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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Earlier Black Friday kicks off shopping season

This year's Black Friday shoppers were split into two distinct groups: those who wanted to fall into a turkey-induced slumber and those who'd rather shop. Stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving that's called Black Friday because of retail folklore that it's when merchants turn a profit for the year. But after testing how shoppers would respond to earlier hours last year, stores such as Target and Toys R Us this year opened as early as Thanksgiving evening. That created two separate waves of shoppers.

Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season

Black Friday got off to its earliest start ever as the nation's shoppers put down their turkey and headed straight to the malls. Stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving that's named Black Friday because it's traditionally when they turn a profit for the year. In fact, generations of shoppers have made Black Friday rituals of going to bed early after munching on turkey and pumpkin pie so that they can head out to stores early the next day.

Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season

Black Friday got off to its earliest start ever as the nation's shoppers put down their turkey and headed straight to the malls. Stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving that's named Black Friday because it's traditionally when they turn a profit for the year. In fact, generations of shoppers have made Black Friday rituals of going to bed early after munching on turkey and pumpkin pie so that they can head out to stores early the next day.

Thanksgiving parade brings cheer to storm-hit NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off in New York on Thursday, putting a festive mood in the air in a city still coping with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The young, and the young at heart, were delighted by the sight and sound of marching bands, performers and, of course, the giant balloons. The sunny weather quickly surpassed 50 degrees. Some parade-goers had camped out to get a good spot, staying snug in sleeping bags. Others came well-prepared with folding chairs.

Americans to mark holiday with family, festivities

NEW YORK (AP) — Airports, train stations and highways were expected to remain busy Thursday as people made their way home to reconnect with family and friends for Thanksgiving — though some reunions might be bittersweet because of the damage and displacement caused by Superstorm Sandy. For some, the once-sacrosanct harvest feast now starts the holiday shopping season — and store openings keep getting earlier. Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving Day itself at many national stores, and some shoppers planned to race from their dinner tables to line up for bargains, delaying their second helpings until they've purchased the latest toys or electronic devices.

Stores try to make holiday shopping cheap and easy

NEW YORK (AP) — This holiday season, Burger King won't be the only place where you can have it your way. It used to be enough for stores to promise discounts up to 70 percent to lure shoppers during the busy holiday period. But the ease of ordering online and the sluggish economy changed that. Americans are no longer impressed by discounts alone. Now they want their shopping just like their fast food: not only cheap, but convenient too.

More Thanksgiving travelers driving to save money

CHICAGO (AP) — Feeling the pinch of the sluggish economic recovery, many Americans setting out on the nation's annual Thanksgiving migration sacrificed summer vacations, relied on relatives for airfare or scoured the Web for travel deals to ensure they made it home. It's not just tight family finances making travel tough. Airlines struggling to save on jet fuel and other expenses have cut the number of flights, leading to a jump in airfares. Those hitting the roads face high gas prices and rising tolls. Now, with talk of the nation sliding off a "fiscal cliff" come January, many travelers said they're accepting that sacrifices for pricy holiday journeys have become the norm.

Stores borrow from fast-food industry’s playbook

NEW YORK (AP) — This holiday season, Burger King won't be the only place where you can have it your way. It used to be enough for stores to promise discounts of up to 70 percent off to lure shoppers during the busy holiday shopping season. But the ease of ordering online and the sluggish economy has created more demanding U.S. consumers who aren't impressed by discounts alone. They want their shopping just like their fast food: not only cheap, but convenient too.

Economy means sacrifice for Thanksgiving travelers

CHICAGO (AP) — Feeling the pinch of the sluggish economic recovery, many Americans setting out on the nation's annual Thanksgiving migration had to sacrifice summer vacations, rely on relatives for airfare or scour the Web for travel deals to ensure they made it home. It's not just tight family finances making travel tough. Airlines struggling to save on jet fuel and other expenses have cut the number of flights, leading to a jump in airfares. Those hitting the roads face high gas prices and rising tolls. Now, with talk of the nation sliding off a "fiscal cliff" come January, many travelers said they're accepting that sacrifices for pricy holiday journeys have become the norm.

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.

Medicare premiums going up $5 a month for 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare premiums are going up $5 a month in 2013, the government said Friday. It's less than expected, but still enough to eat up about one-fourth of a typical retiree's cost-of-living raise next year. Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner said the new "Part B" premium for outpatient care will be $104.90 a month. In most cases, it's deducted directly from a beneficiary's monthly Social Security check. Currently the premium is $99.90 a month.

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.

Census: New gauge shows high of 49.7M poor in US

WASHINGTON (AP) — The ranks of America's poor edged up last year to a high of 49.7 million, based on a new census measure that takes into account medical costs and work-related expenses. The numbers released Wednesday by the Census Bureau are part of a newly developed supplemental poverty measure. Devised a year ago, this measure provides a fuller picture of poverty that the government believes can be used to assess safety-net programs by factoring in living expenses and taxpayer-provided benefits that the official formula leaves out.

Documents: Money woes for Fla. family in scandal

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — When news vans camped outside her stately home, a Florida socialite tied to the Gen. David Petraeus sex scandal fell back on her informal credentials as a social ambassador for Tampa society and top military brass: She asked police for diplomatic protection. In a phone call to authorities, Jill Kelley, a party hostess and unofficial social liaison for leaders of the U.S. military's Central Command in Tampa, cited her status as an honorary consul general while complaining about news media that had descended on her two-story, five-bedroom brick home overlooking Tampa Bay, which was purchased in 2004 for $1.5 million.

Deficit talks will test the GOP focus on tax rates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders say the government can raise tax "revenues" without raising tax "rates." But they have yet to detail how they would pursue it. The distinction might mean little to Americans who end up with larger tax bills even if their tax rates don't change. This politically tricky trade-off is about to take center stage in negotiations over how to reduce the federal deficit and avoid going over the "fiscal cliff" in just seven weeks.

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.

States get more time to work on health care plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Trying to show flexibility without slowing down President Barack Obama's health care law, the administration said Friday states can have more time to work out their roles in providing health care to millions of uninsured Americans. In a letter to governors, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she still wants to hear by the end of next week if states will be setting up health insurance markets under the law. But governors can now take another month, until mid-December, to submit detailed blueprints.

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.

Calif. city plans to provide transgender surgeries

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco is preparing to become the first U.S. city to provide and cover the cost of sex reassignment surgeries for uninsured transgender residents. The city's Health Commission voted Tuesday to create a comprehensive program for treating transgender people experiencing mental distress because of the mismatch between their bodies and their gender identities. San Francisco already provides transgender residents with hormones, counseling and routine health services, but has stopped short of offering surgical interventions, Public Health Director Barbara Garcia said Thursday after the vote was announced.