Consumer Confidential: On-time flights, more shopping, love songs
Here's your fitfully Friday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
-- Maybe you didn't notice (I certainly didn't) that airlines did a better job of keeping to their schedule than at any time since 2003. That's the word from government officials, who say airlines hit the mark, schedule-wise, 80% of the time last year. Hawaiian Airlines took top on-time honors, followed by Southwest and Alaska Airlines. United did best among the big boys. I suppose they'll now use this as an excuse to raise fares again.
-- We're still shopping. Retail sales rose more than expected last month, up 0.5%. Economist types say this is pleasant news for the nation's fiscal well-being, showing that consumers are increasingly in a mood to throw around a little moola, even after the holidays. If the unemployment rate goes lower, they say, the picture will only brighten. Yay.
-- Valentine's Day is Sunday (heads up, guys), and music companies think the best way to tell your special someone that you love him or her is in song. Apparently V-Day is second only to Christmas as a CD-giving occasion, so music retailers and record labels have made sure there's plenty of sticky-sweet tunes available. Recent top albums on iTunes include the latest from Sade, Michael Buble and the soundtrack to the movie "Valentine's Day," which looks kind of like a chick flick but maybe could be fun.
-- David Lazarus