RadioShack Corp. To Close 1,100 Stores, Company Reports

English: A Radio Shack store in the Plaza Cara...

English: A Radio Shack store in the Plaza Caracol shopping center on Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascensio in the city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RadioShack Corp. said it plans to close up to 1,100 stores in the U.S. and reported a wider quarterly loss after a disappointing holiday season.

Its stock tumbled 24 percent in premarket trading today and was down 11 percent at 2.42 after opening on the New York Stock Exchange.

CEO Joseph Magnacca said in statement that the store closings would leave RadioShack with more than 4,000 U.S. stores, including more than 900 dealer franchise locations. The company didn’t immediately identify which stores will be closed or how many jobs would be affected.

There are several stores in the Lehigh Valley, including stores within a mile of each other in Palmer Township.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/03/radioshack_to_close_1100_store.html

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Macy’s Exits As Lead Sponsor Of Pittsburgh’s Holiday Parade

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Department store operator Macy’s has pulled out as lead sponsor of Pittsburgh’s holiday parade kicking off the Christmas season, ending a 32-year relationship with the event.

The change was announced this morning by WPXI-TV, which said it is seeking a new sponsor to help support the event.

“We will do everything in our power to keep this parade alive, and we fully expect to,” said Ray Carter, vice president and general manager of the station, in a prepared statement.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/02/27/Macy-s-exits-as-lead-sponsor-of-Pittsburgh-s-holiday-parade/stories/201402270254#ixzz2uYsJr8AQ

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J.C. Penney Closing 33 Stores – 2 In Philadelphia Suburbs

English: JCPenney store at the Holiday Village...

English: JCPenney store at the Holiday Village Mall in Great Falls, Montana, taken March 4, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Struggling department-store operator J.C. Penney Co. announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores – including its stores in Exton and Burlington – as it tries to get back on the path to profitability.

The news raises concerns that Penney’s holiday season sales were not what the company hoped for and that the chain needs to do even more to recover from a turnaround plan that has had disastrous results.

J.C. Penney said earlier this month said it was pleased with its holiday results but declined to give sales figures, raising worries among Wall Street analysts about how the season actually fared.

Penney has 116,000 staffers and operates more than 1,100 stores.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140116_Penney_closing_33_stores_-_2_in_Phila__suburbs.html#uJtvJ5BOgUjA4UKO.99

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Macy’s To Cut 2,500 Jobs, Close Stores

Macy's logo

Macy’s logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Macy’s Inc. is cutting 2,500 jobs as part of a reorganization to sustain its profitability.

The announcement comes on the heels of a strong holiday shopping season for the department store chain.

Macy’s said Wednesday that it will reassign or transfer some workers and add some positions, leaving its workforce level at about 175,000.

The Cincinnati-based company plans to close five stores and open eight others, leaving it with 844 stores nationwide once the changes are complete.

Read more: http://www.inyork.com/community/ci_24868130/macys-cut-2-500-jobs?source=rss

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Just Born Taps Into Christmas Candy Market

Pink Marshmallow Peeps

Pink Marshmallow Peeps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When people hear Peeps, they generally think of Easter.

Matthew Pye, Just Born’s vice president of corporate affairs, said that’s why large retailers mostly carry the marshmallow treats through the early spring.

But with a candy gold mine in the winter holiday season sitting untapped after 60 years in business, the Bethlehem-based company has made a media push this year to make Peeps a Christmas treat, too.

Pye said the “Santa Hop” campaign has put a large focus on social media and commercial airtime since Nov. 25. One of Just Born’s newest additions, candy cane-flavored marshmallow chicks dipped in chocolate, has taken center stage in the campaign, he said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2013/12/just_born_taps_into_christmas.htmlhttp://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2013/12/just_born_taps_into_christmas.html

Target Still Feeling Effect Of Security Breach

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Target Corp., the nation’s second-largest discount chain, continued to reel from its disclosure last week of a huge data breach that compromised 40 million credit- or debit-card accounts during the holiday season.

Shoppers posted comments last weekend on Target’s Facebook page saying the retailer needed to reissue its REDcard credit and debit cards. There were also mentions of long waits for customer service.

Craig Johnson, president of the retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners, said Monday that REDcard usage fell over the weekend and more Target shoppers bought with cash. Saturday, he noted, was a “terrific” sales day generally, although Target transactions declined slightly.

Target offered a 10 percent discount to placate angry customers Saturday and Sunday, hoping to salvage the busy weekend.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/consumer_news/20131224_Target_still_feeling_effect_of_security_breach.html#LJ8lKkvwhgbFzz5i.99

Pennsylvania Sales Tax Solution Sought

Traditional merchants are suffering a 6 percent disadvantage over their Internet-only competitors this holiday season.

Though the Supreme Court recently affirmed the right of states to tax online purchases made by state residents, it really didn’t help small-business owners.

Online appliance sellers routinely boast they sell appliances free of sales tax and often offer free delivery on big-ticket items despite a requirement that Internet merchants collect the 6 percent sales tax on anything they sell for use in Pennsylvania, said Brian Sutton, part owner of Maidencreek TV & Appliance in Maidencreek Township.

“They do it all the time,” Sutton said. “We’ve been dealing with this for years.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131216/NEWS/312169981#.Uq8i_vRDsxI

Strong ‘Turnout’ Expected For Cyber Monday

As interest in Black Friday shopping wanes among consumers, Cyber Monday is still expected to attract holiday deal hunters.

If Black Friday was too busy or too cold, shopping from home is a option being embraced by more people every year.

Anthony Liuzzo, Ph.D., professor of business and economics at Wilkes University, said even while holiday shopping tends to be blending together and retailers and e-tailers try to capture shoppers earlier, Cyber Monday will continue as a event – albeit a virtual one.

“Cyber Monday will hold up,” he said. “When people get back the office on Monday and get to their computers, they will be shopping.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/strong-turnout-expected-for-cyber-monday-1.1593893

11/30/13 SunnyBrook Christmas Ball

Enjoy an elegant evening out listening to the Sounds of the SunnyBrook Dance Band playing American Holiday Standards and more.  *Nice evening attire – no jeans.

Tickets are $20.00

To purchase tickets, click here: http://shop.thesunnybrookballroom.net/11-30-13-SunnyBrook-Christmas-Ball-Christmas-Ball.htm

Historic Pottstown Holiday House Tour

DATE: DECEMBER 8, 2013
TIME: 2PM to 7Pm
COST: $13.00 per person

(start at The Elks Club for Tea)

CARRIAGE RIDES ALONG HIGH STREET: $5 each

FOR TICKETS CONTACT:
Parks & Rec at 610-970-6618
Sheila Dugan (PDIDA) 610-323-5400 / 484-948-6061 or sheiladugan@comcast.net

Amazon To Hire 70,000 Seasonal Workers

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amazon.com Inc said it expects to hire more than 70,000 full-time seasonal employees across its order fulfillment centers in the United States, a 40 percent increase from last year.

Amazon operates a fulfillment center in Upper Macungie Township.  That warehouse had about 2,000 Amazon employees last year, making it the Lehigh Valley‘s ninth-largest employer.

Amazon, which has about 88,400 employees, said it has converted more than 7,000 temporary employees in the United States into full-time employees so far this year.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-amazon-hire-seasonal-workers-20131001,0,3597728.story#ixzz2gVPZBw86 
Follow us: @mcall on Twitter | mcall.lv on Facebook

The Secret Studio Returns To ArtFusion 19464 For A Third Year

GetAttachment 19464POTTSTOWN, PA – Looking for a way to make holiday gift shopping easier for your children?  Then be sure to check out VanGogh’s Secret Studio, a fun opportunity for kids 12 and under to shop for special gifts for family and friends.  The studio is fully stocked with goodies for everyone on their lists, from relatives to teachers and coaches.

All items are handcrafted and range in price from $1 to $5.  The Workshop will be open Saturday, December 15 from 10am to 3pm and Sunday, December 16 from 12-3pm at the ArtFusion building, 254 E. High St.

ArtFusion recommends children come with a list and a budget.  Parents can download a simple form from the ArtFusion website: www.artfusion19464.org.  The ArtFusion elves will help the children select gifts and stay within their budget.  Shoppers will even get their gifts wrapped for free! Parents must remain in the gallery while their children shop.  The Studio is a fundraiser for the non-profit ArtFusion 19464.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center located at 254 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown.  The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages.  The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence.  ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.  The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.  The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

Reading/Berks Businesses Participate In Small Business Saturday

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right on the tail of Black Friday, as consumers shake off their turkey slumber to start their Christmas shopping, is Small Business Saturday.

American Express began the effort in 2010 and its website boasts that more than 100 million people came out to support independently owned businesses last year.

Today’s event has several area retailers celebrating by bringing consumers extended hours, discounts, special events and the like, to encourage holiday shopping at small businesses.

Brad Eastman, owner of home specialty shop E.I. Home, 4453 Penn Ave., Sinking Spring, said he was overwhelmed by the amount of people who came out for the event last year.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=430955

Vignettes Of Black Friday

With promotions, discounts and doorbusters already well under way on Thanksgiving Day itself, many big-box retailers are making Black Friday stretch longer than ever.  The Lede is checking out the mood of American consumers in occasional vignettes Thursday and Friday as the economically critical holiday shopping season kicks off.

Shoppers waiting outside Sam’s Club in Eagan, Minn., for Friday’s 7 a.m. opening clung to free Starbuck’s Holiday Blend coffee as they endured freezing temperatures and biting winds and collected brightly colored vouchers for laptops and big-screen TVs.

The biggest draw: a 96-cent Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone.  Once inside, they also beelined for tickets for the 63 Samsungs in stock, which sold out shortly after the store opened.  Customers could make an appointment for later in the day or another day to purchase the phone, choosing from three carriers, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint.

“O.K., this is my last blue for Sprint,” an employee called out at 7:08 a.m.

Read more:  http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/coverage-of-black-friday/?hp

Scranton Shop Owners Hopeful ‘Small Business Saturday’ Takes Off

Retailers hope the third time will be a charm as they prepare for Small Business Saturday, the shopping season’s celebration of small boutiques and mom-and-pop stores.

In 2010, Small Business Saturday was a nonevent for customers of Lavish Body and Home in downtown Scranton.  Lavish was busy, but no one really knew about Small Business Saturday.

Last year, Lavish co-owner Jonathan Chernes said a good number of people came to the store solely because it was Small Business Saturday.  This year, more people are talking about it, he said.

“Merchants have gotten together, there is buzz in social media, and ever more advertising on television,” Mr. Chernes said.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/local-shop-owners-hopeful-small-business-saturday-takes-off-1.1407292

Pittsburgh Ready To Light Up The Night

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police are hoping Light Up Night revelers will avoid the buzz kill of a parking ticket or trip to the tow pound.

They are recommending extra caution tonight for those who drive to the festivities.  Because several parking meters have been removed and replaced with kiosks, the temporary “no parking” signs might not be as in-your-face as when they were attached to each meter.  They recommend that visitors park in lots or garages rather than on the streets.

As an added precaution, they are urging visitors not to leave valuables like iPods, laptops or GPS devices within sight in their vehicles.

“The holiday season is upon us and there are predators who seek the opportunity to vandalize vehicles when they observe unsecured valuables left in plain view,” said police spokeswoman Diane Richard.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/city-ready-to-light-up-the-night-662359/#ixzz2CP2kXJyz

More Light Up Night info here:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/life/lifestyle/downtown-will-be-packed-again-for-light-up-weekend-662083/

Poor Economy Great For Dollar Stores

Dollar stores have evolved into a go-to spot for holiday shoppers on a tight budget or trying to get more value for their money. In contrast with the often dingy spaces they once occupied, many have undergone renovations and are stocked with a bounty of Christmas trees, wrapping paper, toys and inexpensive electronics for the holiday season. Some even carry steaks.

With the job market and economy still unsettled, dollar stores are predicted to perform robustly as shoppers of all incomes flock there to pick up cheap decor and presents. For the fourth quarter, the category is expected to post a sales increase of 4.2% or higher at stores open at least a year, according to business data firm Thomson Reuters.

Although dollar stores have attracted higher-income customers in recent years, the fallout of the nation’s economic downturn is still especially evident in the aisles of these low-cost stores during the holidays.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/la-fi-dollar-store-christmas-20111221,0,3740256.story

Reading Christmas House Tour – Centre Park Historic District

Christmas in the post-War United States

Image via Wikipedia

If you enjoy touring historic homes decorated for the Christmas season then you might want to head to Reading this Sunday, December 11th.  The 27th Annual Centre Park Historic District Christmas House Tour is from 1pm to 6pm.  The tours are self-guided and ticket are $15.00!  Tickets will be available at Centre Park, in the 700 block of Centre Avenue, on the day of the tour.  Advance tickets are $12 per person and are available at www.centrepark.org or by calling (610) 375-7860.  Advance tickets are non-refundable.

If riding in a horse-drawn carriage is your thing, that is available as well.  Tickets are $5.00.

Parking is available at First Energy Stadium and a free trolley will shuttle you to and from the historic district.

If you don’t want to tour on an empty stomach, a champagne brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Adrienne’s Inn at Centre Park.  Brunch is $25 per person (includes champagne mimosa) or can be combined with a house tour ticket for $35.  An advanced reservation for brunch is required.  Brunch reservations can be made using the phone number or website listed above.

28th Annual Pennsylvania Christmas Craft and Gift Show Starts December 1st!

If you want to shop till you drop then look no further than the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.  The 28th Annual Pennsylvania Christmas Craft and Gift Show has HUNDREDS of vendors with merchandise for every taste and budget!

In addition to shopping, there is food, entertainment, a 120-foot train display, gingerbread house building and visits with Santa for the kids!

OMG you say!  Tell me more!

WHEN: 10am – 8pm Dec. 1 & Dec. 2  

9am – 8pm Dec. 3  

10am – 5pm Dec. 4

WHERE: Farm Show Complex, 2300 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg

COST: $7, $6 seniors

INFO: (717) 233-5100 or www.pachristmasshow.com

Occupy Pottstown’s Small Business Saturday Event A Success!

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Today’s Occupy Pottstown event was not the usual demonstration or rally.  Instead, Occupy Pottstown members shopped and dined downtown from 10am until 1pm.  The emphasis of today’s event was to support downtown merchants and let them know Occupy Pottstown members are committed to shopping locally first, when possible.  In other words, walk the talk.

Occupy Pottstown members distributed literature downtown ahead of today’s event and had the support of PDIDA and many merchants.  Occupy members wore identification tags so that local merchants could see the tangible impact organizing an event like this would have.  Occupy members were greeted with enthusiasm by local merchants.

There are actually more businesses downtown than I realized.  We had no trouble spending three hours shopping.  Some new businesses have sprung up including one new store selling fresh fruit, produce and baked goods at very reasonable prices.  The group I walked around with did not have time to visit every store downtown.  That just leaves more for the next trip  :)

After today, several members have decided to do as much of their Christmas shopping downtown as possible.  Supporting Pottstown’s existing businesses will encourage other entrepreneurs to consider opening a new business in Pottstown.  I would say the four people in my group easily spent $250 downtown today.  Imagine if a few hundred people would regularly shop downtown on a Saturday!  Imagine if only 10% of Pottstown’s 22,377 residents shopped downtown regularly.

I can happily report my group was not bothered by any panhandlers while we shopped.  There were a few people “hanging around” but they kept to themselves or just said “hello”.  It was a very pleasant experience.