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TALKING POINTS

It could be a muted Christmas season for local businesses

A shopper passes a Macy's store window in Downtown Crossing in Boston, MA on December 26, 2020.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

RETAIL

Could be a muted Christmas for local businesses

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts predicts a 6-percent statewide increase in local holiday shopping sales compared with a year ago, well below national projections of an 8.5 percent to 10.5 percent increase. Jon Hurst, RAM’s president, held an event in Needham on Monday with Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito to launch a holiday-focused consumer awareness campaign, with radio and digital ads, to promote shopping at local stores. The state projection was derived from a RAM membership survey, which also showed that inflation, inventory delays, and staffing shortages are the biggest challenges that retailers face this season. Massachusetts holiday sales in 2020 rose 9 percent from 2019 because of pent-up demand earlier that year during COVID-19-related slowdowns and shutdowns. The holiday sales season typically represents one-fifth of a retailer’s annual sales, although it can be up to one-third for some merchants. — JON CHESTO

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HIGHER EDUCATION

Quincy College gets approval for bachelor’s degree program

Quincy College has won state and accrediting agency approvals to offer its first four-year bachelor’s degree program, in business management. The approval follows a decade-long effort to give students at the two-year college an opportunity to earn a four-year degree in the college’s most popular program. The college said on Monday that it has begun enrollment for the four-year program and will start offering third-year courses in January. — JON CHESTO

ENTREPRENEURS

New network to focus on women starting businesses

The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership has teamed up with the Center for Women and Enterprise to launch a statewide network of resources for female entrepreneurs to be called the CWE Hub. The initiative will provide training and technical expertise to women who own or are launching small businesses, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs of color, Gateway cities, and rural businesses. The Competitive Partnership, a group of top CEOs of some of the biggest employers in the state, will help with fundraising and promoting, as well as strategic guidance. The goal is to launch the statewide CWE Hub by June of 2022. — JON CHESTO

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AIRLINES

American and JetBlue want suit blocking cooperation deal dismissed

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss a government lawsuit aimed at blocking deal that lets the two airlines cooperate on service in the Northeast. Lawyers for the airlines said there is no evidence that letting the airlines work together has led to higher fares or reduced service. They said the airlines have already added new routes in the Northeast, creating more competition against Delta and United in the region. The case is pending in federal district court in Boston. Under the Trump administration, the Transportation Department allowed American and JetBlue to work together in setting schedules and service in New York and Boston. But shortly after the Biden administration came into power, the Justice Department began taking a new look at the deal. In September, the Justice Department sued to block the American-JetBlue agreement, saying it will hurt consumers by reducing competition in key air-travel markets. They also argued the deal would make JetBlue less willing to compete against American in other parts of the country. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Ericsson buying Vonage

Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson is buying US cloud communications company Vonage in a $6.2 billion deal that will help it expand wireless services for business customers. The acquisition would also give it access to software developers who can build new applications to take advantage of features built into new fifth-generation high-speed wireless networks that Ericsson is building. CEO Borje Ekholm said the purchase is the “next step” on delivering its strategic priority of building leading mobile networks. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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E-COMMERCE

Twitter to unveil live shopping feature during kickoff to holiday shopping

Twitter will test a live shopping feature on its social network this weekend with Walmart, giving users a chance to buy products promoted during a real-time video broadcast as part of a push into businesses beyond advertising. The world’s largest retailer will be the first company to sell via the new tool during a live event on Nov. 28, making a test run over the weekend that traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season. The retail giant will broadcast on the Twitter app with musician Jason Derulo, and users will be able to browse a product catalog while watching the live video. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

CABLE TELEVISION

Longtime Fox commentators quit over Jan. 6 documentary

Two longtime Fox News commentators, Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, have cut ties with the cable news giant over a recent documentary series that cast doubt about whether a violent insurrection really occurred on Jan 6. The “Patriot Purge” series, which aired this month on the Fox Nation streaming service, featured several rioters who floated an unfounded conspiracy theory that the federal government facilitated the storming of the US Capitol to entrap supporters of Donald Trump. Fox’s decision to air the series drew bipartisan backlash — and it was the final straw for Goldberg and Hayes, they said. The series “is a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions,” Goldberg and Hayes wrote in a blog post on Sunday night, concluding that “the voices of the responsible are being drowned out by the irresponsible” at Fox News. — WASHINGTON POST

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AVIATION

FAA to fine eight airline passengers over alleged drunken incidents

US regulators proposed $161,823 in fines against eight airline passengers for alleged alcohol-related misbehavior, saying the rate of unruly behavior on flights “remains too high.” The highest penalty announced in a statement Monday was $40,823 against a traveler who flew Southwest Airlines on April 15 from San Jose to San Diego. The Federal Aviation Administration alleges the person drank their own alcohol during the flight and then sexually assaulted the flight attendant. The traveler was arrested by police at the arrival gate. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TOYS

Lego had a banner year and employees get bonuses, more time off

Lego, the toymaker whose colorful building bricks are a staple for children in 130 countries, is giving its employees bigger bonuses and more vacation days as 2021 turns out to be “extraordinary.” More than 20,000 employees will get three more days off and annual bonuses will get a top-up in April, said Benjamin Hjorth, a spokesman at the Billund, Denmark-based company. The extra perks come just two months after Lego reported operating profit doubled for the first half of 2021, as the toymaker grew faster than rivals in its largest markets. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

RETAIL

Walmart to expand drone deliveries

Walmart is expanding its efforts to offer aerial deliveries to homes, joining with startup DroneUp to began dropping off items ranging from cans of tuna to children’s thermometers. The flights are limited for the moment to 1.15 miles from a base outside a Walmart store in Farmington, Ark. But the service will be offered in the coming months at additional Arkansas locations in Rogers and Bentonville, where Walmart has its headquarters, the companies said in a statement on Monday. The goal is to eventually provide service over longer distances. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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