THE NEWS: Retailers from discounter Wal-Mart to department-store chain Macy's are doing everything they can to make it easier for finicky shoppers to spend their money during the busy holiday shopping season.
THE SERVICES: Several stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day. Some are offering free layaway and shipping. Many are matching in-store prices with cheaper online deals. And others are allowing shoppers to buy online and pick up their merchandise in stores.
HOLIDAY DOLLARS: The National Retail Federation, an industry trade group, estimates sales in November and December will rise 4.1 percent this year to $586.1 billion.