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Retail Recovering on LI, Although Pre-pandemic Heights Remain Elusive



You don’t have to be a weathervane to know which way the wind is blowing or an economist to get a sense of how the economy is doing. Just stop by a store.

In Plainview, Trio Hardware is seeing more customers stream in. P.C. Richard and Son, which offers first responder discounts, is getting busier. Restaurants are getting more crowded along with more takeout orders: You may need a reservation where until recently you did not. Barbershops are busier. Long Island is recovering as we head into the holiday retail season, although it’s hard to say what the new normal will be and what will happen in the winter.

Numbers and predictions paint pictures in ways that individual experience cannot, when it comes to the state of the local economy. Stores don’t expect to be spooked by soft sales. Deloitte predicts holiday retail will surge 7% to 9% while e-commerce sales are expected to grow 11% to 15% over 2020. E-commerce holiday sales are projected to grow 11% to 15%, compared to 2020. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27 could boost sales.

“We anticipate strong consumer spending for the upcoming holiday season,” says Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s U.S. economic forecaster, citing rising vaccination rates which will likely lead to “increased spending on services, including restaurants and travel.”

Expect e-commerce sales to “continue to grow as consumers demonstrate an ongoing and steady movement toward buying online across all categories,” Bachman says of a retail landscape with a little less competition, due to empty stores.

Consumer spending on Halloween-related items was expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation’s forecast. “Americans plan to spend more than ever to make this Halloween a memorable one,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said of pent-up demand. He added that amid lingering supply concerns, retailers in this new not entirely normal brought in Halloween products earlier to ensure shelves were stocked with seasonal goods ahead of the holiday.

Things are improving locally despite inflation, but we’re still far from pre-pandemic heights in terms of jobs and in retail, specifically. Nonfarm employment on Long Island (jobs physically located here) was down 119,100 or 8.8 percent as of August 2021 from pre-pandemic August 2019.

The leisure and hospitality sector on Long Island, “the hardest hit during the pandemic,” is still 29,400, or 20.4% below pre-pandemic levels, said Shital Patel, principal economist and labor market analyst for Long Island at the New York State Department of Labor. Employment at restaurants remains 17.2% below pre-pandemic levels, she said.

“The retail sector has fared a bit better compared to leisure and hospitality, but the recovery has been uneven,” Patel said, noting retail employment is 10.8% below pre-pandemic levels.

“Building material and garden equipment stores, like Home Depot and Lowe’s, have regained all the jobs lost during the pandemic and employment is currently above pre-pandemic levels,” she said.

These stores benefitted from consumers “spending more time at home and renovating and upgrading their living spaces,” Patel said. P.C. Richard and Son added interactive Smart Home Departments with Wi-Fi thermostats, video doorbells, and much more, seeking to ride the home high-tech boom.

At the other end of the spectrum, employment on Long Island at clothing and clothing accessories stores, which Patel said “were already struggling prior to the pandemic,” remains 25.3% below pre-pandemic levels.

E-commerce is soaring with brick-and-mortar retailers relying more on clicks as delivery rockets. The courier and messenger industry, which includes companies to which e-commerce retailers outsource local delivery, has grown by 27.9% over the last two years, Patel said.

Long Island’s 5.1% August unemployment rate was nearly half of the 9.7% during the height of the pandemic, but above the 3.8% in August 2019. If “Help Wanted” signs make it seem that fewer people are working or seeking work, data bears that out. Long Island’s labor force shrank 3.6% from pre-pandemic levels. 

“While we don’t have details on who has been exiting the labor force, there are many issues at play,” Patel said. “Childcare and eldercare issues as well as lingering fears of the virus and the Delta variant continue to keep many on the sidelines. The region’s older workers may also be retiring in larger numbers.”

While the times are changing, so are shopping patterns, which are different from pre-pandemic trends. Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail and distribution sector leader, said “pandemic-influenced shopping behaviors continue to gain traction.” Convenience as well as delivery may be king.

Retailers who respond to “shifting consumer behaviors and offer convenient options for online and in-store shopping, as well as order fulfillment,” Sides said, “will be poised for growth this holiday season, and into the new year.”

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Republicans Are Hoping to Make Virginia the Next State to Ban Trans Youth From Sports



ShutterstockThe Commonwealth would become the eleventh state to enact legislation attempting to stop trans youth from participating in sports as they are.


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An Ambitious Time Traveling Sci-fi Relives the Past on Streaming



Sci-fi has always been a genre that works best when the ambition of the filmmakers is matched by their storytelling prowess, and failing to walk the delicate line between managing both can often yield disappointment.

Unfortunately, largely overlooked Australian effort 2067 sits firmly in that camp, even if it’s showing signs of gaining a new appreciation as an unsung cult favorite. Co-written and directed by Seth Larney, you can probably have a wild guess at what year the story unfolds in.


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Who Is Hana Cross? Get to Know the Model Spotted on Several Dates With Scott Disick



Hana Cross made headlines after a dinner date with former Keeping Up With the Kardashians star Scott Disick in 2021, and she was spotted out with him again in early 2022. The English model has actually been in the public eye for quite some time, though. Learn more about her below!

Hana has been represented by modeling agencies across the world for years, including Storm Los Angeles. While her Instagram shows that she spends a lot of time in Italy and London, it appears the brunette beauty is based in California.

She and the Talentless founder were seen returning to popular seafood hotspot Nobu in Malibu for a third night out together in late January 2022, according to photos obtained by E! News. Their dinner date came just one week after they were spotted arriving at a nightclub in Los Angeles together in photos obtained by the Daily Mail.

For their third outing, Scott wore a pink sweatshirt and light blue pants outside of Nobu, the fashionable model wore a black leather jacket with matching knee-high boots and a mini red and black skirt.

It appears they enjoy the upscale dining location, as they were first seen together at Nobu in November 2021, just one month after Scott’s ex-girlfriend Kourtney Kardashian announced her engagement to fiancé Travis Barker in October 2021. Scott and Kourtney share three kids — Mason, Penelope and Reign — and split in 2015 after nearly a decade together. 

Hana is no stranger to public romances. She dated Brooklyn Beckham — the eldest son of retired soccer player David Beckham and former Spice Girls singer Victoria Beckham — for about a year before they split in 2019. Brooklyn is now engaged to Nicola Peltz.

While the exes haven’t spoken publicly about their uncoupling, Hana debuted a song in April 2020 that seemed to point at her former boyfriend. 

“You broke my heart and said let’s be friends but I never heard from you again and that’s kind of mean,” she sang while strumming a guitar via Instagram. “I saw us as meant to be and you saw me as temporary and that’s kind of rough.”

For Scott’s part, this isn’t the first time he’s been spotted with a woman since his relationship with Amelia Gray Hamlin ended in September 2021 after 11 months of dating. The reality star was seen on a vacation to St. Barts with model Bella Banos in December 2021.

An insider told Life & Style the daughter of Real Houswives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Rinna  “dumped” Scott after Kourtney’s ex-boyfriend Younes Bendjima leaked an alleged Instagram DM exchange that showed Scott shading the Poosh founder’s PDA-packed trip to Italy with the Blink-182 rocker. 

It appears Scott is now ready for a serous relationship, though. He has been “trying to find a woman he can settle down with,” a second insider told Life & Style in December 2021. “His friends say he’s not happy playing the field anymore.”

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