Cyber Monday online shopping expected to break holiday records

Nov. 30 (UPI) — Online holiday shoppers are expected to break Cyber Monday records with $12.7 billion worth of potential sales and many shoppers using their smartphones to buy and ship gifts, Internet analysts said.

Shoppers avoiding in-person shopping during the pandemic are rushing to have packages delivered from online stores like Amazon.com, Target and Walmart, ringing up about $189 billion over the holiday season, according to Adobe Analytics’s Holiday Forecast. Sales will be 33% higher than last year, the company predicts.

More than 40% of online shopping will be done on smartphones, up 55% from last year, Adobe predicted. Buyers will purchase $28 billion more in items with their phones than last year, the Internet analytic team said.

Even as Black Friday crowds in retail stores the day after Thanksgiving were muted due to health concerns of the coronavirus, buyers were still online, consumers still spent $6.3 million per minute online, or $27.50 per person, Adobe found.

Cyber Monday is on track to break all previous records for online sales,” Taylor Schreiner, the director at Adobe Digital Insights, told CNBC in a statement. Shoppers will look for discounted toys, TVs and computers, Schreiner said.

But items ordered on Tuesday, Dec. 1 will take advantage of the “golden day” for shipping, Adobe predicted.

Shopping should peak between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, the L.A. Times reported.

Shoppers will spend for the holidays even though their economic situation may be more precarious, predicted Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Federation of Retailers.

“Consumers have experienced a difficult year but will likely spend more than anyone would have expected just a few months ago,” Kleinhenz said in a statement earlier in November.

“After all they’ve been through, we think there’s going to be a psychological factor that they owe it to themselves and their families to have a better-than-normal holiday.”

The trade association said that shoppers already started holiday shopping in early November, with almost 60% of surveyed shoppers getting started early, a 21% increase from a decade ago.

But a Gallup poll released Wednesday said that shoppers were planning to buy slightly less this holiday season compared to 2019. In a survey of 1,000 people, respondents said they intend to spend an average of $852 on holiday gifts, less than the $942 average Americans spent on gifts last year.

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Gaming Accessories Market On Track To Break $6 Billion By 2024

Self-isolation orders created surge in gaming peripherals in 2020

The gaming accessories market continues to climb, on track to achieve 21% volume growth in 2020, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting.

“There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has made a significant positive contribution to the gaming landscape this year,” Morris Garrard, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting said in a statement. “Yet consumer interest was already rising, and the pandemic has simply applied an additive effect. Self-isolation orders created a surge in gaming peripherals, not only for gaming purposes, but also for use when working from home. All of this combined activity across gaming headsets, speakers, keyboards and mice will result in shipments of 97.8 million units, generating a retail value of $4.2 billion by year end.”

Headsets lead the way in Gaming Audio
With over 40% of the worldwide gaming accessories retail market value, gaming headsets account for the lion’s share of the market, with Futuresource forecasting 26% year-on-year volume growth in 2020. However, price sensitive, non-gaming consumers opted for entry-level models during the demand spike in H1, resulting in volume outstripping the growth in retail value this year.

“When it comes to features, spatial audio is the one to watch,” says Garrard. “It delivers cinema-like surround sound and 3D audio to headphones. Its promotion as a gaming headset USP as well as inclusion in next generation console hardware will drive consumer awareness and uptake. Sony is delivering its proprietary service ‘Sony 360 Reality Audio’, whereas Microsoft offers a choice of Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Windows Sonic on the Xbox Series X and S.”

Looking at brands, the top four gaming headset players, Turtle Beach, Logitech G, Hyper X and Razer, dominated in terms of worldwide volumes in H1 2020, capturing nearly two in every three dollars of overall consumer spend.

Gaming speakers remain a niche category. With high ASPs and a lack of communication functionality, Futuresource expects to see a decrease in consumer demand in 2020, as price sensitive consumers opt for more versatile headset options.

Keyboards Deliver the Edge
Futuresource expects the gaming keyboard market to grow by 17% in volume terms in 2020. Although working from home has bolstered the growth of gaming keyboard demand, many employees are typically using laptops, so the impact has been less drastic than that seen in the headsets vertical.

“An aftermarket gaming keyboard offers gamers a significant number of advantages when compared with a standard multipurpose PC keyboard,” says Garrard. “The major benefit is reduced input latency, giving the gamer crucial extra milliseconds in-game, which provides a discernible competitive advantage. In addition, a high proportion of gaming keyboards feature mechanical switches rather than membrane connections, which are more common in non-gaming keyboards. These switches offer greater customizability in terms of optimizing input response times and minimizing finger fatigue. Gaming keyboards typically also feature customizable RGB lighting, which can aid in game immersion through synchronizing lighting effects with game audio.”

Feature-Rich Mice Commanding High

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Police break up West Sumatra wedding reception, cite protocol violation – Tue, November 24 2020

The Limapuluh Kota Police in West Sumatra have disbanded a public wedding reception held for the child of local Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Joni Amir, alleging a violation of COVID-19 protocols.

The reception, which began at 10 a.m. on Saturday at a public ballroom in the Payakumbuh Agricultural Polytechnic complex, attracted at least 2,000 guests, according to the police.

Limapuluh Kota Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Trisno Eko Santoso said the police had no choice but to disperse the crowd over fears of a new COVID-19 infection cluster.

He expressed dismay over the reception, noting that he had told Joni not to organize the event a few weeks prior.

“About three weeks ago, Joni visited my home, and I told him that a wedding reception was strictly prohibited. Only the actual nuptials are allowed,” Trisno said on Saturday, as quoted by kompas.com.

He added that he had immediately deployed his personnel after receiving reports that the public event was being held as planned.

“We asked the event organizers to [take down] the wedding tent and close the building entrance,” he said, adding that his office was committed to treating everyone equally under the law.

Joni, his wife Yurleni and the reception organizer Refan were later summoned by the police for questioning regarding the protocol violation.

In addition, Limapuluh Kota Police general crimes division head Nofrizal Chan said his office would summon several witnesses to determine whether the protocol violation constituted a crime.

The police were certain that the event was held without a crowd permit, he said.

“We’re still developing [the case]. Several witnesses will be [summoned for questioning],” Nofrizal said.

As of Saturday, West Sumatra had confirmed 18,593 COVID-19 cases and 351 deaths linked to the disease. (rfa)

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Police break up W. Sumatra wedding reception, citing protocol violation – National

The Limapuluh Kota Police in West Sumatra have disbanded a public wedding reception held for the child of local Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Joni Amir, alleging a violation of COVID-19 protocols.

The reception, which began at 10 a.m. on Saturday at a public ballroom in the Payakumbuh Agricultural Polytechnic complex, attracted at least 2,000 guests, according to the police.

Limapuluh Kota Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Trisno Eko Santoso said the police had no choice but to disperse the crowd over fears of a new COVID-19 infection cluster.

He expressed dismay over the reception, noting that he had told Joni not to organize the event a few weeks prior.

“About three weeks ago, Joni visited my home, and I told him that a wedding reception was strictly prohibited. Only the actual nuptials are allowed,” Trisno said on Saturday, as quoted by kompas.com.

He added that he had immediately deployed his personnel after receiving reports that the public event was being held as planned.

“We asked the event organizers to [take down] the wedding tent and close the building entrance,” he said, adding that his office was committed to treating everyone equally under the law.

Read also: Police break up wedding reception in Bekasi amid COVID-19 concerns

Joni, his wife Yurleni and the reception organizer Refan were later summoned by the police for questioning regarding the protocol violation.

In addition, Limapuluh Kota Police general crimes division head Nofrizal Chan said his office would summon several witnesses to determine whether the protocol violation constituted a crime.

The police were certain that the event was held without a crowd permit, he said.

“We’re still developing [the case]. Several witnesses will be [summoned for questioning],” Nofrizal said.

As of Saturday, West Sumatra had confirmed 18,593 COVID-19 cases and 351 deaths linked to the disease. (rfa)

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Covid Lockdown Shopping Habits Are Hard to Break

The continued propensity for stock-up behavior was also evident in the strong results at Walmart’s Sam’s Club chain, where comparable sales were up 11.1% from a year earlier. The company said it saw “high teens” growth in the warehouse club’s fresh and frozen departments, as well as “low 20%” growth in the category that includes laundry and paper goods. With its large pack sizes, it makes sense that Sam’s would be a beneficiary in a moment when shoppers are trying to make less-frequent store visits.  

Meanwhile, analysts had expected a 17.4% increase in comparable sales at Home Depot Inc., a figure that would’ve represented robust growth, but would have been a slowdown from the booming 23.4% surge it recorded on this measure in the second quarter. Instead, the big-box home-improvement chain reported a blockbuster 24.1% rise in comparable sales, as consumers who are stuck at home continued to splash out on remodeling and decorating projects to make their nests a bit more comfortable. 

These earnings reports are a snapshot in time for a period that spanned August through October. But public health conditions are changing in a way that only seems likely to intensify the behaviors that fueled these companies’ strong quarters. With new cases of Covid-19 raging across the country, local restrictions on restaurants and other businesses appear poised to tighten again, forcing people to double down on dining in and entertaining themselves within the four walls of their homes.   

Even before this latest wave of the pandemic, surveys showed that consumers planned to spend less on travel this holiday season. That – along with months of scant opportunities to buy things like concert tickets or sporting events – frees up space in shoppers’ budgets to spend in other categories. 

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told investors on a Tuesday conference call that in his own family, they’re looking forward to “some sense of joy and normalcy” at the holidays despite a smaller gathering, adding, “I think we’ll see that play out as it relates to consumption patterns in the U.S. and beyond.” I suspect consumers will try to create that feeling of the Before Times by springing for lavish holiday dinners, splurging on big-ticket gifts and going all out with holiday decor. All three of those patterns could benefit Walmart, and the second and third could benefit Home Depot. 

It’s notable that Walmart and Home Depot don’t expect these conditions create a clear glide path for them in the near-term. Neither company issued guidance today, suggesting they still anticipate significant volatility in the coming months. They are right to gird for uncertainty: The Commerce Department’s retail sales report for October, also issued Tuesday, showed sales rose at their slowest pace in six months, a potential warning sign that shoppers — especially those who are unemployed or furloughed because of the pandemic — are starting to rein in spending as Congress has failed to step in with a new stimulus package to help them. 

There are other unknowns around this

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Women break barriers in baseball history

Kim Ng made history Friday when she was named the Marlins’ general manager, becoming the first woman GM in MLB history.

But she’s far from the first woman trailblazer in Major League Baseball, or baseball period. Women have been doing amazing things to break barriers in baseball throughout the history of the sport.

Here are just some of the women who broke barriers in baseball.

Kim Ng — MLB’s first woman GM
When Ng was named the Marlins’ general manager, she made history as MLB’s first female and second Asian-American GM. She is also believed to be the first woman to hold a GM position in any of the professional men’s teams in the major North American sports. Ng comes to the Marlins with immense experience in baseball, having worked in front office roles with the White Sox (1990-96), Yankees (1998-2001) and Dodgers (2002-11) — winning three World Series championships — before moving on to the Commissioner’s Office, where she had worked since ‘11. When the Yankees hired Ng as an assistant GM at 29, she was the youngest person to hold such a title in MLB.

Alyssa Nakken — MLB’s first woman Major League coach
The former Sacramento State softball player joined manager Gabe Kapler’s staff in San Francisco in January 2020, becoming the first full-time female coach on a big league team’s staff, with the title of Major League assistant coach. She then continued breaking barriers when she spent some time coaching first base during a Giants exhibition game prior to the start of the season. It marked the first time a woman had served in an on-field capacity during an MLB game. After Opening Day, Nakken donated her No. 92 Giants jersey to the Hall of Fame to commemorate the occasion.

Rachel Balkovec and Rachel Folden — Hitting coaches for Major League organizations
The Yankees brought in Balkovec in November 2019 as a roving Minor League hitting coach, and it is believed that she became the first woman to hold such a full-time position for a Major League organization. (At about the same time, the Cubs also hired Folden as a lead hitting lab tech and fourth coach for their Rookie-level Arizona League affiliate in Mesa, Ariz.). Balkovec, a former softball player, had previously served as a Minor League strength and conditioning coach for the Cardinals and Astros, earned multiple master’s degrees and worked at the innovative Driveline Baseball training center in Kent, Wash.

Andrea Hayden — First woman strength and conditioning coach in MLB
When Hayden became an official member of the Twins’ coaching staff in November 2019, that made her Major League Baseball’s first woman strength and conditioning coach. She was part of a wave of female coaching hires in MLB, including Nakken being hired by the Giants and Balkovec and Folden being hired as Minor League hitting instructors by the Yankees and Cubs, respectively.

Raquel Ferreira — Becomes highest-ranking woman in baseball operations
Ferreira was part of a four-person group that took over baseball

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Why This Founder Is Determined To Break Fashion’s Wasteful Cycle

Before she was appointed to the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Consumerism, Kristy Caylor spent her early career at Gap, Inc. building massive brands like Banana Republic and Project (RED.) That experience inspired her vision for a fashion industry that operates more efficiently and more sustainably. So she went off on her own and built two brands that delivered on that vision. Her first venture was into the luxury space with Maiyet. Now she focuses on her closed-loop, zero waste basics brand For Days, which allows customers to trade in their old clothes in exchange for new ones in an effort to reduce the 80 pounds of clothing per year that ends up in landfills. 

She’s wildly optimistic for someone who has seen the inefficiencies in fast fashion’s supply chain. So optimistic that she’s become a pioneer in trying to course correct a behemoth industry reliant on fast moving trends, affordability and wasteful practices. She hopes her efforts can pave the way for a much more efficient, more circular, more thoughtful and less wasteful future. 

Amy Shoenthal: Tell me about your background, your career and how you came to create For Days.

Kristy Caylor: After studying engineering, art, business and design, I spent the past 15 years in fashion. My attraction to fashion was a combination of the fact that I have a linear efficiency brain and also a very creative one. And fashion is steeped in both the product and the customer experience so it was an industry that allowed me to play in both camps.

I started my career in a very entrepreneurial role at Gap, Inc. and was fortunate to launch and grow businesses including Banana Republic Petites, Banana Republic Japan, and Product (RED). While in Japan I spent a lot of time in our supply chain and became deeply aware of and concerned about the impact fashion has on people and the planet. With the quantity we produced, coupled with massive markdowns and returns, it was simply inefficient. We were producing too much stuff.  

I left Gap and co-founded Maiyet in 2010 because I saw the opportunity for a truly design-driven brand to show the industry that impact could be both beautiful and profitable. Working with the artisans in places like Indonesia, Bolivia, Peru, and Kenya was magical. Maiyet set the stage for many other brands.  

I found that even though we were in luxury, not mass, there was still too much stuff floating around. Too many seasons, trends, markdowns, returns. When I started working with Cradle to Cradle’s Fashion +, the principles of the circular economy really landed. A regenerative system makes so much sense.

Shoenthal: What are some of the most pressing issues you’re seeing in the world of ethical fashion that you’d like to solve for?   

Caylor: We produce all this stuff and don’t take responsibility for it, so it ends up in landfills. 17% of all landfill waste is textiles. 20% of water wastage is

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One Year Out From Kick-Off, The Women’s Rugby League World Cup Is Set To Break New Ground Both On & Off The Pitch

Rugby league is never afraid of a challenge. From its formation in defiance of the odds in 1895, the sport has always pushed boundaries in terms, and next year’s World Cup might well be up there with the biggest challenges that the game has ever faced.

While most sports are fretting about how they might get their major events to take place, rugby league is trying to get three international tournaments on, simultaneously, in the area of the United Kingdom that has been worst affected by the ongoing pandemic. The Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair tournaments will take place at the same time, fall of 2021, with the majority of fixtures planned for the sport’s heartland in England’s North. This is not the first time that all World Cups have been held simultaneously, but will be the first in which such a diverse range of tournaments, with such a diverse set of competing nations, will play at the same time. Indeed, today is exactly a year from kickoff in the first game of the Women’s tournament, which will see England, the country in which the sport was founded, take on Brazil, where the game is in its infancy. 

2021 will see Women’s Rugby League reach unseen heights, particularly in the UK, with the BBC set to broadcast World Cup fixtures to a national audience of millions. Jodie Cunningham, who plays for St Helens and England, has seen this growth more than most. She began in an environment where even England national team players had to pay their own way and is now on the cusp of selection for a tournament in which they will be paid for the first time. For many people, this will be their first experience of watching Women’s RL, and Jodie says, what they will see will be recognizable, but also a different experience.

“What I always say is that it’s not different, it’s the same game, it’s just a raw version of rugby league,” she says. “The teams at the top of men’s competition are so well-drilled that it’s a war of attrition: the 2017 World Cup Final came down to one try. The women’s game is a raw, scaled-back version: all the rules are the same, there’s nothing different, but what you do see is that the women are naturally smaller than the men but we play on the same size pitch, so the gaps are usually bigger.”

“It’s less about the wrestle (on the floor) and there’s more expansive breaks in play. You’ll see a lot of long range tries and fantastic solo efforts.

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Republican women break barriers in House on election night



Republican women break barriers in House on election night


© The Hill
Republican women break barriers in House on election night

In a year that was supposed to see Democrats’ House majority grow, Republicans have expanded their ranks – thanks in large part to a new slate of female lawmakers.

Former Minnesota Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach (R) dealt one of the biggest upsets of the night to longtime Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).

Meanwhile, Republican Maria Salazar ousted freshman Rep. Donna Shalala (D) in Florida, while Republican Stephanie Bice defeated freshman Rep. Kendra Horn in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District. And in South Carolina, Republican Nancy Mace ousted freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D).

Six of the eight House seats that were flipped by Republican candidates were flipped by women.

The pivotal role female candidates played in helping the GOP reverse some of its 2018 losses in the House came as the party made a concerted effort to recruit women back into the fold and left Democrats blindsided.

House Republicans added at least 13 new women to their ranks, breaking the party’s previous record of nine non-incumbent GOP women winning their races in 2006, according to the Center for American Women in Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University. A total of 23 Republican women were elected on Thursday, along with 83 Democratic women.

Women from both parties broke barriers on Tuesday, with at least 131 women slated to serve in the 117th Congress. However, the Election Night totals were a marked improvement for Republican women two years after the number of female lawmakers serving in the House GOP conference dropped from 23 to 13. On top of that, only one non-incumbent GOP woman was elected in 2018.

“We hit rock bottom,” said Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokeswoman for Winning for Women Action Fund, a super PAC dedicated to electing GOP women to public office.

“We had to really reprioritize the way that we approach recruiting and supporting Republican women candidates,” she added.

The story of female Republican candidates in 2020 mirrors the story of female Democratic candidates on a smaller scale. Democrats made history in 2018 when 89 women from their party were elected to the House.

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“Efforts on the right lagged for decades, particularly with the existence of Emily’s List,” Perez-Cubas said, referring to the pro-choice PAC aimed at electing Democratic women to office. “There really lacked a clear counterpart and a clear counterweight to that on the right.”

However, a number of GOP groups including Winning for Women, Maggie’s List and Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (R-N.Y.) Elevate PAC have poured money and resources into recruiting and supporting Republican women candidates this cycle.

“What we saw this time around [were] outside groups who made it a priority to recruit and support,” said Debbie Walsh, the director of CAWP. “You absolutely have Elise Stefanik and her PAC, but you also have groups like View PAC, and Winning

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Why MBA? Helping women to break the glass ceiling

NEW YORK – Elissa Sangster counts herself fortunate to have had early mentors who pushed to empower and promote women around them.

FILE PHOTO: Forte Foundation CEO Elissa Sangster poses in an undated handout photo. Forte Foundation/Handout via REUTERS

After business school, Sangster worked at Texas A&M University as assistant director of the MBA program, whose director, Sue Robertson, was her supervisor.

“She was very much a supporter of women,” said Sangster, now the chief executive of Forté, an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit that focuses on elevating women to leadership positions. “She had faced a lot of challenges that were gender-related in her career and she wanted me to have opportunity.”

Sangster applies that spirit in her work now to help women pursue MBAs and rise up in their work places.

Sangster chatted with Reuters about her work philosophy. Edited excerpts are below.

Q. What did you learn from your first job?

A. My first job before I graduated from college was working in the admissions office in the local community college in the town where I grew up, Lee College in Baytown, Texas. That set the stage for my career.

I was already a really hard worker. I learned that from school and my parents were hard workers. But at that job, I learned about having respectful work relationships with my peers, how to solve problems and how to help students navigate their educational experience.

Q. What was your worst job?

A. My worst job was one where I was there for four days. I had been in ExxonMobil, in communications, but I had left because I thought this job opportunity was going to give me a bigger experience.

When I showed up on the first day, the person who had hired me had gone on vacation and wasn’t there. I was left in a cube for four days. Nobody talked to me, nobody came and took me to lunch. I had asked three times, “Is there something I can do?”

Four days after quitting, I called ExxonMobil and said, “Can I come back?” When I left, the person who hired me wasn’t even back from the trip.

It taught me that one of the things that’s so critical is the onboarding process. When you hire someone, a lot of onboarding and communicating has to happen even before they arrive. It provides connection and helps them understand that they’re going to be an important part of the community.

Q. What has been your biggest work-life challenge during the pandemic?

A. My daughter and husband are in the house with me and in this whole pandemic we’ve been navigating being in the house together. There’s some joy in that, but there are some challenges.

Finding your own individual space that has a door that can be closed was our first lesson, especially when she started back-to-school online. She’s 10, and there’s no way she can do that independently without interrupting us all the time.

Children can’t reason that you’re on a

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