Consumer Confidential: Spending up, saving down. Pizza aplenty. Ticketmaster settles.
-- No surprise here: As the economy recovers, we're earning more, spending more and saving less. Personal income rose 0.4% in December, following a 0.4% increase in November, according to the Commerce Department. Spending by individuals gained 0.7%, compared with a revised 0.3% increase the prior month. Meanwhile, Americans saved $614.1 billion in December, compared with $634.4 billion the prior month. And personal savings as a percentage of disposable income nudged down to 5.3% from 5.5% in November. Economists expect disposable income to increase further in January, boosted by a 2% payroll tax cut that started at the beginning of the year.
-- One thing we'll be spending our dough on is pizza. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the five big pizza days of the year, with the others being Halloween, the day before Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, according to the trade magazine Pizza Today (yes, there is such a critter). For example, the Associated Press reports that the Papa John's chain expects to sell a million pizzas when the Steelers meet the Packers on Feb. 6, making it their biggest day of the year. In preparation, the 3,200-restaurant chain will be shipping more than 2 million pounds of cheese through its 10 distribution centers along with 350,000 pounds of pepperoni. I'll be good for a slice or three.
-- If you bought a ticket to an event over the last decade (Super Bowl or otherwise), you may be due some change. Ticketmaster has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that charged that its order-processing fee was a "profit component" unrelated to actual expenses and its UPS delivery option included an artificial markup. The suit was originally filed in Los Angeles in 2003. It was broadened to a class action late last year to include anyone who purchased tickets through Ticketmaster.com from October 1999 through May 2010. Consumers who qualify as plaintiffs will be entitled to receive a cash payment from Ticketmaster or discounts off future ticket purchases. Ticketmaster said it settled the suit to make it go away, not because it was admitting any wrongdoing. Whatever, dudes.
-- David Lazarus
Photo: Consumers might not be saving much dough, but pizza makers are rolling in it. Credit: Ed Suba Jr. / Associated Press