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Top News Links: Monday, Nov. 30

Who won the Black Friday sales war?

With the Black Friday weekend now behind us, analysts and market researchers are crunching numbers to determine how many billions Americans spent on the annual sales bonanza. Consumer insights firm ShopperTrak, for one, is estimating that shoppers spent over $1 billion less in brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday this year than in 2014, thanks to the growth of e-commerce and to retailers “successfully elongating the holiday.” – Forbes

Cyber Monday: Is your data secure?

As a new Cyber Monday dawns, experts agree about two things: Online sales will continue to grow, and data theft will continue to be a danger. “We don’t know what the next scheme’s going to be because (criminals) are very creative about how they go about getting people’s information,” said Jeff Anderson, senior vice president of corporate security for Regions. – Montgomery Advertiser

Gadsden OKs abatement for Goodyear expansion

The Gadsden City Council last week approved two tax abatements on a $30.1 million expansion at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Gadsden plant. Some $27.7 million will go toward new manufacturing machinery, and $2.4 million is for facility construction. Goodyear said in a press release that $17.3 million is the cost subject to sales tax. – Gadsden Times

BBVA buys interest in first UK mobile-only bank

BBVA is investing heavily in mobile banking - most recently, with a 29.5 percent stake in the first mobile-only bank in the United Kingdom. BBVA - the parent company of Birmingham-headquartered BBVA Compass - will invest £45 million, or about $67.5 million, in Atom. – AL.com

‘Know Thy Farmer’ creating big buzz

This Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Market at Pepper Place will be abuzz with activity in celebration of the release of Know Thy Farmer, the visually stunning tribute to the farmers who help make Pepper Place in Birmingham a nationally recognized urban farmer’s market. – Weld

Children’s tech toy VTech hacked

 VTech, the Chinese-based manufacturer of popular children's technology toys, was hacked, putting information on as many as 4.8 million customers – including 200,000 children – at risk. The hack, first reported by Motherboard, leaked names, emails, encrypted passwords and home addresses of millions of customers, as well as the full names, genders and birthdays of children users. – AL.com

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