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Holiday Season

January 11, 2013 | By Shan Li
Shares of Best Buy Co. jumped more than 16% after the electronics giant had a better-than-expected showing during the crucial holiday season. Although results for the entire fourth quarter are not expected to be released until Feb. 28, analysts say strong online sales and better traffic into its U.S. stores during the holiday season are positive signs for the struggling retailer. Wall Street responded by sending shares of Best Buy up $2, or 16.4%, to $14.21. Still, some results from Best Buy were below those for the same period a year earlier.
January 4, 2013 | By Shan Li
This post has been corrected. See below for details. Early signs point to a holiday season that was not nearly as merry as retailers had hoped. Sales were down 3.4% compared to the year before, while the number of store visits plunged 16.4%, according to a report from analysis firm RetailNext. Aside from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, spending came late into the season, the report found. Four of the five busiest shopping days fell within 10 days of Christmas, with Dec. 22 (commonly known as Super Saturday)
December 26, 2012 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
Deal-hungry shoppers headed back to the malls to buy what they didn't get for Christmas, as retailers scrambled to woo buyers after weeks of lackluster sales during the crucial holiday season. The post-Christmas rush is especially crucial this year for merchants who are hoping to make up for lost steam over the last few weeks. Analysts say the final week of 2012 may mean the difference between a cheery or disappointing holiday shopping season. "We're looking out for good sales - and to spend my girlfriend's gift card," Juan Perez, 25, a resident of downtown Los Angeles, said Wednesday.
December 26, 2012 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
Armed with gift cards, outfits that don't fit and some unexpected Christmas cash, shoppers are heading back to the malls for yet another bout of holiday splurging. LaTonya Reliford, 33, and her family will be out scavenging for bargains Wednesday. The elementary school teacher said she has started giving money and gift cards to her three children so they have more freedom to buy what they want. "We give them part gifts and part cash, so on the day after Christmas we take our kids and go to the malls," the Beverly Hills resident said.
December 25, 2012 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Spear guns, inert grenades, stun guns and loaded 9mm handguns. The holidays bring no letup in the number of real and replica weapons that Transportation Security Administration officers uncover at airport checkpoints. But finding them is more of a challenge at this time of year with the swelling volume of bags, many filled with food and novelties. Take the Christmas lights made of real green and red shotgun shells that were recently discovered in a carry-on bag at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
December 25, 2012 | By Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times
Santa Claus is really up against it this Christmas. In conversation with parents at work and parties this holiday season, I was startled to learn that some of them are rethinking the holiday legend for their kids. And not for the usual religious and cultural reasons. A few want to spare their kids the Santa traumas they suffered: being bullied for believing, the betrayal when they found out the truth. With so many multicultural families, they don't see the point of clinging to an Anglo-centric Georgian legend.
December 24, 2012 | By Alexandra Le Tellier
Got those New Year's resolutions ready? After a month or more of indulging at holiday parties and splurging on gifts, the time has come to get back on track. Lace up your sneakers and lock up your credit card or face constant reminders from bossy lifestyle publications, which will most certainly devote the start of 2013 to demanding we get back to our “better” selves. Or so they'd have us believe. Of course, there's nothing wrong with taking it easy after the holidays. The problem with the type of New Year's resolutions people typically make is that they're often rooted in guilt or self-loathing.
December 24, 2012 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
Stepping across grass-tufted sidewalks on her way to the bus, Meredith Kensington passes sparkling lights and Christmas cheer. But she can't feel the holiday warmth. She wants to spend the holidays with three siblings she cannot find. She lost contact with her sister and brother 15 years ago when they entered the byzantine bureaucracy of the Los Angeles County foster care system. She never had a chance to meet one of her half brothers before he followed them into the system, soon after his birth eight years ago. Each holiday season, Kensington renews her effort to find Marilyn and Aubrey Langston and Eddie Sanchez.
December 24, 2012 | By Melissa Hart
Two lesbians, a man with Down's syndrome and a Jewish couple walk into a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve. Sounds like the setup to a joke, yes? Nope. This is my family, doing what we've done for a decade. Separated by differing philosophies, as well as locations, we have no other tradition. I don't know who got the idea to spend Dec. 24 eating egg rolls and mu shu pork at a Chinese restaurant in Ventura. Doesn't matter. Regardless of what political and social arguments have ensued during the year, we all drive or fly in to go to the restaurant and the big round table by the fish tank.
December 22, 2012 | By Rebecca Keegan and John Horn, Los Angeles Times
You can fly from Los Angeles to Seattle in less time than it takes to watch "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. " Elite runners can finish a marathon faster than the total time of "Django Unchained. " And you can roast and carve your Christmas turkey quicker than going to see "Les Miserables. " Daily life may be swinging toward two-minute YouTube videos and brutally succinct tweets, but there's still one place where time practically stands still: the multiplex. Extra-long films have proliferated this holiday season, a consequence of "final-cut" directors who wield near unilateral control over their films' running times and digital filmmaking tools that allow for longer and repeated takes.
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