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After Christmas begins before the holiday

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  • Ohio gas prices up again to start work week

    Ohio gas prices up again to start work week

    Monday, April 21 2014 6:02 AM EDT2014-04-21 10:02:45 GMT
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Gas prices in Ohio are up slightly to start the work week. The cost for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio was averaging $3.70 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's up about 2 cents from a week ago. Monday's Ohio price is 16 cents higher than a month ago, and about 5 cents higher than last year at this time. The national average Monday was 3.67 per gallon. That's up 3 cents from last week, and it's 15 cents higher th...More >>
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Gas prices in Ohio are up slightly to start the work week. The cost for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio was averaging $3.70 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's up about 2 cents from a week ago. Monday's Ohio price is 16 cents higher than a month ago, and about 5 cents higher than last year at this time. The national average Monday was 3.67 per gallon. That's up 3 cents from last week, and it's 15 cents higher th...More >>
  • Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom

    Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:25 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:25:56 GMT
    PITTSBURGH (AP) - After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they're now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale fracking boom.That vocal support from blue-collar workers complicates efforts by environmentalists to limit drilling.The Laborers' International Union, or LIUNA, says that construction work its members do on large pipeline jobs in Pennsylvania and ...More >>
    PITTSBURGH (AP) - After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they're now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale fracking boom.That vocal support from blue-collar workers complicates efforts by environmentalists to limit drilling.The Laborers' International Union, or LIUNA, says that construction work its members do on large pipeline jobs in Pennsylvania and ...More >>
  • Ohio hog farms hit by disease that kills baby pigs

    Ohio hog farms hit by disease that kills baby pigs

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:22 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:22:01 GMT
    TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Hog farms in Ohio are reporting cases of a relatively new disease that kills newborn pigs.The state's agriculture department says it has recorded a couple hundred confirmed cases of the virus across Ohio.The disease first found a year ago causes baby pigs to become dehydrated and die.Severe strains of the virus can wipe out a farm's entire supply of baby pigs.The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently said the die-off has had a hand in shrinking the nation's pig herd by 3...More >>
    TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Hog farms in Ohio are reporting cases of a relatively new disease that kills newborn pigs.The state's agriculture department says it has recorded a couple hundred confirmed cases of the virus across Ohio.The disease first found a year ago causes baby pigs to become dehydrated and die.Severe strains of the virus can wipe out a farm's entire supply of baby pigs.The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently said the die-off has had a hand in shrinking the nation's pig herd by 3...More >>

It's beginning to look a lot like ... the day after Christmas?

On the day before Christmas, retailers turned shoppers' attention to the day after the holiday.

Amazon.com already is offering "after Christmas" deals of up to 70 percent off clothes and 60 percent off some electronics. Old Navy is running TV ads that its "after-holiday sale starts early" with discounts of up to 75 percent off. And CVS was selling a wine cabinet for $10 off at $39.99 and three fleece throws for $9.99 on Christmas Eve.

Heather Nadler, 38, stopped by the CVS in Decatur, Ga., on Tuesday, searching for stuffed animals for her children. But she still plans to hit up sales after Christmas.

"I'll probably start shopping for me at that point," she said.

Stores usually wait until after Christmas to offer discounts of up to 70 percent or more on holiday merchandise that didn't sell. But Americans who are still worried about the economy have held tightly to their purse strings this year, and store sales have fallen for the past three consecutive weeks.

The pre-Christmas deals come as retailers are feeling pressure to attract Americans into stores during the final week of what's typically the busiest shopping period of the year. The two-month stretch that begins on Nov. 1 is important because retailers can make up to 40 percent of their annual sales during that time.

Sales at U.S. stores dropped 3.1 percent to $42.7 billion for the week that ended on Sunday compared with the same week last year, according to ShopperTrak, which tracks data at 40,000 locations. That follows a decline of 2.9 percent and 0.8 percent during the first and second weeks of the month, respectively.

Stores had a problem even getting Americans into stores, let alone getting them to spend. The number of shoppers fell 21.2 percent during the week that ended on Sunday, according to ShopperTrak.

Karen McDonald, a spokeswoman at Taubman Centers, which owns or operates 28 malls, estimated that business for the week that ended Sunday was unchanged to mid-single digit percentage growth compared with a year ago. McDonald said business "was just OK."

Overall, ShopperTrak estimates that holiday sales at stores so far are up 2 percent to $218.4 billion compared with the same period last year. That's below the 2.4 percent forecast for the two-month period, but the company is standing by that estimate with a little over a week left before the season ends.

The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail group, also said it's sticking with its forecast that sales in stores and online will be up 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion.

In order to get that growth, stores have tried all they can to lure shoppers in. For instance, at the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, N.J. over the weekend, Abercrombie & Fitch, AnnTaylor and Express had 50 percent sales. Gap offered up to 60 percent off. And Steve Madden had a buy one, get the second pair at 75 percent off.

Stores, which typically don't discuss their discount strategy during the season, are hoping the sales will lure last-minute shoppers like Rubi Cuautle, 36, a restaurant manager. Cuautle headed to Target in Atlanta on Tuesday to shop for toys and pajamas for her nieces and nephews. "It's crunch time," she said

But some analysts doubt the discounts will be enough to save the season. Research firm Retail Metrics predicts December revenue in stores open at least one year, a key retail metric, will rise 2.8 percent, slightly higher than last year's 2.6 percent increase.

Ken Perkins, the president of Retail Metrics, said reports suggest that the final weekend before Christmas "did not generate the final crush of shoppers necessary to save the holiday season."

At least one shopper isn't impressed by the early deals. David Arnold, 43, who works in IT at a bank, said despite earlier "after Christmas" sales, he plans to go out after Christmas because he's been eyeing a 55-inch TV at Wal-Mart.

"For a 55-inch, the lowest I saw of a good brand name was $1200," he said. "I'm pretty sure I'll find a better deal after Christmas, I want to pay like $800."

__

Mae Anderson reported from Atlanta and Anne D'Innocenzio reported from New York.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    The Scrappers host “POPS at the Ballpark” featuring the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra

    The Scrappers host “POPS at the Ballpark” featuring the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 2:04 PM EDT2014-04-15 18:04:57 GMT
    NILES, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra are excited to host one of the Valley's premiere summer events, POPS at the Ballpark,More >>
    NILES, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra are excited to host one of the Valley's premiere summer events, POPS at the Ballpark, presented by Stanley E. Shearer with Northwestern Mutual and 21 WFMJ on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at Eastwood Field.More >>
  • Around the WebMore>>

  • GM boosting China production capacity to 5 million

    GM boosting China production capacity to 5 million

    Sunday, April 20 2014 10:52 AM EDT2014-04-20 14:52:53 GMT
    Sales of GM-brand vehicles in China should reach 5 million next year, and Cadillac sales will double to 100,000, the president of General Motors said Sunday.More >>
    The president of General Motors said Sunday that the company and local partners are boosting production capacity for GM-brand vehicles in China to 5 million.More >>
  • Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:03 AM EDT2014-04-20 13:03:14 GMT
    NASHPORT, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.Helen Felumlee (FEHL'-uhm-lee) of Nashport in central Ohio died April 12. She was 92. Her husband, 91-year-old Kenneth Felumlee, died April 13.The couple's children say the two met as teenagers and had been inseparable since then.The Zanesville Times Recorder reports (http://ohne.ws/1in7erG) that the pair married Feb. 20, 1944, and raised eight children.Their...More >>
    NASHPORT, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.Helen Felumlee (FEHL'-uhm-lee) of Nashport in central Ohio died April 12. She was 92. Her husband, 91-year-old Kenneth Felumlee, died April 13.The couple's children say the two met as teenagers and had been inseparable since then.The Zanesville Times Recorder reports (http://ohne.ws/1in7erG) that the pair married Feb. 20, 1944, and raised eight children.Their...More >>
  • Easter Bunny train sparks New Jersey brush fires

    Easter Bunny train sparks New Jersey brush fires

    Sunday, April 20 2014 8:31 AM EDT2014-04-20 12:31:46 GMT
    POHATCONG TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - A train carrying the Easter Bunny in northwestern New Jersey has ignited several small brush fires.The Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pennsylvania, reports the fires occurred Saturday in Pohatcong Township and Phillipsburg. No major property damage is reported. A firefighter from the New Jersey state forest fire service fell and dislocated his hip.Huntington Volunteer Fire Company Chief Peter Pursell tells the newspaper the diesel en...More >>
    POHATCONG TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - A train carrying the Easter Bunny in northwestern New Jersey has ignited several small brush fires.The Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pennsylvania, reports the fires occurred Saturday in Pohatcong Township and Phillipsburg. No major property damage is reported. A firefighter from the New Jersey state forest fire service fell and dislocated his hip.Huntington Volunteer Fire Company Chief Peter Pursell tells the newspaper the diesel en...More >>
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