At the pump: Baton Rouge continues to have the lowest on average gas prices at $2.16, while the average price per gallon nationwide has dropped 6 cents over the past two weeks to $2.74. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says increased refinery production and lower crude oil costs contributed to the decrease at the pump. The price is 18 cents lower than what it was a year ago. The highest average price in the nation is $3.63 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Retail woes: This holiday season could be a “sobering” one for America’s department store chains, Credit Suisse analyst Michael Binetti tells CNBC. While retailers appear to have tightened their inventories during the second quarter, which should help reduce pressure on gross margins, Binetti predicts retail companies will have lower sales and earnings targets for the second half of the year, with waning foot traffic at stores hurting the group. Also, these retailers now face the 10% tariffs set to go into effect on Sept. 1, which will hit apparel and footwear, among other consumer goods. Read the full story.
Weekends away: Spa visits and the money they generate reached record highs last year in the U.S. with $18.3 billion in revenue driven by 190 million pampering trips, according to the International Spa Association. Some spas have been slimming back the services they offer as they focus more on customization, and more men are attending them than ever before. Read the full story.