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BUSINESS
December 26, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu and Ricardo Lopez
The crush of last-minute online shopping that stymied Christmas deliveries for thousands of people served as a harsh lesson to retailers and shippers: The ever-exploding number of Internet orders is making on-time distribution more difficult. Though cybershopping still is a small part of overall retail sales, companies eager to lure customers to the new frontier are adding to the pressure by touting same-day delivery options in many areas. But the difficulties that FedEx Corp.
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BUSINESS
December 25, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
With her papier-mache cowhide pants and bright red hat, the piñata replica of cowgirl Jessie from "Toy Story" was nearly perfect. Except it was too small. The next store didn't have Jessie's companion, Woody, so Jovanny Beltran walked out. Despite having only two hours to shop, Beltran wasn't worried. If there was a place to be picky about piñatas, this was it. The downtown Los Angeles piñata district, with its menagerie of papier-mached princesses and superheroes, is easy to miss if you don't know what you're looking for. Still, hundreds flock every day to the area around East Olympic Boulevard and South Central Avenue in search of the perfect creation to pummel.
BUSINESS
December 23, 2013 | David Lazarus
Spoiler alert: There's a really good chance you'll get a gift card for Christmas. That's not a news flash from the North Pole. It comes instead from the National Retail Federation, which estimated in a recent report that more than 80% of shoppers will be including the plastic gift cards inside greeting cards this holiday season. The average person will spend about $163 on gift cards, the group's survey found. That's up 4% from last year and represents the highest average amount since the retail association began tracking such things 11 years ago. Total spending on gift cards this season will reach about $30 billion, the group said.
BUSINESS
December 22, 2013 | By James Barragan
Like millions of Americans, Jessica Hamilton of Pasadena will buy her friends and family a handful of gift cards this holiday season, drawn by their convenience. Yet Hamilton, who carries reusable bags when she goes shopping, is bothered by the thought of all of that plastic ending up in landfills along with worn-out hotel key cards, credit cards and the like. In 2012, the global card industry produced 33 billion cards, according to the International Card Manufacturers Assn. Most of those cards contained polyvinyl chloride, a plastic that contains pollutants that are harmful to the environment and is slow to decompose.
BUSINESS
December 21, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
In store after store, signs trumpeted 50%-off deals, buy-one-get-one-free promotions and free gift cards with purchases. Shoppers scuttled past holiday decorations with bags hanging from their hands to their elbows. A little girl at Old Navy begged her mother to ask Santa to buy her three glittery plastic bracelets in different colors. Black Friday? Try Super Saturday. The start of the last weekend before Christmas is indisputably one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
BUSINESS
December 20, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Instead of basking in holiday cheer, Target Corp. is spending the crucial shopping days before Christmas dealing with probes from several state attorneys general, infuriated social media comments and customer lawsuits over a massive data breach. In a rough year for retail, when consumers are already hesitant to splurge, the fiasco is fast becoming a nightmare. "There's never a good time for this to happen," said Charles O'Shea, an analyst with Moody's Investors Service. "But if there's a worse time than during the holidays, I'd like to know what it is. " Target - one of the country's largest retailers - is facing accusations that it waited too long in disclosing that its system had been hacked, exposing some 40 million of its customers' credit and debit card accounts.
BUSINESS
December 19, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Trinkel De La Paz, 24, loves this holiday's deep discounts because they're enabling her to be a more generous Santa. To herself, that is. The Silver Lake graphic designer bought herself an iPad mini and some clothes discounted on Cyber Monday, and she's not done. De La Paz said she feels free to splurge on herself because she has extra money from a recently landed job, a new apartment waiting to be spruced up and only one present to buy for her family's Secret Santa exchange.
BUSINESS
December 19, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu, Walter Hamilton and Chris O'Brien
As millions of bargain-crazed customers swarmed through Target stores on Black Friday, one of the most audacious heists in retail history was quietly underway. A band of cyberthieves pilfered credit and debit card information from the giant retailer's customers with pinpoint efficiency as shoppers bought discounted sweaters and electronic gear on the unofficial launch of the holiday shopping season. By the time the scheme was discovered, the unidentified hackers had made off with financial data of 40 million Target customers over a 21/2-week period.
BUSINESS
December 18, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
With a week to go before Christmas, retailers are in full battle mode, with many unveiling plans to keep their stores open for marathon stretches to give last-minute gift buyers every opportunity to spend. Toys R Us will throw its doors wide starting at 6 a.m. Dec. 21 - the consumption craze known as Super Saturday - and won't wrap up until 9 p.m. Christmas Eve. During that 87-hour spree, the chain also will tempt customers with price-matching programs, a constant cycle of inventory updates and discounts on hot items such as the Furby Boom toy. In New York's Times Square, the Toys R Us store has been open since 8 a.m. Dec. 1 and will remain operational through 10 p.m. on Dec. 24 in an unprecedented 566-hour run. Then there's Kohl's, whose doors will stay unlocked for more than 100 straight hours for the first time.
BUSINESS
December 16, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Fewer than 10 days remain until Christmas, and retailers are trying to make the most of the holiday crunch time by luring online shoppers with free delivery offers. Wednesday is Free Shipping Day, a last-minute consumption craze initiated in 2008 by entrepreneur Luke Knowles. Organizers say it's the last day for shoppers to order gifts online and have them sent - for free - by Christmas Eve. This year, more than 750 retailers have signed up to participate. Major names - REI, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and J.C. Penney, among them - are included, as are a slew of small Main Street vendors.
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