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Mean figures count for flyers bearing gifts


WHAT price the holiday season? That could depend on where you’re going and how close to the average number of loved ones you’re blessed with.
Travel-wise this Thanksgiving, New York’s JFK and San Francisco’s SFO top the list for most expensive airports to fly out of – 26 per cent and 21 per cent more than the national mean, reports travel-business marketing service Sojern.
Cheapest airports? Atlanta is 33 per cent and Fort Lauderdale 18 per cent less than the mean.
Meanwhile, Christmas shoppers plan to spend $1,440 on items including gifts, socializing away from home, entertaining at home, non-gift clothing for family or self, furnishings and other holiday-related spending this year.
The number of holiday gifts shoppers plan to buy remains relatively unchanged at 13.7 on average, a figure similar to last year’s 13.4 and up only slightly from a low of 12.8 in 2011 while nowhere near the high of 23.1 in 2007.
Tell all
Most shoppers say the most memorable brand experience is not shopping or interacting with a salesperson but dealing with installation, set-up, technical issues and returns, says
The online technical help company adds that 75 per cent of consumers say they share both positive and negative experiences with family and friends, either via word of mouth or through social media.
Hack attack
Eighty-one per cent of shoppers are concerned about buying goods at retailers that have experienced a data breach, says consulting services company Deloitte, but 54 per cent will continue to shop with them this holiday season.
However, 35 per cent say they are more likely to shop at a retailer that provides education surrounding the security of personal data and 48 per cent say they are more concerned about online personal data protection than a year ago.
Car steals
Computer games company Grand Theft Auto Online now has more than eight million active users per week, which is more than it had this time last year.
New cable provider
Telecommunications giant Verizon says it is “working closely” with Frontier Communications to finalize the sale of its Wireline properties in Florida, Texas and California and to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals and ensure a
seamless transition.
Verizon has secured approvals from the federal justice department, securities exchange commission and the state of Texas and expects to close a deal at the end of the first quarter of 2016.
Tastes great
As Bud Light beer continued to struggle for sales in the USA during the third quarter, brewer MillerCoors achieved its best US quarterly performance in the premium light beer category in three years. Perhaps that’s what put some of the froth in the negotiations leading to this week’s mega merger.
Game time
Video entertainment company Take-Two Interactive is planning to launch Battleborn, a groundbreaking new first-person shooter from 2K and Gearbox Software, the creators of Borderlands, on May 3, 2016.
Battleborn’s competitive five-on-five multiplayer games are being designed to complement its cooperative story mode.
Early next year, Battleborn will be the subject of an open beta program on all computer platforms, with PlayStation 4 owners being given early access.
Automatic drugs
Retail chain CVS Pharmacies has launched ScriptSync, a new service that aligns eligible maintenance prescriptions so they can be ready for pickup at the same time.
The company believes the service will make it easier and more convenient for patients to take their medications as prescribed.
Patients seem to agree; since its launch, more than 400,000 have signed up
and now CVS is rolling it out to its mail-order customers.
Force push
Maybe Star Wars is overhyped? Soft-toys specialist Build-A-Bear Workshop says sales of its Star Wars plush dolls were below expectations, impacting overall results, for the third quarter.
But the retailer still has high hopes that increased movie marketing exposure building up to the latest episode’s December 18 release combined with its own Star Wars TV commercial will drive sales during the holiday season.
Its Minions collection, however, continues to be incredibly popular and is the top-selling brand for tweens.
Extra baggage
Airline Virgin America might have lower booking fees than its rivals but it tries to make up the revenue difference through charging for other amenities.
Virgin says it generates more money from bags per passenger than its competitors.
Faster food
Fast-food chain Wendy’s is trying to compete with Burger King and McDonald’s through technology. Customer self-order kiosks and a new mobile ordering app in roll-out markets allow its diners to choose and order their meals at their leisure.
However, rather than asking customers to try to predict their arrival time as most brands do, the chain instead uses their phones as the trigger that tells its restaurants that they have arrived so staff can prepare their food fresh.

Call to give vets your green light
WITH 250,000 US military members switching back to civilian life each year, Walmart is launching Greenlight A Vet to shine a light on the impact the veterans make in and out of uniform in communities across the country.
The company is inviting all Americans to show support for veterans through an act of visible symbolism.
Among suggestions are hiring a veteran or helping one find a job, volunteering and serving with veterans’ groups in the local community, starting a mentor-and-mentee relationship with a returning veteran, raising awareness on social media or simply signaling support by changing your porch light to green.

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