Americans Shoplifted $1.8 Billion Worth of Stuff This Christma

Hope you have a Merry Christmas, America, because you've been extremely naughty at the mall this year. After surveying retailers in the U.S., the Global Retail Theft Barometer says that shoppers pinched $1.8 billion worth of merchandise during the four weeks leading up to Christmas, reports the AP. $1.8 billion! For context, $1.8 billion is a 6 percent increase from 2010 -- or approximately 62 million Tickle Me Elmos at retail. And this is a year when there aren't even any good toys to buy. When stores are offering big markdowns because people aren't spending as much. But that's exactly the point: while there will always be some built-in kleptomania to society, the sour economy drives some people to buy less and steal more. Or at least gives them a good excuse for doing so.

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Three start-ups seek to remove hurdles online buyers face

Two of the major problems online shoppers in India face are inefficient payment gateways courier companies. A third problem, from the online retailer's viewpoint, is that of low conversion: many visit their sites, but very few place orders. However, with e-commerce revenues growing at 40 per cent annually, and the market expected to top Rs 46,500 crore by the end of 2011 - as estimated by the Internet and Mobile Association of India - a number of entrepreneurs have sprung up seeking to take care of such pain points.

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