A Week's Worth

The lofty heights reached by the Dow Jones Industrial Average in late October couldn't be sustained. The index fell back below the 12000 level last week, losing 0.9 points amid growing labor costs and a slowdown in the pace of manufacturing.

Women have been telling researchers that they feel more comfortable financially in widowhood or after a divorce than when they were married. OppenheimerFunds Inc. surveyed women 55 and older with at least $500,000 in assets to invest and found the majority said they're enjoying their independence in exploring financial options and then making their own decisions.

You may not even be conscious of it, but new statistics suggest that you're making fewer shopping trips than you did five years ago. And, says Information Resources Inc., this worries retailers, who need to learn how and why "trip missions" have changed so they can market themselves more effectively. IRI's study found the average household visits stores 14 times a month now, compared with 15 in 2001.

When it comes to customer service, the nation's best retailer is one that gets by without a single store, according to results of an annual survey by marketing intelligence specialist BIGresearch of Worthington, Ohio. It polled 8,001 consumers in September and found the highest marks were given to online shopping service Amazon.com.

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