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HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Entries in Thanksgiving (23)

Monday
Nov262012

Retailers Enjoy Strong Start to Holiday Shopping Season

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Holiday sales got off to a strong start for retailers over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, with an estimated $59.1 billion in sales -- up almost $7 billion from last year -- according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

The retail trade association reports a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the holiday weekend, up from 226 million in 2011.  The average holiday shopper spent $423 this past weekend, up from $398 last year.

Turkeys were the obvious losers on Thanksgiving Day, but retailers were the winners.  The trade report says more than 35 million Americans visited retailers’ stores and websites on Thursday, up from 29 million last year.

And surprising news for those who thought that with more retailers open on Thanksgiving Day and more bargains online, Black Friday might diminish in importance.  The survey found that some 89 million shoppers hit the malls and the Internet on Black Friday, up from 86 million in 2011.  According to the survey, 28 percent of shoppers were at stores by midnight on Black Friday, compared to 24.4 percent last year.

More than one quarter of shoppers said they shopped online on Thanksgiving Day, and nearly half did so on Black Friday.  According to the survey, the average person spent $172.42 online over the holiday weekend.

The National Retail Federation says shoppers are more conscious of how they’re spending their money, with two out of three people opting to use cash or debit instead of credit cards.

Fifty-eight percent purchased clothing and clothing accessories over the weekend, up from 51.4 percent last year.  Almost 33 percent of shoppers bought gift cards over the weekend, up nearly 10 percentage points.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

The Top Black Friday and Thanksgiving Deals

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Black Friday deals are available to shoppers even earlier this year, and although there will be a large inventory of discounted merchandise, this week is not the best time of the year for the steepest discounts.

The two times of the year that offer the steepest online discounts are January to February and August to September, when discounts average 46 percent, according to Tamra Feldman, vice president of marketing at personalized shopping deals site Shop It To Me.

On the other hand, the average discount offered during Thanksgiving week is about 40 percent, according to the 150 online retailers in Shop It To Me's database.

However, shoppers have a larger inventory to choose from earlier on, so Feldman said consumers should still purchase items they love this week.  If you are hesitating to make a purchase, Feldman said, "If you're exceeding 40 percent, you can feel confident it's a great deal."

Like in previous years, many stores are offering free online shipping with no minimum purchase total this season.

Below are the best Black Friday deals offering discounts of 40 percent or more in-stores or online.  As always, it is best to check your local listings for store hours and deals:

  • Ann Taylor -- Ann Taylor has already begun offering 40 percent off full-price merchandise online with the code: THANKS.
  • Banana Republic -- Leading up to Black Friday, Banana Republic stores offer 40 percent off select styles.  On Black Friday, customers will get 40 percent off their entire purchase in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Bloomingdale's -- Save up to 50 percent off online and in-store purchases now through Sunday, Nov. 25.  In stores only, get 15.00 bMoney, Bloomingdale's reward points, for almost every $100 you spend.  Free shipping on any online order ends on Dec. 20.  Tuesday and Wednesday are also Bloomingdale's loyalist preview days online only, in which shoppers save more if they buy more.
  • Gap -- Gap's "Bright Friday" event is offering up to 60 percent off select items online through Saturday and in stores through Sunday.  On Friday until noon, men's and women's sweaters are $19, GapBody pajama sets are $19, and kids and baby graphic tees are $5.  On Saturday and Sunday, men's and women's tees are $10, GapBody pajama pants are $15 and kids and baby sweaters will be discounted 60 percent.
  • JCPenney -- JCPenney is offering its "only sale of the year" on Black Friday.  Over 1,100 JCpenney stores will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.  Black Friday deals will start on Thanksgiving day online.  Its Cyber Monday sale will start on Sunday with free shipping and deals unique to jcp.com.
  • Kohl's -- Department store Kohl's is offering 500 Early Bird Black Friday specials online from Wednesday to Friday.  Its in-store sales begin midnight on Friday.  All Kohl's shoppers will earn $15 Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent online and in stores, with no maximum.  Kohl's Cyber Monday and Cyber Week deals include 20 percent off and free shipping.
  • Kmart -- Kmart stores open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving.  Many stores will open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.  Triple door buster online sales will begin at 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and at 4 a.m. on Friday.
  • Macy's -- Macy's is opening its doors at midnight on Thursday, offering deals like 1/2 ct. t.w. diamond studs in 14k White Gold for $199, 40 percent off all regular priced coffee makers, tea kettles and espresso makers, and a free pair of high-definition headphones with any $75 or more men's or women's fragrance purchase.  Customers can also view Black Friday specials on the Macy's mobile app.
  • Neiman Marcus -- Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus is offering free shipping with the code: NMFALL. Shoppers will save up to 40-60 percent off regular prices online and in-stores.
  • Old Navy -- The first customers to make a $40 purchase on Black Friday may get a New Super Mario Bros. U Game ($59.99 retail value) for the new Wii U home console.  From midnight to 4 a.m. on Black Friday, half-zip fleece for the family will sell for $5, Old Navy Famous Jeans for adults will sell for $15, and select styles of Adoraboots for women, girls and toddler girls will sell for $12.  Sherpa hoodies and coats will go on sale for $15 to $19 from 8 a.m. to noon.  On Saturday, graphic tees for the family will sell for $5.
  • Sears -- Sears' website is listing door busters each day of the weekend.  Sears has already hosted Turkey Tuesday, offering 5 to 15 percent off plus free shipping on orders of $49 or more.  Starting Wednesday, the company will have over 1,000 Black Friday door busters.
  • Sports Authority -- Sports Authority will have 100 door busters until 3 p.m. and for the first time, most locations will open at midnight on Black Friday.  The store is offering 50 percent off all balls, Razor E100, E125 or E150 electric scooters for $99 for a savings of $50, and a Chelsea Foosball table for $159.99 for a savings of $240, plus other deals.
  • Target -- Target will open its doors for Black Friday sales on Thursday at 9 p.m.  The company also offers holiday price matching from competitors.
  • Toys "R" Us -- Toys "R" Us will open its doors at 8 p.m. on Thursday, offering door buster deals while supplies last and a free bag of toys, including Lego and Crayola products, for the first 200 families.
  • Walmart -- Walmart's Black Friday two-day sale starts online on Thanksgiving Day and through Black Friday.  The company will open its doors at 8 p.m. at most stores.  Its Cyber Week starts online on Saturday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Dec. 2, with free shipping on over 100,000 items.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov202012

Thanksgiving Travel Rush: Americans Brace for Holiday

Medioimages/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- As the Thanksgiving travel season starts to heat up, there's a double threat to air travel on the West Coast.

First, airport workers are scheduled to demonstrate at Los Angeles International Friday afternoon, prompting warnings for passengers to give themselves a three-hour cushion at LAX and an extra 90 minutes in travel time.

And second, crippling rain in Oregon and Washington expected to delay Northwest flights.

But since these are not major domestic hubs, the ripple effect of bad weather there is unlikely to spread.

And there is good news for the rest of the country: Weather is on travelers' side for a change.

"If there were to be a storm in Chicago or the Northeast you could count on mass chaos, but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case at all," said Genevieve Shaw Brown, ABC News Travel & Lifestyle editor.

New 2012 holiday tricks for savvy travelers:

Some airlines will allow you to avoid the baggage counter by tagging and checking your own bag.

TSA has a new pre-check program this year. Sign up and you pass through a separate security line, with your laptop in your bag, and your shoes on your feet.

New smartphone apps monitor security lines, so you can know how much time you'll spend on them. You don't want to miscalculate; flights are full and re-booking will be a challenge.

"It's extremely important to know how much time you actually have to get to your gate so that you don't potentially miss your flight and get stuck at the airport for Thanksgiving," said Brown.

One final tip: Leave the cranberry sauce at home. Because of the TSA ban on liquids, your turkey is welcome but the cranberries are on the no-fly list.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov132012

Cheapest Days to Travel This Thanksgiving 

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to Thanksgiving travel, all days are not created equal.  In fact, when you fly is almost as important as when you book when it comes to one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Travelocity has compiled its flights data over the Thanksgiving holiday to pinpoint which days are the cheapest -- and most expensive -- to fly.

Next to flying to your destination on Thanksgiving Day and returning the following day (Friday, Nov. 23), the cheapest date combo is departing on Thanksgiving Day and returning the following Tuesday (Nov. 27).

Want to avoid Thanksgiving day for flights altogether?  Your best bet is to depart Monday, Nov. 19, and return the day after Thanksgiving,  Friday, Nov. 23.

And to spare your pocketbook from taking the biggest hit, avoid departing on Friday, Nov. 16, and returning on Saturday, Nov. 24.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov112012

Busiest Airports for Thanksgiving Travel

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than 24 million people are expected to fly this Thanksgiving weekend -- about 150,000 more people than last year -- despite an increase in the price of airfare since Thanksgiving 2011.

And the crowds aren’t just at the airport: Expect planes to be packed. Airplanes, on average, are expected to be nearly 90-percent full on the busiest day of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

But some airports will be busier than others. Orbitz, the travel booking website, has just released the list of the busiest -- and least busy -– airports over Thanksgiving weekend 2012, based on the top 50 U.S. airports. If you’re traveling out of one of the busiest airports, be prepared to arrive early and wait on lines.

Busiest Airports Nov 21 – Nov 26:

1.    Chicago O’Hare International
2.    Los Angeles International
3.    San Francisco International
4.    New York LaGuardia
5.    Boston Logan International
6.    John F. Kennedy International
7.    Orlando International
8.    Denver International
9.    Ronald Reagan National
10.  Ft. Lauderdale International

Least Busy Airports Nov 21 – Nov 26:

1.    Buffalo Niagara International
2.    Jacksonville International
3.    Nashville International
4.    Sacramento International
5.    Bradley International
6.    Palm Beach International
7.    Cleveland Hopkins International
8.    John Wayne Airport
9.    San Antonio International
10.  Salt Lake City International

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov082012

Many Will Be Giving Thanks from Work on Thanksgiving

Siri Stafford/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  And while most people will be home spending the holiday with their families, some will be stuck in the office.

A Bloomberg BNA survey of employers finds that close to three-quarters of employers said that both Thanksgiving and Black Friday will be paid days off for nearly all their staff.  As expected, 99 percent of businesses are giving that Thursday as a paid day off.

However, 36 percent of the same employers said they do expect at least a few people to work on Thanksgiving, which sounds crummy except for that a decade ago, close to half of the bosses had some people working on the holiday.

Just over 90 percent of manufacturers will give workers Thanksgiving and Black Friday off, while 69 percent of non-manufacturers and 66 percent of non-businesses, i.e., government agencies, allow workers to stay home with pay on those same days.

While Thanksgiving gifts aren't the rule, the survey says about one in ten companies will give something to their workers as a token of appreciation.  

People who work on Thanksgiving Day generally receive extra compensation for their sacrifice.  Half of employers said they would pay overtime, while 22 percent are giving double-time to their faithful employees.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov022012

Thanksgiving Airfare: A City-by-City Guide to Prices

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cheap Thanksgiving airfare is going to be harder to come by this year than last -- 9 percent harder, according to some estimates.  That’s how much higher airfare over the holiday is this year than last, according to Travelocity.

The average, round-trip domestic fare is $386, roughly equal to what Americans paid to fly over July 4.  But not all cities are created equal.

Take a look at the chart below to find out how much the average airfare is from the top 20 origination markets over the holiday.  Then, use that number while you’re shopping for flights.  Travelocity calls it “the price to beat.”

The online booking site said you can save up to $288 by being flexible with your travel dates.  The cheapest days to fly are Thanksgiving Day, the Friday following, and Tuesday, Nov. 27.

  • Atlanta - $334
  • Boston - $392
  • Charlotte, N.C. - $352
  • Chicago - $372
  • Dallas / Fort Worth - $360
  • Denver - $349
  • Detroit - $377
  • Houston - $411
  • Indianapolis - $388
  • Los Angeles - $415
  • Milwaukee - $356
  • Minneapolis / St. Paul - $371
  • New York City - $376
  • Orlando, Fla. - $279
  • Philadelphia - $407
  • Pittsburgh - $352
  • Phoenix - $328
  • Portland, Ore. - $328
  • Raleigh / Durham, N.C. - $376
  • San Diego - $410
  • San Francisco - $436
  • Seattle - $424
  • South Florida - $300
  • Tampa / St. Petersburg, Fla. - $293
  • Washington, D.C. - $366

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct252012

Gas to Fall Below $3 a Gallon Soon?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you plan to hit the road for a long drive to see relatives over Thanksgiving, expect a little budgeting help from falling gas prices.

In some parts of the U.S., prices have dropped as much as 50 cents a gallon in recent weeks, and the trend isn’t over.

“Definitely gas prices are already falling and they’re going to continue to fall through the end of the year,” analyst Ben Brockwell with the Oil Price Information Service tells ABC News Radio.  “The U.S. average which was $3.80 just a few weeks ago is on track to go to below $3.50 here shortly.”

The trend is getting some help from the drop in the global price of oil and concerns about global economic weakness. The Midwest and Plains states may see the most price relief, to perhaps under $3 a gallon, Brockwell added. In some states on both coasts, however, a refinery shortage keeps gas prices well above the national average.

Light sweet crude has fallen to $86 a barrel -- a 15 percent drop in recent weeks. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct222012

Cheaper Gas Prices Expected by Thanksgiving

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Now that the summer driving season is over, gas prices are coming down in most parts of the country and the near future looks brighter for motorists.

“I think it’s good news for folks that are traveling on Halloween but particularly good news for Thanksgiving time,” says Tom Kloza with the Oil Price Information Service.

He says gas will drop between 10 and 35 cents a gallon by Thanksgiving, and other analysts agree.

“Supply is expected to begin increasing, coupled with an expected drop in demand which we’re already seeing.  Equals lower prices,” says Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com.  “We should see relatively smooth sailing with the national average in the low to perhaps the mid $3 a gallon range.”

The Energy Department’s weekly survey is expected to show another drop when the numbers are released later Monday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct222012

Thanksgiving Airfares Up, Flights Filling Up Fast

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you’re planning to fly to see friends or family this Thanksgiving, prepare to pay more.

On many routes, airfares are higher than they were last year and well above prices paid in 2010.

Holiday flights are filling up fast, says Jeanenne Tornatore with Orbitz Travel: “I would suggest booking by at least the end of October for your Thanksgiving, and Christmas should be soon after that.”

"We typically see the lower airfares on the off-peak travel days," she says.

Peak travel days -- the days with the highest fares -- include the day before Thanksgiving and the following Sunday and Monday.

“Over Christmas the busiest and most expensive travel days will be Sunday, Dec. 23, and Wednesday, Dec. 26,” Tornatore says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio