STARWATCH CONSUMER

Halloween spending down, survey finds

Updated: 2013-09-25T02:48:18Z

The Star’s news services

Halloween spending down

The most frightful ghoul this Halloween season might be the specter of the weak economy, as Americans spend less on this year’s holiday than they did in 2012. A new survey for the National Retail Federation says 158 million people are expected to observe the day, down from a record 170 million in 2012. They are expected to spend an average $75.03 each on costumes, decorations, candy and other merriment, a decline from $79.82 last year.

Seasonal flavor

McDonald’s Corp. is adding pumpkin-spice lattes to lure the Starbucks crowd and boost traffic. The McCafe pumpkin lattes — a mix of espresso, milk and flavored syrup — come in three sizes and are available with whole or nonfat milk. A 16-ounce latte with whole milk has 340 calories and costs $2.89. A regular coffee is $1. The lattes are being introduced this month and will sell through mid-November.

Low-fat fries

Burger King wants people to feel less guilty about gobbling up its french fries. On Tuesday it launched a crinkle-cut french fry that it says has about 20 percent fewer calories than its regular fries. The chain says a small order of the new “Satisfries” clocks in at 270 calories because of a new batter that doesn’t absorb as much oil. By comparison, a small order of its regular fries has 340 calories.

IMac upgrades

Apple Inc. has updated its lineup of iMac desktop computers with faster Intel Corp. chips and more support for flash-memory storage. The new iMacs will run fourth-generation, quad-core Intel processors and have faster graphics. The computers, which went on sale Tuesday, also will work with a speedier version of the Wi-Fi connection standard and PCIe flash storage.

E-cigarette oversight

Forty attorneys general sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday urging the agency to meet its own dead- line and regulate electronic cigarettes in the same way it regulates tobacco products. The letter says e-cigarettes are being marketed to children through cartoon-like advertising characters and by offering fruit and candy flavors.

The Star’s news services

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