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Business Digest: 'Black Friday' sales being pushed sooner

Christina Dontcheva shops with her daughter at Sears in Chicago.
Christina Dontcheva shops with her daughter at Sears in Chicago. (Charles Rex Arbogast/associated Press)

Retailers have been champing at the bit to go after Christmas sales this year. Price warfare has already erupted for sales of books and toys. Wal-Mart began slashing prices on holiday staples and gifts last week, discounting a popular skateboard-cum-snowboard called the RipStick by 27 percent, to $49. Toys R Us unveiled its plan to open 80 temporary stores across the country back in September

Sears spokeswoman Natalie Norris-Howser said many Sears customers had asked for Black Friday-style sales without the day-after-Thanksgiving crowds. In addition, the retailer and its sister company, Kmart, have been heavily promoting layaway this year, and the early start gives shoppers a chance to pay for their gifts over time.

-- Ylan Mui


CIT Group gets $4.5 billion loan

CIT Group, one of the nation's largest lenders to small and mid-size businesses, said it received $4.5 billion in credit from lenders and bondholders as it tries to avoid collapse.

Jeffrey M. Peek, CIT's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement that the loan will help the company serve customers as it progresses through an ongoing restructuring plan.

CIT Group is asking bondholders to swap their debt for stock and new debt that matures later. It is trying to reduce its near-term debt maturities by $5.7 billion.

If CIT collapses, it could further hurt an economy -- and especially a retail industry -- trying to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. CIT Group is a short-term financier to about 2,000 vendors that supply merchandise to 300,000 stores, according to the National Retail Federation.

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