business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• Another tradition is biting the dust, thanks to the continuing march of technology...

The New York Times reports that "starting on March 27, the way prescriptions are written in New York State will change. Gone will be doctors’ prescription pads and famously bad handwriting. In their place: pointing and clicking, as prescriptions are created electronically and zapped straight to pharmacies in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

"New York is the first state to require that all prescriptions be created electronically and to back up that mandate with penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for physicians who fail to comply. Minnesota has a law requiring electronic prescribing but does not penalize doctors who cling to pen and paper."

• The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is out with its monthly consumer survey, concluding that "fully half of all Americans (50%) say they are optimistic about the economy, a strong six-point jump over the past month and the highest percentage since November 2015. Two in three consumers (67%) ages 18-34 say that they are optimistic about the economy, a huge 15-point increase from a month ago. Fuel consumers in the Northeast (56% optimistic) and Midwest (54%) are more upbeat about the economy’s prospects than fuel consumers in the South (47%) and West (47%)."

The reason for the improved attitudes? "The sustained period of lower gas prices appears to finally be driving economic optimism higher. More than four in five consumers (83%) ages 18-34 say that gas prices affect their optimism."

They're about to learn about inevitable disappointment, since gas prices appear to be going up. Such is life.

• The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports that Target "took a breather from remodeling stores last year," working on "just nine of its stores in 2015, down from 39 remodels the year before and nearly 400 in 2011."

The reason: "CEO Brian Cornell’s team is testing new initiatives in 25 Southern California stores. 'That will help inform us on our next prototype and how we role that out to our 1,793 stores,' said Target spokeswoman Kristy Welker."

Those new initiatives include "decor vignettes, more stylish grocery departments and fancy dressing rooms."
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