Luxury spending drops 3.9 percent last month

Affluent Americans went back to tightening their belts in June after months of showing other shoppers how to spend, raising concerns for the overall economy.

Data released late Wednesday by MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse shows luxury spending dropped in June for the first time since November. The 3.9 percent decline from a year earlier is particularly worrisome because the well-heeled — households with annual incomes in the top 20 percent, about $158,000 on average — account for almost 40 percent of overall consumer spending.

After a surprisingly solid start to the year, overall spending also has slowed in recent months, and analysts are concerned that shoppers will remain tightfisted through the crucial holiday season.

Wells Fargo will lay off 3,800 workers in next year

Wells Fargo & Co. said Wednesday it’s laying off 3,800 employees over the next year as part of a restructuring of its consumer finance unit.

The San Francisco-based bank is consolidating Wells Fargo Financial into its community banking network. The company says 638 independent consumer finance offices will be closed as a result.

The layoffs represent about 27 percent of Wells Fargo Financial’s 14,000 employees. The company says 2,800 positions will be eliminated in the next two months, and another 1,000 positions will be cut in the next year. Wells Fargo has more than 278,000 employees.

Borders begins selling digital books on website

Borders Group Inc., the nation’s second-largest bookstore chain, started selling digital books through its website Wednesday in a bid to boost revenue in a category that is growing faster than the overall book market.

The e-book store has more than 1.5 million titles, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company said. The goal is to capture 17 percent of domestic digital book sales within a year, Borders said.

Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation’s largest bookstore chain, said it has 20 percent of e-book sales. Amazon.com Inc. sells the most digital books.