Holiday Shopping Digest

Editors: Here are the stories being planned for the start of the holiday shopping season.

The AP

Wednesday, Nov. 21


NEW YORK â¿¿ If the economic downturn has taught retailers anything, it's that a 50 percent off sale isn't enough to lure finicky American shoppers into stores these days. So this holiday season, shoppers will find that retailers are doing all kinds of things to make it easier for them to part with their money. They're offering free layaways and shipping. They're matching prices with online rivals. They're even opening on Thanksgiving Day. By Retail Writer Mae Anderson.

AP photos


After the crowds have shopped at big stores and malls on Black Friday, small businesses are hoping Saturday will be their day. On Small Business Saturday, thousands of stores, dry cleaners, spas and other establishments across the country will offer their own discounts and promotions to draw holiday shoppers. Small Business Saturday was created by American Express three years ago as a way to get more consumers to use its cards. Many small businesses do get a sales bump from the day â¿¿ but for some, it's part of a strategy for the whole holiday season. Perhaps more importantly, it's an opportunity to build a corps of customers who will keep coming back year-round. By Joyce M. Rosenberg.

AP photos

Eds: Will move Wednesday for use anytime.

Thursday, Nov. 22


NEW YORK â¿¿ Black Friday, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, has crept into Thanksgiving Day. A number of stores from Wal-Mart to Target to Sears are opening their doors on Turkey Day, but will Americans be willing to put down the pumpkin pie in order to start their holiday shopping a day early. By Business Writer Tom Krisher.

AP photos


FREEPORT, Maine â¿¿ Despite the flood of holiday catalogs, annual catalog circulation by retailers has actually dipped substantially, with nearly a third fewer mailed compared to four years ago. Blame a postage increase, weak economy and more shoppers making purchases online. By David Sharp.

AP photo

Friday, Nov. 23


NEW YORK â¿¿ With Black Friday, you never know what you're going to get. Some years during this annual shopping rite of passage, shoppers line up in the wee hours of the morning to get TVs. Other years, the toys are the objects of their focus. Sometimes, things go off without a hitch. Other times, there's lots of pushing and fights break out. Either way, the official kickoff of the busy holiday shopping season is always a moneymaker: It's estimated that sales on Black Friday will be up 3.8 percent to $11.4 billion this year. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio

AP photos.

Saturday, Nov. 24


TRENTON, N.J. â¿¿ Attention stores: It's OK to peek now. The first sales numbers showing how shoppers spent on Black Friday, the official kickoff to the shopping season, will be out on Saturday. By Business Writer Linda Johnson.

AP photos

Eds: Report expected at 4:15 p.m. EDT.

Sunday, Nov. 25


NEW YORK â¿¿ Will stores breathe a sigh of relief or prepare for a long, grueling holiday season? The National Retail Federation will release sales for the first weekend of the busy holiday shopping season on Sunday. Stores are hoping sales numbers will show that Americans are spending freely despite worries about the job market and a package of tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" that will take effect in January unless Congress passes a budget deal by then. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.

AP photos.

Eds: Report expected at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Monday, Nov. 26


NEW YORK â¿¿ It was big one year. Then, it wasn't. Now it's huge. Cyber Monday is sometimes the busiest online shopping day of the year, but it wasn't always. This year, comScore, a research firm, estimates that sales will reach $1.5 billion on Cyber Monday, up about 20 percent from last year. By Retail Writer Mae Anderson.

AP photos.

Tuesday, Nov. 27


NEW YORK â¿¿ This holiday season you're likely to find singer Jennifer Lopez in Kohl's. Pop music icon Madonna in Macy's. And reality TV star Kim Kardashian in Sears. Well, not literally. But you'll certainly be able to find their clothing lines in these places as more retailers look to cash in on celebrity names by carrying exclusive merchandise made by the stars. The strategy can work: After all, who doesn't want to dress like a star? But these celeb lines aren't always a hit: The stars â¿¿ literally and figuratively â¿¿ have to be aligned for them to work. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.

AP photos and video.

Wednesday, Nov. 28


NEW YORK â¿¿ Best Buy, Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart and other retailers are all offering to match the much-cheaper prices shoppers find online this year. But the retailers all have different rules. Some are confusing. Shoppers will need to be informed in order to take advantage of the price-matching deals. By Business Writer Joe Pisani.


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