Retailers Expect Weaker Black Friday This Year

Posted by: Chi-Chu Tschang on November 23

Some of America’s largest retailers opened doors earlier on “Black Friday” this year because they are worried that the weaker economy and high gas prices will depress holiday spending. The day after Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday shopping season is known as “Black Friday” because that’s when many retailers move out of the red or losses to black or profits for the year.

The National Retail Federation expects total holiday sales to grow 4% to $475 billion this year, down from 4.6% last year. Wal-Mart, Macy’s and J.C. Penney already issued warnings last week that this year’s holiday sales will be weaker.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, CNNMoney.com

French Strike Winds Down

French transportation workers began returning to work after voting to give talks over pension reform a chance. Paris-based public transport company RATP said that it expected 70% of Metro trains and 75% of buses to run on Friday. The nine-day strike cost the French economy up to $593 million a day.

Source: Reuters

Denmark to Hold Another Referendum on Euro

Denmark will hold a new referendum on whether to adopt the euro. In 1992, Denmark rejected the Maastricht treaty and elected to stay outside of the European Union in four specific areas: the euro, defense, justice and home affairs. “A lot has changed since,” Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. “It is the right time to take a decision.”

Source: Associated Press

French Banks Bailout Bond-Insurance Company CIFC

Two French banks, Groupe Banque Populaire and Group Caisse d’Epargne, gave bond insurance company CIFG a $1.5 billion capital injection, so its parent company Natixis can preserve its triple-A credit rating. Share prices of the French investment bank Natixis have fallen 30% since early October over fears of CIFG’s exposure to the U.S. subprime-mortgage debt crisis.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Weak US Dollar “Life-threatening” for Airbus

Airbus will significantly cut its research and development budget next year due to the weak U.S. dollar. The dollar, which fell to new lows against the euro, has “passed the pain barrier,” said Tom Enders, CEO of the European aircraft maker. “This is life-threatening.”

Source: Financial Times

Megachurches Building Malls, Stadiums to Save Souls

Over 1,300 megachurches are expanding into a variety of business interests, ranging from basketball schools, shopping malls and real estate developments, to improve their community and convert more Christians. Some huge churches are becoming a catalyst for the local economic development.

Source: New York Times

Mexican, Chinese Companies Team-up to Build Low-Cost Cars

Mexican appliance and electronics giant Grupo Elektra and Chinese auto maker First Automobile Works Group partnering up to build a $150-million plant in central Mexico, giving the Beijing-based auto company a platform to enter the U.S. market. The plant will be able to produce 100,000 low-cost cars annually when it opens in 2010.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Band Sue Makers of “Guitar Hero”

Classic rock band, the Romantics, sued the makers of “Guitar Hero” video game, Activision, for creating an imitation so much like the band’s hit song “What I Like About You” that it infringes on their right to its own image and likeness. The band is seeking an injunction to keep the best-selling Sony Playstation video game off store shelves.

Source: Detroit Free Press

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