Nov. 7 - Summary of business headlines: U.S. poverty hits a record, according to Census bureau; Best Buy alters international, mobile strategy; Barnes and Noble enters tablet market with Nook; U.S. stocks rise despite European uncertainties. Conway Gittens reports.
A record 49.1 million Americans are now living in poverty, according to new data from the Census Bureau, which takes into account wages and expenses. The official benchmark, at 46.2 million, only looks at income. With costs factored in, elderly people with high medical expenses fare the worst. Best Buy is once again scaling back its international expansion. It is paying $1.3 billion to buy out mobile phone partner Carphone Warehouse Group, and scrapping plans for a chain of megastores across Europe. Mobile phones have been a bright spot for Best Buy as its struggles with lower demand for flat panel TVs and increased competition from online retailers. Barnes & Noble unveiled the Nook tablet. The device has more memory than the recently launched Amazon Kindle Fire, but also costs more, at $249. The device has a 7-inch screen and is shipped with Netflix and Hulu video offerings, and has another advantage, says Aaron Shapiro, author of the book: "Users not Customers." SOUNDBITE: AARON SHAPIRO, AUTHOR, USERS NOT CUSTOMERS/CEO, HUGE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Fundamentally consumers want to feel and touch technology. The Apple stores is a real proof of the power of having a physical store and allowing people to touch and hold the device and talk to experts. And Barnes and Nobles can now do the same thing with all of their stores. It has the potential to be a real competitive advantage against the Kindle Fire." On Wall Street, stocks erased early losses, sending the Dow back above 12,000. In Europe, markets slipped as investors keep watch for political changes in Greece and potential political changes in Italy. Conway Gittens, Reuters