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Deals & Shopping

  1. A new threat this shopping season: toys that can spy on kids


    ST. PETERSBURG — Not all sinister toys are as obvious as a Chucky doll. Many present more subtle threats — choking hazards, high lead content, privacy concerns. And as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks off, consumer advocates are urging shoppers to be judicious when choosing gifts for children …

    A doll called “My Friend Cayla” presents privacy concerns because of its unsecured Bluetooth connection and ability to record audio, according to consumer advocates who on Tuesday released their annual “Trouble in Toyland” report ahead of the holiday shopping season. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  2. Up for sale? Activist investor grabs stake in Tampa's Bloomin' Brands


    TAMPA — If you tread water too long in the same spot, someone might start asking why you're not trying to swim somewhere.

    Barry Rosenstein, principal owner of hedge fund Jana Partners. Jana took a 8.74 percent stake in Tampa's Bloomin' Brands, parent of Outback Steakhouse and three other restaurant chains, because Bloomin' is perceived as an underperformer. Jana may push to sell the company. [Courtesy of Jana Partners]
  3. Forecast: Florida retailers expect strong holiday shopping sales


    'Tis the season for holiday shopping, and this year is expected to be particularly kind to retailers.

    The Florida Retail Federation predicts high sales for the holiday shopping season. Pictured are shoppers walking in front of Santa's Flight Academy at International Plaza. | [ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times]
  4. HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists


    ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and quality.

    HSN and Good Housekeeping chose five finalists for its entrepreneur contest. Pictured is Perry Mercer from Fort Worth showing off his product on the Home Shopping Network in June. | [Times file photo]
  5. A Santa flight academy? Malls pull out stops to counter online shopping


    TAMPA — One of Santa's helpers warns the grown ups to stand back. Sawyer Baker is about to be fitted for his virtual flight academy suit.

    (From left) Leila Gonzalez, 4, of Wesley Chapel, and her brother Luis, 1, play with fake snow inside Santa's Flight Academy's snow globe at International Plaza and Bay Street on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in Tampa.
  6. 5 under $5: Sand sculptors, free ice skating, Pinellas Trail performances


    1Sanding Ovations: This annual Treasure Island sand sculpting competition brings master sculptors working in 150 tons of sand. This year artists come from Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, Russia, Lithuania, Canada and the United States. An adjacent festival brings live music daily, and there will be fireworks …

    Jonathan Bouchard sculpts during the Sanding Ovations Sand Sculpting festival in Treasure Island, FL on November 21st, 2014.
  7. Five new shops open at Tampa International Airport


    TAMPA — Tampa International Airport on Monday marked the opening of five new shops at three airsides, bringing the number of its new concessions up to 46 — half of them local stores — on the way to a total of 69.

    A new Ron Jon Surf Shop has opened in Airside A at Tampa International Airport. (Times files)

  8. Contractor alleges Bill Edwards' firm owes for Sundial renovation


    ST. PETERSBURG — The construction company that performed the massive renovations at the Sundial entertainment hub is suing developer and Sundial owner Bill Edwards' company.

    Hennessy Construction Services Corp., a St. Petersburg contractor, is suing Bill Edwards' firm Loan Ranger Acquisitions, saying Loan Ranger still owes $132,000 from Sundial St. Pete renovations. Pictured is construction at then-named The Shops at St. Pete in 2014. | [Times file photo]
  9. Veterans Day brings modified business hours, select discounts


    Saturday is Veterans Day, and that means holiday hours for many businesses and government agencies.

    Veterans Day falls on a weekend this year, which means modified business hours Friday and Saturday for some businesses and government agencies. Pictured is a Veterans Day celebration in 2016 at the Curlew Hills Memory Gardens. | [Times file photo]
  10. Publix named No. 3 best retail workplace


    Retail jobs may not always carry the best reputation, but Publix employees have reason to come to work happy.