the school year.

Parents were given a questionnaire which asked about their own math anxiety and how often they worked with their kids on math.

“Our work suggests that if a parent is walking around saying ‘Oh, I don’t like math’ or ‘This stuff makes me nervous,’ kids pick up on this messaging and it affects their success,” said University of Chicago psychological scientist Sian Beilock, who helped lead the study.

READ MORE: Is discovery-based learning hurting Canadian math scores?

She and her team found that children whose math anxious parents tried to help them actually learned less math over the school year, and were more likely to be math-anxious themselves — but only when they received frequent math homework help from their math anxious parents.

That’s led researchers to believe the link between parents’ math anxiety and children’s math performance stems more from the attitude around math than genetics.

“Math-anxious parents may be less effective in explaining math concepts to children, and may not respond well when children make a mistake or solve a problem in a novel way,” explained fellow researcher Susan Levine.

Lead study author Erin A. Maloney added that the way parents approach math help is key.

READ MORE: Parents across Canada fight for return to traditional math lessons

“We can’t just tell parents—especially those who are anxious about math—‘Get involved,’” Maloney explained. “We need to develop better tools to teach parents how to most effectively help their children with math.”

That may include math books, computer and traditional board games, or Internet apps that “allow parents to interact with their children around math in positive ways,” the researchers wrote.

READ MORE: New app helps students with math problems

Harris Cooper, a psychology and neuroscience professor at Duke University, made another suggestion in The New York Times:

“Tell your child, ‘You have your math homework, and I have mine,’ he said, and show them whenever you ‘count your change, calculate when dinner will be ready, look at prices in a grocery store.’”

If those mathematical equations also stress you out, well, maybe it’s time to just hire a tutor.