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Decisions about shopping are getting complicated

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Locally owned stores around the state are hoping holiday shoppers have energy and budget set aside for Small Business Saturday, which is Nov. 30.

The Star Tribune reports clusters of retailers like those in Linden Hills and the North Loop district are marketing themselves jointly as shopping destinations.

And it's not just the metroThe St. Cloud Times urged readers to shop local if they want to help the regional economy. The Austin Daily Herald offered a list of local retailers and deals, as did The Duluth News Tribune.

Dave Brennan, co-director of the University of St. Thomas Institute for Retailing Excellence said local business must figure out how to compete with the chains.

According to the Sageworks financial information company, mom-and-pops are losing ground to the big guys, at a rate of 2.3 percent so far this year.

The Saturday shopping movement was started three years ago by American Express.

But the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports the credit card company is taking flack from critics who say it is not the friend of small business it claims to be. According to the Main Street Alliance, American Express charges the highest "swipe fee" of any credit card company, "putting the squeeze on small business." The group urges people to shop locally and use cash or a different credit card.

In response, an American Express spokesperson said the company stands for small business no matter what the payment method.

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