tampabay.com

5 big stories of the week

By JEFF HARRINGTON
Published February 4, 2007


1. Online sales due to plateau

Experts say Internet shopping is becoming a mature market.

WHAT IT MEANS: Internet shopping sales may have jumped 24 percent to $100-billion last year, but not all good things last forever. Web shopping executives last week predicted fast growth will end within five years, forcing them to be more creative in luring buyers.

 

2. Regulators target Pearlman

A judge approves putting certain assets of Orlando entrepreneur Lou Pearlman in receivership.

WHAT IT MEANS: Regulators say the savings program Pearlman sold to more than 1,000 investors was a huge fraud. At least $95-million was collected from investors, most of which is gone. Pearlman, best known for launching the boy bands *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, is facing more than $160-million in lawsuits and legal judgments.

 

3. Exxon profits surge

Exxon Mobil posts a record $39.5-billion in profits for 2006.

WHAT IT MEANS: For perspective: that's higher than the gross domestic product of all but 25 countries. The numbers are stoking calls for Congress to adopt a windfall profits tax but Exxon says it is pouring money into energy research.

 

4. New rush for SheiKra fans

Busch Gardens plans to take the floor off the popular coaster to heighten the thrill.

WHAT IT MEANS: Busch Gardens can credit SheiKra for much of its increased attendance last year. Ratcheting up the wow factor on the ride boosts the Tampa theme park's never-ending bid to draw visitors in the shadow of Disney and Universal.

 

5. Bush lectures Wall Street

In his State of the Economy speech, President Bush warns about excessive executive pay.

WHAT IT MEANS: The president was bullish on corporate America, citing low unemployment and rising markets. But he returned to an earlier, populist theme, saying corporate boards should rein in inflated CEO pay packages and tie compensation to performance.