A Week's Worth

• Inflation rears up: It's not just oil prices that are rising (hitting a record high last week), overall consumer prices rose 0.2 percent last month. That's still modest but signals that inflation is reemerging. So far this year, consumer prices have risen at an annual rate of 4.4 percent, compared with 1.9 percent for all of last year.

• Comeback for perks: To hold onto experienced and motivated workers, employers are improving or adding perks, according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. But 1990s extravagance - a game room or luxury-car lease - is out; moderation is in. Example: Partners at an East Coast law firm regularly cook breakfast for associates and support staff.

• Web grocers, the sequel: Despite the dot.com crash and 2001 bankruptcy of online grocer Webvan, others are quietly expanding. Safeway.com, which doubled its business over the past two years, expects to double again this year; Peapod plans to nearly double its reach by 2006. Shoppers are gaining more confidence in ordering food via the Internet.

• La différence: While women professionals collaborate quite well, they paradoxically prefer to work with men, according to a study in the Academy of Management Journal. Of 178 workers at a national clothing manufacturer and retailer, far more women than men wanted to transfer out of same-sex groups, although the women reported higher levels of commitment, enthusiasm, and team spirit in their current position. Why? Women may think working in a female "ghetto" hinders their advancement, the study's authors say.

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