Money Minute: J.C. Penney Reports Rise in Theft; McDonald's Keeps McRib Local


Despite the improving economy, fewer people plan to travel for Thanksgiving this year.

AAA forecasts that 4.3 million people will drive 50 miles or more for their turkey. That's a lot of traffic, but it's down 1.5 percent from last year. And if you do hit the roads, there's this bit of good news: the national average for a gallon of regular is down to $3.22. Air travel is expected to be down by nearly four percent.

In addition to reporting an improved sales outlook Wednesday, J.C. Penney (JCP) also said shoplifting is on the rise. The reason is that the company removed those security tags from its clothes as part of a move to a new system to track inventory. All of that pilfering added to Penney's losses. But the problem should ease up as it nears completion of the re-tagging process.

McDonald's Brings Back The McRib Sandwich
David Paul Morris/Getty Images
McDonald's (MCD) says it won't offer a national rollout of its popular McRib sandwich. Instead, local franchises will decide whether to add the McRib as a temporary menu item. Either way, the McRib will remain a seasonal item, available for only a limited time.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 66 points Wednesday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 6 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) dropped 10 points.

As stores prepare to mark-down prices for the holidays, some retail stocks could be discounted as well. Target (TGT) reported disappointing earnings, and warns that consumer spending will be "constrained."

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) posted a quarterly loss as sales plunged by 14 percent. Analysts had expected a profit. Sears Holdings (SHLD) posted a loss that wasn't quite as bad as expected, but sales at its Sears and Kmart stores fell by 6 percent.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' (GMCR) earnings topped expectations. But sales of the company's single-serve coffee products weren't as hot as expected.

Finally, online gambling launches Thursday evening in New Jersey. If the test phase goes well, the full rollout will start next Tuesday. But bettors must be in New Jersey to access the system, which will be run by the ailing casinos companies in Atlantic City.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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Strange you should mention gas prices. They went up 5 cents since yesterday morning. Christmas spending is going down here thanks to Obama making our health insurance costs go up.

November 21 2013 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know a guy who got fired from his job at Dillards for running after and catching a thief. Fired. Unbelieveable. Higher ups do not want anyone under their employ to put themselves in harms way to catch a thief. The company is too afraid it will get sued. So there ya go thugs....steal at Dillards.

November 21 2013 at 3:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I love the McRib, that is until I saw the photo of the McRib patty still frozen out of the box in the back room. I will never in my entire life eat another one. It just looked so frankenmade. With the pinkish cast to it. I was totally turned off and I can beat I am not alone in this either.

November 21 2013 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No wonder JCPenney has an increase in theft. They have made it sooooo easy for the theives to strike. Have you been to one of their stores lately? There are only one or two check out counters on each floor, and trying to find a clerk, is like trying to find hen's teeth. These shoplifters have a ball, just taking whatever they want. They have no conscience. Because of these idiots, the rest of us get punished by having to pay higher prices for goods. When they do get caught, the judges just tell them not to do it again. They are then released, and continue on with their stealing.

November 21 2013 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Doesn't surprise me that shoplifting is on the rise...hello the economy is in the tank!!!!

November 21 2013 at 12:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I would b interested to know the store locations for the increase in shoplifting -- I am BETTING they are in urban areas near black communities.

November 21 2013 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dkelmstra's comment

Mercy, mercy, me.

November 21 2013 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pennys is an easy target. They hardly have anyone on the sales floor anymore. Shoplifter\'s are scumbags and I\'d imagine this is increasing in most retail situations anyway.

November 21 2013 at 12:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Yes and theft is going to continue to rise because the perp\'s know no retailer will try to stop them, or take no action against them. Corporate headquarters is the cause. If potential thieves were unsure whether they will be challenged by any armed security it would at least deter some theft. also its about time the courts start imposing severe penalties for open brazen shop lifitng it might give some limited releif. Want to stop it cold ? allow associates who would do it to be visibly armed. Darn few shots would be fired since the deterent would be visible.

November 21 2013 at 12:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

An increase in shoplifting, not surprising as it's all part of the obama culture.

November 21 2013 at 11:48 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

It's really easy to shoplift anywhere. I've seen people take jewelry into the dressing rooms. Those cameras in the ceiling, not all of them work or are on. Stores can't afford to hire someone to just sit there & watch them. There will always be thieves as there will always be poor people. It is what it is.

November 21 2013 at 11:45 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply