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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 27, 2006

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Early surge in holiday spending

By Advertiser News Services

U.S. shoppers spent 18.9 percent more over the Thanksgiving weekend than last year, kicking off holiday gift buying with purchases of wide-screen televisions and clothes, the National Retail Federation said.

Consumers spent an average $360.15 each over the weekend, up from $302.81 a year earlier, the NRF said yesterday in a statement. More than 140 million people shopped this weekend, down from 145 million last year.

Retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sears Holding Corp. offered discounts on toys and electronics to lure in customers and start off the holiday selling season. The industry counts on the last quarter of the year to generate one-third of its annual profit.


TOYOTA, NISSAN, HONDA SHARES FALL

TOKYO Shares of Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., Japan's three biggest automakers, fell after the dollar declined to a three-month low against the yen, reducing the value of the companies' overseas sales.

Toyota shares fell as much as 1.6 percent to 6,780 yen today in Tokyo. Nissan shares dropped as much as 1.4 percent to 1,376 yen and Honda fell as much as 3.2 percent to 3,930 yen.

Toyota, Nissan and Honda are boosting production in the U.S., where the companies generate as much as 70 percent of their annual operating profit. A weaker dollar reduces repatriated earnings for Japan's exporters as the value of dollar-denominated sales drop when converted into yen.


BANK OF AMERICA NASCAR'S BANK

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Banking on NASCAR fans' sponsor loyalty to drive more retail business to their ATMs and branches, Bank of America has signed a five-year deal as the official bank of the popular stock-car series.

The bank shared details of the agreement before today's public announcement.

The multiyear deal greatly expands Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp.'s sponsorship of stock car racing, while also marking a change in how NASCAR lines up sponsors. NASCAR has begun to reduce its sponsor base by consolidating deals and seeking opportunities to cover entire industries in one deal.