Alternative indicators

By Paul Hodges

The toy industry is going through difficult times as Lex highlighted recently. Profits at Toys R Us have halved since 2009, whilst Mattel is suffering due to poor sales of Barbie dolls. A dismal Christmas at the UK’s Mothercare led the departure of its chief executive. Read more

The rise in US food prices accelerated in September and has continued into October, according to a detailed study of retail prices – though the US federal government shutdown has robbed financial markets of any official measures of the state of the economy.

These unofficial inflation figures, from a US start-up called Premise, highlight the growing use of massive data collection and analysis – known as “big data” – to supplement and in some cases replace official economic statistics.

 Read more