Beat the 'Black Friday' Shopping Rush, Online

Morning Business Memo:

What would you rather do? Struggle with crowds on Black Friday morning or do your shopping online from the comfort of your home? The National Retail Federation expects more than 40 percent of Black Friday weekend spending to be done online this year. Walmart, Target and some other big retailers are taking note, giving the same in-store deals to their online customers. Nevertheless, some retail chains prefer to spark impulse purchases by offering special promotions at the mall. Discount deals on some merchandise have already begun before the Black Friday holiday season rush.

Many business leaders are clearly worried about the approach of the "fiscal cliff." The Wall Street Journal says "U.S. companies are scaling back investment plans at the fastest pace since the recession." But most consumers don't seem to be that worried yet. Recent surveys of consumer confidence have shown renewed strength. Most holiday shopping forecasts predict a rise in spending of between 3.5 and 5 percent, compared with last year.

For the first time since the recession, when most Americans went on a debt diet, consumers are carrying more credit card debt. TransUnion, a credit reporting firm, says credit card debt per borrower grew 4.9 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier. Late payments also rose. The rate of credit card payments at least 90 days overdue increased to 0.75 percent. But that modest rise was up from historically low levels. TransUnion forecasts that severe delinquency rates on cards will remain near current low levels in the fourth quarter.

Twinkie lovers, relax! Those sweet cream-filled golden spongecakes are very likely to survive. Hostess Brands, baker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and Ho Ho's, will be in a New York bankruptcy courtroom today to start the process of selling itself. "There's a lot of demand for these products, a lot of people grew up with these products and that still resonates," Hostess CEO Greg Rayburn said. The company, overburdened by debt, management turmoil and labor disputes, decided to shut down its business.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio

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