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Retail sales edge up 0.2% in November, below forecasts

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Retail sales rose 0.2% in November, following a 0.6% advance in October that was more than initially reported, according to figures released Tuesday by the Commerce Department in Washington. The November increase was the slightest gain in five months. Economists projected a 0.6% November increase, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Purchases excluding automobiles also rose 0.2%.

"Sales are growing, but they just aren’t accelerating," said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York, in a Bloomberg report."There have been some real slight hints of improvement in the labor market, but until we get sustained growth in income, spending is going to be moderate."

Seven of 13 major categories showed gains last month, led by a 2.1% jump at electronics and appliance stores. Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores increased 0.5%. On the down side, sales at food and beverage stores fell 0.2% in November.

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NPD: Toys top holiday wish lists

BY CSA STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Still looking for the perfect present for the kids in your life? According to The NPD Group, you can’t go wrong with toys. The research firm found that among children ages 0 to 14, "toys" was the response given by 44% of caregivers when asked the question,"What is on your child’s wish list for the upcoming holiday season?"

Other items on children’s wish lists include consumer electronics (11%), video games (10%), apparel and accessories (9%), video game system hardware (5%) and sporting gear (4%).

When it comes to toys, most children are looking to open presents containing Lego, Barbie, Transformers, American Girl, and Thomas & Friends products. In the CE category, laptops, cell phones, iPad and iPod were most desired.

NPD expects Fijit Friends, Kindle Fire, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" and InnoTab to be among the most popular new brands or items this year.

For video games, top hardware systems on kids’ wish lists include Nintendo 3DS, Wii and PS3, NPD reported. Besides the specific hardware systems mentioned, other video game items mentioned most often by name include the Kinect for the Xbox 360, and the games "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," "Spyro Skylanders" and "Madden NFL 12."

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Best Buy Q3 profit down 29%

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Best Buy says its third-quarter net income fell 29% $154 million, from $217 million in the year-ago period, worse than analysts had expected. The retailer’s profits were hurt by declining sales in some categories, plus a $150 million one-time charge associated with the planned closing of 11 big-box stores in the United Kingdom.

Total company revenue rose 1.7% to $12.1. Same store sales rose 0.3%.

Best Buy had 20% growth in online sales and 9% growth in mobile phone revenue in the United States, along with brisk sales in tablets, appliances, e-readers and movies. But it suffered declines in TVs, digital imaging and gaming.

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