NEW YORK (AP) — After enjoying the Thanksgiving turkey, some Americans hit the stores for what retailers hope will be a new tradition to start the holiday shopping season.
Throngs of shoppers lined up at Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan for its evening opening, looking for deals, and Target estimated hundreds were waiting outside a store in Jersey City, New Jersey. The competition to grab customers first is keen.
“It’s manic. It’s crazy, but it is fun,” said Maria Elfes of Sydney, Australia, who was at Macy’s. It was her seventh visit to New York but her first time shopping on Thanksgiving.
Lots of stores are offering the same deals as in previous years, like $19.99 boots that remain a big attraction, cashmere sweaters, and sheets. For some shoppers, electronics at a big discount was the draw.
“Televisions, man, televisions. Beautiful big screens so I can watch sports,” said William Junkin, a recently retired longshoreman shopping at Best Buy in Howell, New Jersey. “I’m hoping to buy two of them, and I saw they had some real good prices, so maybe I’ll splurge on some other stuff as well.”
Martin McDuffie, 34, came to a Walmart in suburban Columbia, South Carolina, for just one thing — a 60-inch television for $398. He’s been saving to replace his 32-inch TV.
“This is going to be a big upgrade,” McDuffie said.
Other items that drew crowds at the store were cellphones, bargain DVDs and video games and Hatchimals — eggs with a small, animated animal inside that hatch when given attention.
As the beginning of the holiday season creeps ever earlier, retailers have been offering discounts on holiday merchandise since late October. The start used to be the day after Thanksgiving, but many mall operators and the big stores that anchor them are sticking with going earlier.
“Most of the time Black Friday deals start the day of: Thanksgiving,” said Ashley Shelton of Columbia, Missouri, who was as Kohl’s with her boyfriend after dinner with family and then going to Walmart for a Roku and security cameras. “So tomorrow we’re not really going to do as much shopping. Shopping starts on Thursday.”
Target CEO Brian Cornell, who was at the store in Jersey City, told The Associated Press he’s encouraged by early reports from stores around the country, and cited lower food and fuel prices and a solid job market as reasons to be optimistic. “It’s really a good time to be a consumer,” said Cornell.
Hot items online and in the stores were sleepwear, Apple products and board games. Shoppers also filled their carts with items besides doorbusters, like holiday trees and high-end chocolates.
“They were up and down the aisles,” Cornell said. “They took time to shop.”
Leslie Lopez, a project coordinator from Jersey City, was pushing a cart of “Star Wars” and “Frozen” toys. Her friend Bariah Watt bought a Samsung TV for $247, slashed from about $400, but had no luck finding the white-hot Nintendo NES Classic system, originally priced at $60.
Watt says she would have paid several hundred dollars on eBay or other sites to get her hands on it. “I’m a Nintendo kid,” she said. “It takes me back to my childhood.”
But many workers complain that stores are putting profits over workers’ time to be with their families, and some shoppers vow never to shop on the holiday.
At the Walmart in suburban Columbia, Tonjua Calhoun had studied the 36-page ad carefully and planned to buy a pressure cooker, some sheets, and a portable DVD player. Calhoun, 52, also planned to go to J.C. Penney and maybe Target. But she wishes they were after-Thanksgiving sales.
“I think they ought to give everyone a whole day with their families,” Calhoun said. “It was a lot more fun when you woke up Friday, grabbed an early breakfast and went all day.”
Some stores believe it’s not worth opening on Thanksgiving since the sales are spread out. Consumer electronics chain hhgregg Inc. and the Mall of America in Minnesota are closed on Thanksgiving after opening on the holiday in the past.
The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail group, expects holiday sales to rise 3.6 percent for November and December, better than the 3 percent growth seen for those months last year. That excludes car sales, gas and restaurant receipts but includes online spending and other non-store sales like catalog spending.
This weekend is crucial to set the tone for the season. Around 137 million people plan to or are considering doing their shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey conducted for the NRF. That includes online and store shopping. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, vies with the Saturday before Christmas as the busiest shopping day of the year.
Associated Press writers Bruce Shipkowski in Howell, New Jersey, Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina, and Summer Ballentine in Columbia, Missouri, contributed to this report.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The scramble to shape his administration underway, President-elect Donald Trump’s team has simultaneously begun turning its attention to raising tens of millions of dollars for festivities related to his Washington inauguration.
Trump, who vowed during the campaign to “drain the swamp” of special interests corrupting Washington, has set $1 million donation limits for corporations and no limits for individual donors, according to an official on the Presidential Inaugural Committee with direct knowledge of tentative fundraising plans. At the same time, Trump’s inaugural committee will not accept money from registered lobbyists, in line with his ban on hiring lobbyists for his nascent administration.
Barack Obama set stricter limits on donations for his first inauguration, in 2009, holding individual donors to $50,000 each and taking no money from corporations or labor unions, as well as none from lobbyists and some other groups. Plenty of corporate executives, though, gave individually and often at the maximum amount. And he opened the spigots for his 2013 inauguration, setting no limits on corporate or individual donations.
The new details, confirmed Thursday on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to disclose private deliberations, came as Trump gathered with family at his Palm Beach estate Mar-a-Lago on Thanksgiving.
Trump’s team would not say exactly which family members joined him for dinner, although he arrived in Florida earlier in the week with his wife, Melania, and youngest son, 10-year-old Barron.
They dined with other Mar-a-Lago members from a Thanksgiving menu that featured “Mr. Trump’s wedge salad” and main course offerings like oven-roasted turkey, leg of lamb, Chilean sea bass, and braised short ribs, according to a menu provided by a spokeswoman. The dessert options included pumpkin pie, toasted coconut cake, warm brownie pockets and hot apple crisp.
It was a working holiday of sorts for Trump, who suggested on Twitter that he was engaged in trying to prevent an Indiana air conditioning company from moving jobs to Mexico.
“I am working hard, even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S.,” Trump tweeted. “MAKING PROGRESS – Will know soon!”
The company, which has announced plans to move 1,400 jobs to Mexico from Indiana in the coming years, confirmed Thursday it “has had discussions with the incoming administration,” but said there was “nothing to announce at this time.”
On the eve of the national holiday, the president-elect offered a prayer for unity after “a long and bruising” campaign season.
“Emotions are raw and tensions just don’t heal overnight,” Trump said in a video message on social media. He added, “It’s my prayer that on this Thanksgiving we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country strengthened by shared purpose and very, very common resolve.”
Unity has emerged as a common theme during Trump’s limited public appearances in the days since his stunning general election victory, which followed a campaign season in which he rained extraordinary personal attacks on his opponents in both parties, the media and his many Republican critics.
Unity would also be a theme for the incoming president’s Jan. 20 inauguration, the official said.
While Trump’s fundraising plans have not been completed, he is expected to raise significantly more than the $43 million Obama raised for his 2013 inauguration. Taxpayers cover the cost of official activities such as the swearing-in, but outside donations pay for the many related balls and parties.
Trump has focused most of his attention in the two weeks since his victory on building a White House team from scratch.
He injected the first signs of diversity into his Cabinet-to-be on Wednesday, tapping South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education. They are the first women selected for top-level administration posts. And Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, would be his first minority selection after a string of announcements of white men.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson on Wednesday said “an announcement is forthcoming” on his position, which would make him the first black choice — possibly as secretary of housing and urban development. But he also suggested he’d be thinking about it over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Trump is also expected to select billionaire investor Wilbur Ross Jr. to lead the Commerce Department, a senior Trump adviser said on condition of anonymity because the adviser was not authorized to disclose internal deliberations. The 78-year-old Ross, who is white, is chairman and chief strategy officer of private-equity firm W.L. Ross & Co., which has specialized in buying failing companies.
Trump is spending the Thanksgiving holiday at Mar-a-Lago after a week of interviewing potential appointees in New York, punctuated by announcements of members of his national security team.
He is expected to stay in Florida through the weekend.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carson Wentz has cooled off following a blazing start and already has lost more games in the past seven weeks than he did in four years at North Dakota State.
He’s still making progress.
The stats say the rookie quarterback has regressed since leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 3-0 start, but his coach, the coach he played against last week and the coach he faces this week see things differently.
“I’ve been very impressed with his video,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Physically, he has everything you want: athletic, can make all the throws, plays with really good composure. I like the command he has of their offense.
“I’m always in preference of the quarterback (who) can beat you from the pocket and out of the pocket, and he has that ability. So I think he’s a dynamic young player (who is) going to have a very bright future.”
McCarthy gets his first in-person look at Wentz when the struggling Packers (4-6) visit the Eagles (5-5) on Monday night.
Pete Carroll saw Wentz last week when the Seahawks handed Philadelphia its most lopsided loss this season, 26-15.
Wentz tossed two interceptions and posted his second-lowest passer rating (61.2) at Seattle despite two touchdown passes . But Carroll loved his all-around game.
“He’s gonna be a great player,” Carroll said on a Seattle radio station this week. “There’s no question. He’s got everything you need. He’s got great poise, he’s tough, he’s fast, he’s strong and he’s got some sense already — and he was changing plays and he handled the noise. He did a great job. He really did.”
Eagles coach Doug Pederson blames himself for Wentz’s drop in production. The No. 2 overall pick threw seven TD passes before his first pick came in the fourth quarter of his fourth game. In six games since, Wentz has only four TDs and six interceptions.
“Well, the way to get him back on track is I’ve got to do a better job with the run game,” Pederson said. “You can’t put 45 pass attempts on a young quarterback in this league against that (Seahawks) defense in that stadium. You’re doing him a disservice. But we’ve got to do a better job as coaches.”
Wentz isn’t used to losing. The Bison were 57-4 and won the FCS championship each year during his four seasons at North Dakota State. Wentz only started 23 games in college so he’s more inexperienced than most rookie QBs.
He wasn’t even supposed to be active this season, but jumped from No. 3 on the depth chart to No. 1 when the Eagles traded Sam Bradford to Minnesota eight days before the season opener.
“The experience has been huge,” Wentz said. “Every week there’s something new. There’s new outside things that happen.
“It’s hard to say if I’m better or worse. I’m playing confident. I’m playing faster and faster and I’m feeling comfortable with what I’m seeing from the opponent.”
Though the Eagles are 2-5 after winning their first three games, they’ve had a chance to win four of the five they lost.
They wasted fourth-quarter leads in two of the games and couldn’t score the winning TD despite four chances inside the red zone in the final minute of another game. All of their losses were on the road.
“I think we’re close,” Wentz said. “You see little things that add up. We’re right there. Certain plays here and there whether it’s reads or locking in on guys, there’s little things I need to learn from and keep maturing in this offense.
“It’s just executing, being smart with the football and know when to take chances, when to protect the ball and it’s something we’re all learning together but we’re right there.”
Wentz’s best attributes are his work ethic and temperament. Teammates rave about his preparation and even-keel personality.
“As a quarterback, you have to always be the same, good, bad or indifferent,” Wentz said. “Guys want to see a consistent guy in the huddle.”
Even other QBs are impressed.
“He’s got a great demeanor,” Aaron Rodgers said. “He has a great arm, but he throws the ball with great anticipation and for a young quarterback that’s tough to teach.
“He seems to have that moxie that great quarterbacks have where you have that charisma about you that you kind of raise the level of your teammates’ play.”
http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis police say they arrested a woman after she told them she injected fecal matter into her son’s IV tube while he was hospitalized for leukemia.
The Indianapolis Star reports Wednesday (http://indy.st/2gCAv8F ) the woman faces charges of aggravated battery and neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, according to court documents.
The documents say staff at Riley Hospital for Children contacted police after the 15-year-old boy developed several infections and a nurse observed video surveillance of the mother injecting his IV bag with an unknown substance. Police say the mother told them she began injecting her son with fecal matter on Nov. 13 to get him moved from the intensive care unit to another hospital floor where she thought he would receive better treatment.
The newspaper did not identify the mother.
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily on Wednesday:
Eli Lilly & Co., down $7.99 to $68
The drugmaker said a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease failed in a clinical trial.
Deere & Co., up $10.16 to $102.17
The agriculture and construction equipment maker reported a larger profit than analysts expected.
HP Inc., down $1.08 to $14.87
The printer and PC maker’s profit forecasts were weaker than analysts had anticipated.
Caleres Inc., up $4.04 to $32.49
The shoe wholesaler’s quarterly results topped Wall Street estimates.
Equity Residential, down 85 cents to $59.12
Real estate investment trusts, which pay large dividends, traded lower as bond yields jumped.
Newmont Mining Corp., down $1.70 to $31.50
Shares in mining companies fell as the price of gold continued to slide.
Urban Outfitters Inc., down $4.70 to $34.31
The retailer’s quarterly profit and sales fell short of analyst estimates.
GameStop Corp., up $1.95 to $26.06
The video game retailer’s profit was stronger than expected.
NEW YORK (AP) — If you’re looking to save a few bucks at the mall while holiday shopping, charge up the smartphone and bring these apps with you. The four apps, which I’ve been using all year, can help find you coupons, compare prices or price match. All are available for Apple and Android devices and are free to download:
You’ll need the Amazon app to try to make sure you’re not paying more than you have to. While in a store, you can scan the barcodes of items you want to buy and see how much they cost on Amazon. This is handy because many stores, including Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us and Walmart, will match prices if an item sold and shipped by Amazon is cheaper. You’ll need to show the cashier the app with the price of the item. And make sure to check each store’s price-matching rules, which are posted online. Many, for example, won’t allow you to price-match from Thanksgiving Day through the following Monday.
CARTWHEEL BY TARGET
If you plan to shop at Target, download this separate coupon app. You can browse through the hundreds of coupons or use the app to scan the barcode of every item you throw in your cart. When you do that, Cartwheel will tell if you if there’s a coupon you can use or suggest a similar product that does have a deal. When you get to the register to pay, just show the app; there’s a barcode the cashier will scan to apply the discounts. Recent deals include 25 percent off the latest “Call of Duty” video game and 30 percent off a set of wireless headphones. Other stores, such as Macy’s and Kohl’s, post deals in their apps too, so it may be worth downloading apps for other stores you shop at often.
If you like to flip through promotional flyers to compare prices, try Flipp. The app collects paper flyers for stores near you and makes them digital. You can quickly scroll through them or digitally “clip” coupons that are saved in another part of the app. And the design of the app makes it easy to quickly see the latest flyers from stores you frequent the most. This app is a keeper beyond the holidays because it pulls flyers from a wide range of shops, including local grocery stores, pharmacies and large department stores.
Open up this app at every store to make sure you’re not missing any deals. RetailMeNot lets you search by store, or you can turn on location services on your phone and have the app ping you when you’re near a shop with deals — if you’re not annoyed by alerts. For each store, RetailMeNot lists any coupons you can use either in the store or online. This is helpful because if there’s no in-store coupon, but there is an online one, you’ll know to just purchase it from the website. Gap, for example, recently had a 40 percent online coupon but none for in-store shoppers. Keep in mind that most of the stores on RetailMeNot are national chains, so if you like to shop at smaller stores you likely won’t find much.
Contact Joseph Pisani at http://twitter.com/josephpisani .