business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Associated Press reports that "fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs continue to fall amid a strong job market rebound.

"Jobless claims fell by 15,000 to 214,000 for the week ending March 12, down from the previous week's 229,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications for jobless aid generally track the pace of layoffs.

"The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell to 223,000 from the previous week’s 231,750. In total, 1,419,000 Americans — a 50-year low — were collecting jobless aid the week that ended March 5, down 71,000 from the week before that."

•  From CNBC:

"Target has rolled out one of the most visible displays of its efforts to become a greener company: Massive carports topped with solar panels that will power a big-box store in California.

"The panels, high above the parking lot, will produce enough renewable energy to power the entire store, from its refrigeration to its heating and air conditioning, the retail chain says. And the towering structures outside offer a striking visual clue into the environmentally conscious efforts going on inside the store.

"In aisles with items like milk, ice cream and frozen pizza, refrigerators and freezers will use a natural refrigerant to cut back on emissions. All sales floor lighting has been replaced with LED, and back outside, customers who arrive in electric cars can charge them in the parking lot.

"The Target location in Vista, Calif., about 40 miles north of San Diego, has become the company’s most sustainable store — and could become a national model for the retailer."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Apparel retailers and department stores are bumping up against pockets of price resistance, a sign that consumers are curtailing spending as inflation remains at the highest level in four decades.

"Macy’s Inc. tried to raise prices on some mattresses and sofas by $100, but shoppers pushed back, Chief Executive Jeff Gennette said. Clothing brand Bella Dahl raised prices on its T-shirts by about $20, then sales fell and the company rolled back the price increase. 'There was a revolt,' said Steven Millman, its chief brand officer. 'If we go any higher, we’ll do half the sales.'

"With inflation at a 40-year high, companies across the spectrum have been charging more to offset rising costs with little resistance from consumers. That trend is starting to change, especially on lower-priced apparel and furniture, according to industry executives, analysts and consumers."

“We are seeing less demand as consumers pay higher prices,” Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief retail industry adviser, tells the Journal.  “Price sensitivity is starting to show up. There is a threshold that consumers don’t want to go over.”