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  • Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Some companies with locations in Puerto Rico, where hurricanes have caused unprecedented death and destruction and power is not yet restored in many areas, have continued paying their employees despite store closures.TJX, the parent company of T.J. Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshalls, has continued to pay employees based in Puerto Rico, even though some locations remain closed.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday as investors worried about delays in corporate tax cuts.The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 39.73 (-0.17 percent) to finish at 23,422.21.The Nasdaq gained 0.89 (+0.01 percent) to close at 6,750.94, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,582.30, down 2.32 (-0.09 percent) from its open.Crude oil prices were about 0.5 percent lower at $57 per barrel.Winners and Losers:  Shares of J.C. Penney soared 14.65 percent after an earnings beat and same-store sales that were double what investors expected in the third-quarter.Health and medical companies were in the red-- medical device-maker Medtronic's stock fell 1.83 percent and Baxter International tumbled 2.06 percent.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- It’s that time of year again: the biggest shopping day of the year.No, it’s not Black Friday. It’s China’s Singles Day, which falls on Nov. 11 every year.The online flash sale binge on China’s mammoth e-commerce giants, like Alibaba’s Tmall.com and its rival JD.com, begins at midnight Friday China local time and lasts for 24 hours.For a few years now, Singles Day sales have far surpassed its U.S. counterparts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- combined.Last year, Americans spent a record $12.8 billion online between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, according to analytics firm Adobe Digital Imprints. Impressive until you compare it to the $17.6 billion in sales generated by Chinese consumers in a single 24-hour period during 2016’s Singles Day.This year, Citigroup told Bloomberg that Singles Day sales are expected to exceed $23 billion. That’s more than the gross domestic product of Iceland in 2016.So what’s it all about?Singles Day is China’s anti-Valentine’s Day -- known as “Bare Sticks Day” or “Bare Branches Day” in Chinese -- because the date "11/11" looks like bare branches and "one" is the loneliest number.Legend has it Singles Day began in the early 1990s in the dorm rooms of Nanjing University, one of China’s oldest and most prestigious universities, when a group of single friends bemoaned the lack of significant others and decided to mark the day by organizing activities as a group of singles and soothing their loneliness by buying themselves a gift.It was originally known as Bachelor’s Day, but soon became an unofficial day for all of China’s youth to celebrate -- or at least feel OK -- about being single.Then in 2009, sensing a lull between the sales period of China’s National Day on Oct. 1 and Chinese New Year in late January or early February, Alibaba’s Jack Ma saw an opening: retail therapy to soothe lonely hearts.The first year did only $7.5 million in sales, but just five years later, that record was broken in 12 hours.What’s up this year?The Countdown GalaThe countdown toward Singles Day has become a cultural event. Each year Alibaba holds a slickly produced live-streamed and televised countdown gala that has become more and more extravagant. The event held on the evening on Nov. 10 is basically a warm-up act until the flash sales go live at the stroke of midnight.This year’s gala is set to features appearances by the likes musicians Pharrell Williams and Jessie J, basketball star LeBron James and tennis player Maria Sharapova. Alibaba’s Ma, a tai chi aficionado, is set unveil a short film starring himself performing martial arts alongside Jet Li, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"’s Donnie Yen and Thailand’s Tony Jaa.Unlimited alcohol supply?Vendors are also getting creative to cut through the competition. The Chinese liquor brand Jiang Xiao Bai is offering an enticing deal for those who have an insatiable craving for the strong distilled Chinese spirit know as baijiu. As of this writing, Jiang Xiao Bai is offering 28 limited sets of a "lifetime supply" of baijiu for ¥11,111 ($1,672). The pictures of the bottles are wrapped with the words "This liquor is your partner for life."If you buy their Singles Day set, the company will send you 12 3.4-ounce bottles a month until you die of natural causes, or liver failure. It appears they have taken that into account. The purchase agreement the company is circulating online says that within five years of purchase you can transfer the supply to a family member in the event of the original purchaser’s death.The agreement also says that if the company folds anytime within 30 years of the purchase then the lifetime supply will be voided.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gen Zers are becoming a larger part of the shopping scene and could be driving more sales online this holiday shopping season, a survey done by Deloitte reveals.Gen Zers and millenials are planning to spend 61 percent and 58 percent, respectively, of their budget online while Baby Boomers predict spending 48 percent of their budget online, according to the survey."What’s happening is more and more consumers are comfortable with shopping online. Millennials are becoming more important [in the retail industry] and even Gen Xers are getting their own spending power," Marshal Cohen, the chief industry analyst at The NPD Group, a retail industry analyst firm, told ABC News.These numbers are relative to household incomes, but overall this holiday season is expected to see a boom in e-commerce unlike past years as online sales shift to becoming the preferred shopping destination, with 55 percent planning to shop online.Forty-four percent of respondents said they plan to shop in-store.The remaining respondents plan on shopping through print catalogs and direct mail promotions.Last year, Deloitte's survey showed an even split at 47 percent preference between the both online and store, making this year the first that online is seen as the preferred option to visiting a local mall or boutique.“In past holiday retail surveys, we would point out that consumers were combing the internet for deals, comparing prices and looking for recommendations. But when it came time to make the transaction, shoppers would hit the stores,” reported Deloitte in the 2017 survey results. This year, that may not be the case.Additionally, the timing of when consumers decide to buy also plays a role in where they are shopping, Cohen said.“All the energy of the retail goes toward getting the consumer to shop sooner ... the retailer tries to move the holiday earlier,” explained Cohen, citing that online shopping changes the way people view Black Friday, as it is not the only time of the year to get the lowest prices. For example, Amazon Prime Day falls in July and is full of a day of deals.Another reason Cohen said gives online shopping a competitive draw over in-store options is the lack of desire to spend time inside of those stores, but he said the products consumers are shopping for also dictate whether or not they’ll want to go to stores.Electronics and toys are the largest product groups that are purchased online, while apparel, accessories and impulse items are not as strong in the online shopping sphere, said Cohen.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street closed mostly in the red on Tuesday despite the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching a new record.The Dow gained 8.81 (+0.04 percent) to finish at 23,557.23.The Nasdaq slid 18.65 (-0.27 percent) to close at 6,767.78, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,590.64, down 0.49 (-0.02 percent) from its open.Crude oil prices were little changed at $57 per barrel.Winners and Losers:  Shares of travel companies fell on earnings misses. Priceline sunk 13.52 percent and competitor TripAdvisor tumbled 23.22 percent.Weight Watchers soared 13.55 percent on a third-quarter earnings report that beat investors' expectations. Oprah Winfrey's investment in the company has paid off-- she's made about $300 million over two years.
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