Today: Mostly sunny and less humid. Hot, with an afternoon high in the upper 80s to near 90. A Northwest wind at 5 mph.
Tonight: A fair sky with an overnight low in the mid/upper 60s.
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Suggestions for a Less Stressful Shopping Season
The 2013 holiday shopping season is set to be the shortest on record. With just 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, six fewer than last year’s 32 days, consumers will undoubtedly be seeking easy and efficient ways to still get their shopping done. In order to make the most of your shopping trips, here are a few simple tips from the professional at Hamilton Place Mall:
Have a shopping list. Taking a few minutes to actually write out what you need and who you’re shopping for can save both stress and over-spending. It will also save you time, especially if you’ve written down information such as sizes and color preferences. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips such as the babysitter, dog groomer, mail and newspaper carriers or hair stylist. This will also help you manage your holiday budget. But you may also want to have a few “surprise” gifts that are generic in case you forget anyone or someone drops by with a gift for you during the holidays.
Be comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes to keep your feet happy during your shopping trip. If possible, leave your bulky winter coat in the car.
Shop during the week rather than on the weekend. Generally, fewer people shop during the week as compared to the weekend. Also, malls are places where people socialize as well as shop. With school in session during the week, you’ll find fewer families in the mall at that time.
Shop early in the day rather than later in the day or evening. Remember the saying, “The early bird catches the worm.” The same applies to shopping. In the mornings there are generally fewer people out. That means fewer crowds, faster service and time to browse a bit more when making gift selections.
Shop with somebody. This is a good idea unless the person you’re shopping with is the person you’re shopping for! Nevertheless, time goes by faster when you’re shopping with someone. Plus, you have somebody to talk to, to share gift ideas with and to help make color and size decisions.
Make multiple shopping trips rather than an all-day shopping marathon. This will require a bit more planning, but can help preserve your strength, stamina and sanity in the long run. There are numerous methods to use in following this suggestion such as shopping for all the members of a particular family or purchasing children’s presents on one trip and adult’s presents on another trip.
Map out your shopping trip. When planning a trip, you wouldn’t dream of driving off without having looked up directions on your phone or the internet. Why should shopping be any different? If you know what you want to purchase and where you can find it, half your battle is won.
Don’t forget the gift receipt and gift wrapping. In order to ensure that the recipient can return or exchange an item, make sure the sales associate includes a gift receipt with your purchase. At Hamilton Place Mall you will find Kids on the Block gift wrap stations located on the upper level by Customer Service and on the lower level by JCPenney.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or directions. In order to make room for holiday and seasonal merchandise, stores sometimes have to reconfigure departments or sections. This can be confusing to a customer who regularly shops that store. As a result, a great deal of time can be spent “searching” for merchandise and the searching can lead to frustration. Why not simply ask a sales associate for assistance?
THINK SAFETY - One final suggestion regarding shopping – at any time – but particularly during the holidays, is to keep safety in mind at all times. Know where you place your credit card or checkbook after a purchase. Don’t keep large amounts of cash in your wallet or purse. Take in just want you need to spend and come back later. When getting money from an ATM, don’t let people crowd you too closely. When taking purchases to your car, lock them out of sight in the trunk rather than exposed in the back seat. Finally, let somebody at home know you’re going to be shopping, your destination, route and estimated time of return.
More Business News
Last Update on July 25, 2014 17:51 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rebounded in June after a May decline, helped by a recovery in demand in a key category that signals business investment plans.
The Commerce Department says that orders for durable goods increased 0.7 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis following a 1 percent decline in May.
A category viewed as a proxy for business investment plans rose a solid 1.4 percent, recovering after a revised 1.2 percent drop in May. It was the best showing since orders in this core capital goods category rose 4.7 percent in March.
The strength last month came from solid gains in demand for commercial aircraft and machinery. Economists expect economic activity will strengthen in the second half of the year, helped by stronger factory production.
DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. safety regulators are investigating whether an electrical problem can knock out the air bags on some older Hyundai Sonatas.
The probe announced Friday covers about 394,000 midsize cars from the 2006 through 2008 model years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received 83 complaints about the problem. The agency says a sensor inside the seat belt buckle might fail. This can cause the air bags to malfunction or not inflate if there's a crash.
The problem also can affect the mechanism that tightens the seat belts before a crash. The problem can happen in either the driver or passenger buckles. In most cases the air bag warning light came on.
Investigations can lead to recalls but none has been issued so far in this case.
CHILD TAX CREDIT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has passed a bill that would gradually increase the child tax credit and make it available to more families with higher incomes.
But millions of low-income families would lose the $1,000-a-child credit in 2018, when enhancements championed by President Barack Obama are set to expire.
The bill also aims to make a dent in illegal immigration by prohibiting people without Social Security numbers from claiming a portion of the credit reserved for low-income families.
The White House has threatened to veto the bill, saying it favors high-income taxpayers over the poor, while adding $90 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade.
House Republicans say the bill strengthens the tax credit by increasing it as inflation rises, and by making it available to more middle-income families.
LONDON (AP) -- Official figures show Britain's economy has surpassed its pre-recession size for the first time since the 2008 global banking crisis.
The Office for National Statistics says gross domestic product grew by 0.8 percent in the three months through June compared with the previous quarter. It grew 3.1 percent over the year, putting it 0.2 percent ahead of its pre-crisis peak in early 2008.
The global financial crisis triggered a deep downturn for the British economy. By mid-2009, GDP was more than 7 percent below its pre-recession level.
Treasury chief George Osborne said Friday's figures marked a "major milestone in our long-term economic plan."
Government critics say the recovery is not built on solid foundations and point out that per-capita GDP remains about 6 percent lower than before the crisis.
BERLIN (AP) -- German business confidence is down for a third month in a row amid ongoing concerns about the economic impact of the crises in Ukraine and Iraq.
The closely-watched Ifo Institute survey fell to 108 points in July from 109.7 points in June. Economists had widely been expecting a slight rise over June's figure.
The institute said Friday that businesses' assessment of their current situation fell to 112.9 points from 114.8 the previous month, while their expectations for the future fell to 103.4 from 104.8.
The Ifo survey is based on monthly responses from about 7,000 companies.
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's central bank has unexpectedly raised its key interest rate in a bid to stem inflation and support the currency as the country faces increasing economic pressure over its policies in Ukraine.
The bank said Friday it has lifted its one-week auction rate by 0.5 percentage points to 8 percent. The central bank cited "heightened geopolitical risks" that are likely to push down the Russian ruble, fueling consumer price inflation. Higher rates tend to support a currency but can hurt economic growth.
The rate has risen from 5.5 at the beginning of the year. That has helped support the ruble after a period of weakness, but growth is sliding.
The United States last week imposed tougher sanctions on Russia over its alleged unwillingness to help end the conflict in Ukraine.
BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's biggest airline, Lufthansa, says it and subsidiaries in other European countries will resume flights to Tel Aviv on Saturday after canceling operations for several days over safety concerns.
Lufthansa said Friday that it made the decision "on the basis of the most up-to-date information we have available and our own assessment of the local security situation."
It says flights will resume in stages starting Saturday morning. The decision also applies to subsidiaries Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines.
The European Aviation Safety Agency on Thursday lifted a recommendation that airlines refrain from flying to Israel's main airport, which it made because of security concerns after a Hamas missile landed nearby this week. However, Lufthansa canceled flights scheduled for Friday.
AIR CANADA- ISRAEL FLIGHT
TORONTO (AP) -- An Air Canada flight had to circle Tel Aviv's airport for 10 minutes after air traffic control said the conditions needed to be confirmed as safe for landing.
Airline spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said Friday Flight AC84 was advised to circle by Israeli Air Traffic Control shortly before 12 p.m. local time. She says the plane altered its course about 5 miles from Ben Gurion airport and landed 10 minutes later without incident. She did not say why.
Arthur says the return flight to Toronto departed Tel Aviv about two hours later. The airline plans to operate this evening's flight to Tel Aviv.
Flights by Air Canada and other airlines to Tel Aviv resumed Thursday after a suspension Tuesday following a Hamas rocket strike nearby.
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