Shopping update: Retailers might get a break this year because Hanukkah starts on Dec. 15, which means an extra shopping push in mid-December when sales are often lukewarm. A sampling of Taubman Center malls over the weekend showed, on average, mid-single digit increases from a year ago, which is pretty much what analysts are expecting. Later this week come reports from ShopperTrak and International Council of Shopping Centers.
Hollywood production deal: Weinstein Co.'s home entertainment unit, Genius Products, has cut two deals with RHI Entertainment, which had been known as Hallmark Entertainment until it was purchased for $700 million by a group that includes producers Robert Halmi and Robert Halmi Jr. In one deal Wesintein will co-produce and co-finance new TV movies, series and miniseries, and in the other Genius will be North American home video and digital distributor for RHI's library of more than 600 titles.
Japanese in Torrance: The city is home to at least 246 companies that are either units of Japanese companies or founded by people of Japanese origin. That's at least 44 more than the city of L.A. There isn't any obvious explanation for the Torrance contingent, other than it's a relatively business-friendly community and very close to the port and other major transportation networks.
User-friendly retail: Glassell Park residents are up in arms over a proposed Home Depot on the site of a shuttered Kmart. Their beef comes down to this: Kmart was a general merchandise store that served the needs of the community, while Home Depot caters to contractors who are often out of the neighborhood. Actually, the folks in Glassell Park feel they've been shut out of other people-friendly retail, such as bookstores or coffee houses.
Queen Mary development: With the city of Long Beach likely to settle a rental dispute with operators of the venerable ship, now it's time to look at ways of developing the adjacent 45-acre property. All the usual ideas are being thrown around - hotels, a convention center, restaurants, and retail and office space. The Queen Mary has been struggling for several years, so further development is seen as a way of attracting more visitors.