P.C. Richard turkey day closing

Farmingdale-based P.C. Richard & Son is standing firm and will not give in to the trend of retailers opening Thanksgiving night. The appliance and electronics stores will be closed on Thanksgiving and open at 4 a.m. the following morning, president Gregg Richard said on Wednesday. P.C. Richard & Son's competitors have continued to push Black Friday -- once considered the kickoff for the holiday shopping season -- earlier and earlier so that now many are planning to start sales Thanksgiving evening. But Richard called the trend "disrespectful" to employees and the public. "We feel it's not the right thing to do," he said. Unlike other retailers, P.C. Richard & Son will have its promotions all day long and will not have limited quantities of sale items, Richard said. "We don't see a need to have hourly specials and have people line up in the cold," he said. -- Keiko Morris


Storm cuts into retail sales

Superstorm Sandy combined with cautious consumers to lower retail sales in October and raise concerns about weaker economic growth and a tepid holiday shopping season. Consumers may also be holding back because of anxiety over big tax increases and spending cuts -- known as the "fiscal cliff" -- that will take effect in January unless Congress and the White House reach a budget deal by then. Retail sales dropped 0.3 percent last month after three months of gains, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Sales at auto dealers fell 1.5 percent, the most in more than a year. The storm depressed car sales and slowed business in the Northeast at the end of the month, economists said. The government said Sandy forced some stores and restaurants to close and lose business, while others reported higher sales as people bought supplies. Amid widespread power outages, online and catalog purchases fell 1.8 percent, the most in a year.

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Fed hints at new fiscal fixes

The Federal Reserve may be preparing to take further steps to stimulate an economy that remains too weak to reduce high unemployment. Minutes of the Fed's Oct. 23-24 policy meeting released Wednesday suggest it might unveil a bond buying program in December to replace a program expiring at year's end. The bond purchases would be intended to lower long-term borrowing rates to encourage spending and strengthen the economy. The hope is that more hiring would follow. Under an existing program, called Operation Twist, the Fed has been selling $45 billion a month in short-term Treasurys and using the proceeds to buy an equal amount of longer-term securities. When Operation Twist ends after December, the Fed will run out of short-term investments to sell. The minutes show support among "a number of" Fed policymakers to replace Twist with another program of long-term bond purchases.

Lawsuit over tablet claims

A California lawyer is suing Microsoft Corp., claiming the Surface tablet he bought doesn't have all the storage space the company advertised. Andrew Sokolowski, a lawyer in Los Angeles, claims he bought a Surface with 32 gigabytes of storage last week. But he quickly ran out of space after loading it with music and Microsoft Word documents. He discovered that a significant portion of the 32 GB storage space was being used by the operating system and preinstalled apps such as Word and Excel. Only 16 GB was available for him to use. Sokolowski's lawyers filed the suit alleging false advertising and unfair business practices on Tuesday at the Superior Court in Los Angeles. Microsoft said it believes the suit is without merit. "Customers understand the operating system and preinstalled applications reside on the device's internal storage thereby reducing the total free space," the company said.-- AP