NPR's business news begins with a strong showing for retailers. Consumers spent a record $52.4 billion at stores and on the Internet over the weekend. It's the official start of the holiday shopping season. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers hunting for Black Friday bargains spent an average of about $400 each, which is a big jump over last year.
If everything goes as planned, pro-basketball fans will wake up on Christmas Day ready to open up a shiny new NBA season. December 25th is the day tentatively set to begin regular-season games after the league and its players union agreed on the essential points and a new contract. That likely means an end to the lockout. Though this is not yet a done deal, the terms must be approved by a majority of owners and players.
NPR's Mike Pesca is covering this story. He's on the line. Mike, good morning.
The economy is still far from healthy, and we've been asking people for one idea that could help fix even just one small part of the economy. And we have this latest idea from author and management consultant Jim Collins. He wants to change the way that CEOs are paid. Instead of granting stock options, he says executives should have to buy company stock with their own money.
JIM COLLINS: I want executives who are willing to be aligned in their own risk profile with how well the company does over time.
Egyptians in Cairo and Alexandria are among those voting today in the first stage of parliamentary elections. These are the first elections since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Two other stages are scheduled for December and January.
Britain opted out of the euro, but it's by no means protected from the eurozone troubles. Declining demand on the continent means fewer British exports. The picture is particularly bleak in places like Hull — a dreary port city with the highest rate of youth unemployment in Britain.