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Business Highlights

By The Associated Press

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Shoppers' habits not changed by garment plant fire

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Before purchasing a shirt, shoppers will run their hands over the fabric, look at the price tag and wonder how it will hold up in the washing machine. Some might even ask if it makes them look fat.

The one detail, however, that is rarely considered: What are the conditions like for the workers making the shirt?

A horrific fire that raced through a Bangladesh garment factory Saturday, killing 112 people, has put the spotlight â¿¿ at least temporarily â¿¿ back on those workers and their sometimes treacherous work environment.

The factory, owned by Tazreen Fashions Ltd., made clothing for several retailers around the globe including Wal-Mart, Sears and The Walt Disney Co. All three companies have distanced themselves from responsibility for the incident, saying they didn't know that their subcontractors were using the factory.

Holiday shoppers have also maintained their distance from the tragedy.

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Sandy slowed US consumer spending and pay in October

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Americans cut back on spending last month while their income remained flat. The weakness in part reflected disruptions from Superstorm Sandy that could slow economic growth for the rest of the year.

The Commerce Department said Friday that consumer spending dropped 0.2 percent in October. It was the weakest figure since May, and it compared with a 0.8 percent spending increase in September.

Income had risen 0.4 percent in September.

Work interruptions caused by the storm reduced wages and salaries in October by about $18 billion at an annual rate, the government said. The storm affected 24 states, with the most severe damage in New York and New Jersey.

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Congress looks at doing away with the $1 bill

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ American consumers have shown about as much appetite for the $1 coin as kids do their spinach. They may not know what's best for them either. Congressional auditors say doing away with dollar bills entirely and replacing them with dollar coins could save taxpayers some $4.4 billion over the next 30 years.

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