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Toys"R"Us and Walmart got a very early jump on the holiday shopping promotions machine this week -- for Christmas, not Halloween -- by announcing price-matching and layaway policies for the most important sales period of the year....

Sales at privately held retailers selling sporting goods, hobby supplies and musical instruments (NAICS 4511) in the 12 months ended Aug. 1 were 10.5% higher than the same period a year earlier, and profit margins have been flat, at around 3 percent, according to Sageworks'...