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Back in ye olden days — say, a decade ago — many holiday shoppers worried about using credit cards to buy gifts online. They feared their information would end up in the hands of computer hackers.

Turns out, walking into a store and swiping a credit card can be plenty risky, too.

Target Corp. acknowledged early Thursday that there was a massive security breach of its customers' credit and debit card accounts starting the day before Thanksgiving and extending at least to Dec. 15 — the heart of the holiday shopping season.

What Happens To Failed Shopping Malls?

Dec 2, 2013

Successful malls can be some of the most bustling places in America: enclosed commercial districts that are “people magnets,” with packed parking lots and a variety of popular shops, department stores and restaurants.

But over the years, online shopping and a roller coaster economy have turned many malls into ghost towns.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, David C. Barnett of WCPN examines the afterlife of some malls in Northeast Ohio.

Harriet Jones

Black Friday is rapidly approaching, and ads from the national chains and the big box stores are hard to ignore. But once again this year, small retailers are hoping to catch a slice of the holiday shopping action.

Traditional shopping malls took a big hit after the economic collapse. Problems at big retailers Sears and J.C. Penney — two of the biggest mall tenants — could signal even more troubles.

But malls are trying to adapt. As online shopping grows, things are getting more and more competitive out in the real world of brick-and-mortar retail.

aldenjewell, creative commons

Most of us have gone through the process of buying an automobile. It can be both exciting and excruciating. And sales are up to almost pre-recession levels. A boom caused by “more widely available credit, an increasingly aged fleet, and a host of new models.”

J Holt

As they contemplate the first anniversary of super storm Sandy, some shore dwellers have given up and moved inland. Others are still determined to rebuild and continue. One shoreline restaurant is about to embark on its second major comeback.

Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia Commons

Puppies and kittens are a big draw at pet stores. Their cuteness draws customers in and helps pet store owners make money. However, that may not be the case in the future. A state task force is holding the first of two public hearings on Wednesday on whether to ban the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy on Friday defended state borrowing that will help finance the opening of Bass Pro Shops at Steelpointe Harbor in Bridgeport. The state will invest more than $30 million to bring the sporting goods retailer to anchor the long-delayed commercial development.

Keno Gets Closer; Anchoring Bass Pro; Rail Headaches

Sep 27, 2013
Nazox / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut has been dancing around the idea of keno for a while now. The state made another move across the room to commit some spending that would help to bring keno to hundreds of locations in the state. Meanwhile, the bond commission is working to get Bass Pro Shops in place in Bridgeport, and miserable commuters continue to cope with a broken Metro-North. Read about it in today's Wheelhouse Digest.

Chion Wolf

Most of us have gone through the process of buying an automobile. It can be both exciting and excruciating. And sales are up to almost pre-recession levels. A boom caused by “more widely available credit, an increasingly aged fleet, and a host of new models.”

Chion Wolf / WNPR

We took our weekly political roundtable, The Wheelhouse on the road! We broadcast from a vacant storefront on Trumbull Street in downtown Hartford as part of the city’s iConnect project. The conversation started off with Mayor Pedro Segarra and reporters from the Hartford Courant and Hartford Business Journal joined in with their own questions for the mayor.

iConnect/Hartford

In the spring, the city of Hartford launched the iConnect program, meant to fill vacant storefronts with new businesses. It's an idea that's been tried - with some success - in cities like New Haven, but Hartford's "Pop-up Storefront" has taken months longer than expected.

Traveling Vintage: Boutique on Wheels Opens in Connecticut

Jul 25, 2013
Jillian Lyons

Burlington Mom's Products Reach Whole Foods

Jun 3, 2013

When her husband's work relocated their family to Connecticut, Ada Rios' primary job was raising her toddler. Shortly after she began to develop the skin condition eczema. It forced her to rethink her entire beauty regimen. 

Mike Baird (Flickr Creative Commons)

Seventeen days after a garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, a woman was pulled alive from the rubble. But more than 1,000 people have been confirmed dead in the tragedy.

This has renewed questions about where all the stuff we buy in America comes from.

NPR’s Planet Money has been trying to tackle this question for the last three years by making their own t-shirt.

Wikimedia Commons

When GE Capital announced it will no longer finance gun purchases at small firearms dealers, it predictably drew both praise and criticism. But the company’s own explanation of the move seemed to raise more questions than it answered. 

Sujata Srinivasan

Almost six months after Superstorm Sandy, some businesses are still fighting to get back on their feet. Pop’s Grocery, a 52-year-old corner store in Bridgeport, was inundated by floodwater during the storm. As part of her series on recovery after Sandy, WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan went back to visit.

alancleaver_2000 / Creative Commons

Connecticut residents will have to start paying sales tax on purchases from Amazon.com later this year. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the web giant has plans to site a distribution facility in the state.

Global Jet, Creative Commons

Driving through downtown Hartford, you’ll see a lot of empty storefronts, plenty of parking garages, and some impressive high rises. And while the city has a hard time getting businesses to fill the office space - now at 26% vacancy -- developers can’t build housing fast enough to meet demand.

In fact, several of those old office buildings are being retrofitted for new housing. So people are voting for downtown housing with their dollars, but is there enough retail to keep feet on the street?

Harriet Jones

While shoppers gear up for Black Friday – maybe even for the midnight doorbusters on Thanksgiving  – small businesses are hoping they won’t be forgotten in the holiday rush. This weekend marks the third annual Small Business Saturday. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

If you’re a regular traveler on I-95, the name Clinton might bring to mind the big outlet mall that looms over the highway near that town.

Harriet Jones

Franchised companies have been through very tough times, just like other small businesses during the recession, but some are betting they have what it takes to make a quicker recovery. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

This is Connecticut’s latest Wireless Zone location, in Cromwell, and it’s the grand opening day. Co-owner Matt Pensiero says for him, the cell phone business is a smart place to be.

“Maybe ten years ago it was kind of a toy, kind of, you know, something nice to have; but now, it’s a have-to-have.”

City Slighted By CEO's Comment

Jul 16, 2012

A comment by the European CEO of the clothing storeGant  in New Haven has drawn the ire of some in the city.

Dirk-Jan Stoppelenburg heads company, and one of his 600 or so stores opened on Broadway in New Haven last year. Here’s what he had to say about New haven in an interview last month:

“Only two things only ever came out of New Haven. Yale University and Gant.”

Harriet Jones

As the price of gas climbs past $4 a gallon, there’s another phenomenon you may well have noticed at the pump – the re-emergence of cash and credit pricing. It comes as some retailers renew the push for legislation to curb credit card swipe fees. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

It’s a busy lunchtime at J & A Gas and Go, a filling station on the main drag into Manchester.  And while most customers simply swipe their cards at the pump, some come inside before filling up.

“I’m getting gas – how much? -- five on two …..”

Harriet Jones

  We’re told the economic recovery is gaining pace, but some businesses are still finding it hard to keep their footing in this changed economic landscape. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on one high profile business failure in Connecticut this week.

The tills are ringing briskly at North Cove Outfitters in Old Saybrook, but that’s because bargains are flying off the shelves in a liquidation sale. Regular customer Mike Campbell summed up the mood.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now to lawmaking at the state level. In Connecticut, residents will have to do some advance planning for their Super Bowl parties. The state is one of only two that still bans the sale of all alcohol at stores on Sundays. But Jeff Cohen of member station WNPR reports, that could change.

Holiday Advertising

Dec 14, 2011
Lucky Strike

It's the holiday season! Christmas, Hanukah, Christmakuh, Kwanza, or as advertisers like to think of it, the season when they separate you from your money.

Harriet Jones

Black Friday is an established Holiday tradition, as we work off the turkey with a visit to the mall. But small, local retailers often get left out of the spending spree. The relatively new concept of Small Business Saturday is an attempt to put that right. WNPR’s Harriet Jones has the story.

Charge card giant American Express began the Small Business Saturday campaign in 2010. One year on, the concept has expanded.

Harriet Jones

Big box stores are under pressure. A drastic drop in consumer spending has gone along with a shift to making purchases online. But what does all this mean for the small independent retailer? WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it may actually represent an opportunity for the main street mom-and-pop store.

The retail industry is in turmoil. But while big box stores come and go, some things remain the same.

Harriet Jones

The rise of the Internet has changed the face of marketing for small companies.  And for some, it’s changed the way they do business entirely. In the second of our occasional series, WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on one small Connecticut business that’s gone completely virtual.

As any UConn fan knows, the business of sports is big business.  Scott Yeager is showing me round the warehouse of his sports apparel company, Husky Wear.

And the list goes on. And on.

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