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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Holiday shoppers may see big discounts soon

NEW YORK (AP) — If shoppers don't show up in stores soon, more "70 percent off" sale signs will. After a promising start to the holiday shopping season over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, sales have slowed, according to an analysis of data done for The Associated Press by sales tracker ShopperTrak. Worries about weak U.S. job growth and other concerns are likely to blame for Americans spending less.

US job gains defy Sandy and fears of fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON (AP) — It takes more than a superstorm to derail the U.S. job market. Employers added 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate dipped to 7.7 percent, a four-year low, the government said Friday.

Vestal: Making government better – what a concept!

When the state auditor’s office examined cellphone use by state employees, it found $1.7 million in savings from unused phones and cheaper phone plans. Now – under a new program of the state auditor’s office – any city or county can adopt the same method of review, quickly and easily, to examine their own cellphone use. Following the state model, Pierce County found it was locked into plans for almost 10 times as many minutes as its workers actually used.

Retailers report weak sales gains for November

NEW YORK (AP) — Black Friday was no match for Sandy. Major retailers from Target to Macy's reported weak November sales as the strong start to the holiday shopping season — including a good showing on the day after Thanksgiving — wasn't enough to fully offset the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy earlier in the month.

Lines by Madonna and other celebs pop up in stores

This holiday season you're likely to spot singer Jennifer Lopez in Kohl's. You could get a peek at pop music icon Madonna in Macy's. You might even catch a glimpse of reality TV star Kim Kardashian in Sears. Well, not literally.

‘Two and a Half Men’ actor calls his show ‘filth’

NEW YORK (AP) — The teenage actor who plays the half in the hit CBS comedy "Two and a Half Men" says in a video posted online by a Christian church that the show is "filth" and that viewers shouldn't watch it. Nineteen-year-old Angus T. Jones has been on the show, which used to feature bad-boy actor Charlie Sheen and remains heavy with sexual innuendo, since he was 10 but says he doesn't want to be on it anymore.

Holiday shopping season off to record start

NEW YORK (AP) — If you make holiday shopping convenient, Americans will come in droves. It's estimated that U.S. shoppers hit stores and websites at record numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation on Sunday. They were attracted by retailers' efforts to make shopping easier, including opening stores on Thanksgiving evening, updating mobile shopping applications for smartphones and tablets, and expanding shipping and layaway options.

Hostess says talks to stave off shutdown fail

NEW YORK (AP) — Hostess Brands Inc. lived to die another day. The maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs said late Tuesday that it failed to reach an agreement with its second-biggest union. As a result, Hostess plans to continue with a hearing on Wednesday in which a bankruptcy court judge in White Plains, N.Y., will decide if the company can shutter its operations.

J.C. Penney CEO tries to change the way we shop

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson seems unfazed that the department store chain's mounting losses and sales declines have led to growing criticism of his plan to change the way we shop. Perhaps that's because this isn't the first time during Johnson's 30-year career that he's attempted what seemed impossible. People predicted he'd fail at selling high-end housewares and designer dresses at discounter Target, but shoppers still flock there years later for cheap chic goods. Likewise, almost no one believed that the Apple stores he designed to sell the consumer electronics giant's gadgets would make money. Yet Apple's retail operations have become the most profitable in the industry.

Wal-Mart and Target: A tale of 2 discounters

NEW YORK (AP) — This holiday season, the biggest discount chains in the U.S. will tell the tale of two very different shoppers: those that have and those that have not. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, on Thursday acknowledged that its low-income shoppers continue to struggle in the economy and issued an outlook for the fourth quarter — which encompasses the holiday shopping period __ that falls below Wall Street estimates. On the same day, its smaller rival Target Corp., which caters to more affluent shoppers, said it expects results during the quarter to exceed the Street's projections.

Gap raises outlook after stronger 3rd quarter

NEW YORK (AP) — Gap Inc. raised its outlook for the year after reporting stronger third-quarter net income that beat Wall Street expectations on Thursday. The San Francisco-based clothing retailer said an uptick in sales at its Banana Republic, Old Navy and namesake stores helped lift its net income by 60 percent for the period. The performance is the latest sign that the company may be in turnaround mode, fueled by strong marketing and a revamping of its products.

Wal-Mart 3Q profit up but shares slide on outlook

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart reported a 9 percent increase in third-quarter net income as the world's largest retailer continues to woo back shoppers by reemphasizing low prices. But momentum has slowed as it grapples with an uncertain global economy. The Bentonville, Ark., discounter issued a fourth-quarter profit outlook that fell short of Wall Street expectations and shares slid nearly 5 percent in early trading. Revenue at stores open at least a year, a figure that measures growth in established stores, also disappointed.

Wal-Mart’s 3Q profit up 9 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported a 9 percent increase in third-quarter net income as the world's largest retailer continues to woo back shoppers by reemphasizing it has the lowest prices. But the company is seeing its momentum slow as it grapples with an uncertain global economy. The Bentonville, Ark.-based discounter issued a fourth-quarter profit outlook that was below analysts' forecast. It also reported that revenue at stores open at least a year, a figure that measures growth in established stores, fell short of Wall Street estimates.

Penney is the day’s biggest stock loser

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney Co. executives may be confident in the department-store chain's everyday low pricing strategy, but its investors are panicking. The company's stock fell more than 13 percent on Monday — the biggest percentage decline by far among big companies in the S&P 500 for the day. Penney stock lost nearly $3 on Monday to close at just under $18, its lowest price since March 2009 when the United States was in a recession.

Penney is biggest S&P stock loser

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney Co. executives may be confident in the department-store chain's everyday pricing strategy, but investors are panicking. The company's stock fell nearly 11 percent on Monday — the biggest percentage decline among big companies in the S&P 500 for the day. Penney stock now is trading at about $18, its lowest price since the middle of the recession in March 2009.

J.C. Penney reports hefty 3Q loss

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney Co. is hoping it has finally hit rock bottom. The bad news just keeps getting worse for the struggling department-store chain, which on Friday reported a wider third-quarter loss than Wall Street expected on a nearly 27-percent drop in revenue. That marks the third consecutive quarter of huge profit losses and steep sales declines as customers continue to show that they are not happy with its decision this year to ditch hundreds of coupons and annual sales in favor of everyday low pricing.

US Oct. jobs report likely to show modest hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) — The October employment report the government will release Friday will likely solidify the picture of the U.S. job market that's emerged this year: Companies are hiring steadily but cautiously. And unemployment remains high. Economists forecast that employers added 121,000 jobs in October, according to FactSet. That would be up slightly from September but below this year's average monthly gain of 146,000. And it's too weak a hiring pace to quickly reduce unemployment.

4th bankruptcy in Perry’s tech fund adds to losses

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A fourth Texas high-tech startup that received taxpayer money through Gov. Rick Perry's signature economic development fund has filed for bankruptcy, pushing the total losses in the $194 million portfolio beyond what the state says the fund has earned. The collapse of bioenergy producer Terrabon Inc., which was awarded $2.75 million in 2010 and was backed by large Perry political donors, raises the question of whether the state's Emerging Technology Fund that began in 2006 is now worth less than what taxpayers have put into it.

Auto sales, home prices help buoy weak US economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy is looking more resilient, thanks in part to encouraging signs for the two most expensive purchases most Americans make: cars and homes. Cheap loans and a bounty of fuel-efficient models enticed people to buy new vehicles at a brisk pace last month. And the nation enjoyed another year-over-year surge in home prices in August — a sign that the housing industry is making a sustained comeback.