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On-line spending, at-the-pump spending, tiny abodes, and promotions...

From Business Today:

On Saturday we had a story about the early, early morning shopping some Holiday Shopping people find worthwhile. Deals can be had, but they are heard earned. Today the armchair/office chair shoppers have their day. Sales on Cyber Monday, a shopping dsay so named to recognize the fact that many people shop on-line while at work, are growing faster than regular store sales. This year on-line sales for Monday could top $1 billion, a 15 percent hike from last year.

Gas prices across the nation are going down a bit, but in the Buffalo Niagara region, they are going up. Retailers can spout all kinds of reasons - Buffalo is at the end of a GAS PRICES supply pipeline, taxes are higher here, etc., - but those reasons are getting old. Gas is three cents cheaper in Rochester, 60 miles away.

Small houses are one thing, but a movement in California, takes things to a tiny new level. Houses less than 100-square-feet, are Tiny Houses being sold. Don't forget to duck!

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Cigarette tax woes, bankruptcy filings and promotions...

From Business Today:

Pity the poor smokers. First we kick them out of every building and make them smoke out in the cold. Now the state has ratcheted its cigarette tax by $1.60 a pack, pushing Wilson Farms the prices of some brands to near $10 a pack. One consequence has been a drop in business at convenience stores. The stores are getting whacked by the tax hike and by the availability of cheaper cigarettes on Native American Reservations and the internet. Some stores, including the Wilson Farms chain, have started cutting jobs to keep profits up.

Western New York's slow and steady economy has weathered the recession as well as any in the country. The latest numbers showing the area's resiliancy are personal bankruptcies. They are well below the national averages.

Wilmington Trust Corp. was in desperate straits when M&T Bank Corp. swooped in earlier this month Wilmington and bought the bank at a fire sale price. While some Wilmington shareholders claim the price was too low, a recent SEC filing shows the bank didn't have any other decent alternatives.

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Starting early...

From Business Today:

For some it's the fun of the hunt. By 3 a.m. today the lines were long at the McKinley Mall and elsewhere in Western New York. The allure of door-buster deals and the fun of the chase brought out the hearty shoppers. But if you didn't get up to make the scene, don't fret. Retailers are planning sales throughout the holiday season.

Tops Markets are showing strong sales, as shown by its latest earnings report. TOPS CEO CURCI Adjusted earnings grew by 55 percent. That results was hidden by the costs of converting 55 former Penn Traffic stores to Tops stores. Store managers said sales at the new stores are growing by double-digit margins.

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On your mark, get set, shop!

From Business Today:

Hard-core shoppers and bargain hunters get it, but the rest of us are left wondering: are they nuts??
The annual late night line up for early-bird specials on Friday is at hand.Black Friday shopping FINANCIAL SHOPPING13 LEWIS  But this year retailers have set the clock back, some opening on Thanksgiving to generate more sales. Others have used the Internet to kick start early sales. But for the real shoppers among us, there's nothing like an early morning hunt.

Paddock Chevrolet, one of the highest volume Chevrolet dealers in the nation, is expanding its used-card business by buying the former Jim Doyle Ford location on Delaware. But if you're so successful Duane Paddock sports mccoy selling new cars, why expand the used car operation? Well.. used car sales generally have a higher profit margin than new cars.

The growth of the Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Amherst continues. Kaleida Health is plannign a 60,000-square-foot medical office building beside the hospital, which was recently expanded. The building will add to the growing medical corridor in the Maple Road/Sheridan Drive area.Millard fillmore surburban

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UB 2020 again, bank plans, hires...

From Business Today:

Each year the Buffalo Niagara business community produces a list of regional economic development projects that it believes will bring the most benefit to the region. For the past four years UB 2020, the plan to expand the University at Buffalo into a giant research university and allow the school to set its own tuition has been at the top of the list. UB is the greatest economic engine in the region, the thinking goes, so boosting it will bring benefits to the region. Too bad the state Legislature didn't agree. It failed to approve the plan this year.

The bankers at NewAlliance Bancshares in New England are going to see some changes when First Niagara takes over. If the takeover is approved by shareholders, First Niagara plans to move more people into positions where they interact with customers. The plan is to increase the retail banking operations. it seems to have worked in the other communities where First Niagara has bought banks.

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UB 2020, the video...

Wealth management, employer insurance, and hires...

M&T Bank may have been looking at a small part of Wilmington Trust Corp. when it swooped in amd bought the troubled Delaware bank this month. Business reporter Jonathan D. Epstein explains the attraction of the bank's very prestigious wealth management division that caters to the world's wealthiest families. It's an segment of the market M&T would like to develop, and as a fee based business poses little risk.

A new study shows that fewer workers are signing on for health insurance at work. It's a dismaying trend since insurance at work is a pillar of the nation's healthcare system.

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And just who are those new banking clients?


Jobs, more hotel rooms, getting hired...

From Business Today:

The region's job scene could be getting slightly brighter. The latest State Labor Department report shows that private sector hiring picked up in October. The increase is slight - enough to offset a drop in government jobs- but it is a step in the right direction.

 The Avant Building on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo has been an exemplar of a successful complete renovation of an existing building. It took a lot  fo public money to get the project done, but the quality of the job by Uniland Development Co. is apparent through out the building. The Embassy Suites hotel on several floors in the building is expanding to the eighth floor.

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GM's CEO on the "new GM"

GM CEO Daniel Akerson weighs in on the new GM and its status as a company.


-- Matt Glynn

Alec Baldwin and Wegmans

"30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin is showing up on TV in an unlikely spot -- in ads for Wegmans.

The actor in May made an appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman," when he mentioned his mother didn't want to move from Central New York to California because she didn't want to leave Wegmans behind.

In this Wegmans video, Danny Wegman explains how Baldwin got so much response from his comments on Facebook about his mother's attachment to the store, that Baldwin called Danny Wegman and offered to shoot an ad for them.

In one of the ads, he talks about the high price of coffee in New York City. And we know how he feels about coffee.


-- Matt Glynn





Heated debate, cutbacks and tax rebates...

From Business Today:

Public subsidies for private development have become the way of doing business in Western New York. Few projects get done without some sort of public investment, usually through tax abatements, but also through direct investment. The request for state money to help with the preservation and development of the Statler Towers sparked a heated debate Wednesday between downtown developer and former candidate for governor Carl Paladino and downtown restaurateur Mark Croce, who hopes to develop the Statler.

Greatbatch Inc., a premier Western New York company, announced it was trimming 80 jobs across the company in a restructuring. The impact on the company's headquarters and research center in Clarence was not outlined.

The IRS has a nice surprise for 249 people in the region: unclaimed tax refunds. See if your name is on the list.

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