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Hidden city flight hack

When Kevin, a Toronto-based entrepreneur, travels to San Francisco for work, he often books a flight to Santa Ana, Calif., instead. Then he disembarks the plane during the stopover in San Francisco and skips the last leg of the flight to southern California.

Kevin — who didn't want his last name used to avoid any repercussions from airlines — says the travel hack, often referred to as hidden city ticketing, has saved him thousands of dollars over the past two years.

He says he has found flights to Santa Ana that stop in San Francisco for as little as US$190, compared with US$450 for a regular flight to his destination.

"It is somewhat infuriating that if an airline can get you from point A to point B for hundreds of dollars less, it does seem unfair," Kevin says.

Hidden city ticketing is not new, but its popularity has grown thanks to some travel websites that make it easier to find these sorts of flights.

But while the savings may be appealing, experts caution that the practice can be risky.

First off, the plane could be rerouted and not stop at the desired destination, leaving you scrambling to arrange another flight or mode of transportation.

Passengers using hidden city ticketing are also limited to carry-on luggage, as any checked bags will end up at the final destination.

The Canadian Transportation Agency says the federal government does not have a stance on hidden city ticketing as the matter is addressed in most airlines' contracts with their passengers.

Air Canada says its terms and conditions require all segments of a trip to be flown as booked.

WestJet says it has no policy regarding hidden city ticketing because it is very rarely used on its flights.

"Due to how we price our fares, hidden city ticketing would be a very rare occurrence on WestJet as it would usually cost less to fly to A to B than from A, B, to C," spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said in an email.





Sears teams with Amazon

Sears will begin selling Kenmore appliances on Amazon.com, including smart appliances that can be synced with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa.

The announcement before the opening bell Thursday sent shares of Sears soaring 11 per cent.

Sears, which also owns Kmart, says that its Kenmore Smart appliances will be fully integrated with Amazon's Alexa, allowing users to fully control things like air conditioners through voice commands.

The agreement opens up a vast new marketplace for Sears and its appliances.

Shares of Sears Holdings, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, jumped more than $1, nearing $10 per share, in premarket trading.



Rogers income up 35%

Rogers Communications is reporting a 35 per cent increase in second-quarter net income, beating analyst estimates.

Its net income was $531 million or $1.03 per share, while adjusted profit was $1 per share.

Analysts had estimated Rogers would have 90 cents per share of net income, or 93 cents per share after adjustments, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue was $3.59 billion — up four per cent from last year's second quarter and within analyst estimates.

It's the first financial report issued by the Toronto-based telecommunications and media company since Joe Natale became its CEO in April.

Natale is a former CEO of Telus, where he had a reputation of building customer satisfaction and reducing turnover.

He said in today's announcement that Rogers will improve customer service but also intensify a company-wide focus on controlling costs and improving profitability for shareholders.





Enhanced security to US

Travellers flying to the U.S. from nearly 300 international airports, including those in Mexico and Canada, are now subject to stepped-up security measures that include stricter screening for electronic devices larger than cellphones.

The regulations could include asking passengers to present larger electronic devices for inspection and prove that they can be powered on.

The Homeland Security Department demanded last month that airlines around the world step up security measures for international flights bound for the United States or face the possibility of a total electronics ban for planes. The deadline for some of those changes to take affect was Wednesday.

Airlines and aviation authorities responded by warning passengers to expect longer security screenings at airports.

"Enhanced screening measures are in effect," read an alert on the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority's website. It said that passengers flagged randomly for additional screening will be asked to remove electronic devices from protective cases for inspection, and possibly show they can be powered on.

Mexico's aviation authority advised passengers on flights bound for the U.S. to arrive at the airport three hours early to comply with the new screening measures.



Japan exports surge

Japan's exports rose nearly 10 per cent in June from a year earlier, while imports jumped 15.5 per cent, biting into its trade surplus.

A recovery in exports to China and the rest of Asia is helping sustain growth of the world's third-largest economy. The customs figures reported Thursday showed exports to China surged 20 per cent from a year earlier, to 1.25 trillion yen ($11 billion).

Exports to the U.S., Japan's biggest single overseas market, climbed 7 per cent, to 1.3 trillion yen ($11 billion), while imports from the U.S. climbed 19 per cent, to 716.9 billion yen ($6.4 billion).

Overall, exports of vehicles and machinery showed the strongest increases, while oil and gas imports jumped 31 per cent.

The total trade surplus of 439.9 billion yen ($3.9 billion) compared with a 686.5 billion yen surplus in June 2016, down more than a third.



Pipeline on track to start

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion remains on track to begin construction in September, Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said Wednesday in the face of environmental and political opposition that threatens to derail the project.

Anderson, speaking on Kinder Morgan Canada's first quarterly earnings call since it went public in May, said he looks forward to working with the new NDP government of Premier John Horgan.

In Horgan, Anderson faces a premier that has vowed to use whatever means he can to stop the $7.4-billion project because of environmental concerns. But for weeks, Horgan has not elaborated on how he would bring the development to a halt.

"I'm not going to speculate on what an NDP government might do in British Columbia at this stage in order to advance their views," Anderson said.

Experts have said that while the Trans Mountain expansion has secured federal and provincial approvals — the previous B.C. Liberal government endorsed the project — the New Democrats can disrupt it by delaying or denying permits, which Anderson noted Kinder Morgan is trying to secure.

"We continue to need a good number of local permits from British Columbia, and Alberta for that matter, as they relate to crossings, road crossings, utility access, Crown land, etc.," he said.

The twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline would nearly triple the capacity of the 1,150-kilometre line running from Edmonton to Burnaby to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

Anderson said the expansion is expected to be complete in 2019.



Manufacturing sees gain

Canadian manufacturing sales came in better than expected for May, climbing 1.1 per cent to $54.6 billion.

Statistics Canada says it was the third consecutive month to see an increase as gains were led by the transportation equipment and chemical manufacturing industries.

Economists had expected a gain of 0.8 per cent for the month, according to Thomson Reuters.

However, the better-than-expected increase for May came as Statistics Canada revised its figure for April to show an increase of 0.4 per cent compared with its initial reading of 1.1 per cent.

Sales in May were up in 16 of 21 industries, representing 71 per cent of the manufacturing sector.

The transportation equipment industry saw sales rise 4.2 per cent to $11.5 billion boosted by the motor vehicle and the motor vehicle parts industries. Chemical manufacturing sales climbed 2.4 per cent to $4.4 billion.

In constant dollars, overall sales were up 1.1 per cent, indicating that higher volumes of manufactured goods were sold in May.



Yogurt recall expanded

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has added the Yoplait Minigo and Liberte brands of yogurt to a recall over concerns that pieces of plastic may be in the product.

The national recall of General Mills Canada Corp. products include some batches of Yoplait Minigo strawberry and raspberry yogurt in 90-gram containers, as well as Liberte Greek yogurt in raspberry and coconut flavours in the 120-gram size.

The recall follows a similar one by Ultima Foods in June over concerns about the potential of plastic pieces in seven Iogo yogurt products.

The Iogo recall included six 93-millilitre Iogo Nano packs of strawberry, raspberry, vanilla and banana drinkable yogurt and one-litre Iogo smoothie protein packs with mango, strawberry-raspberry and strawberry flavours.



Transat checks out of hotels

Travel company Transat A.T. Inc. (TSX:TRZ) has signed a deal to sell its 35 per cent share of Ocean Hotels for about $190 million.

The buyer is Spanish company H10 Hotels, Transat's partner in the joint venture, which operates resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Shares in Transat jumped more than 10 per cent after the agreement was announced.

Transat says the proceeds from the sale of its minority interest in Ocean Hotels as well as the sale of some of its operations in France and Greece last year will help support the development of its own hotel operation.

The deal is expected to close by Nov. 2.

Transat CEO Jean-Marc Eustache said being a minority owner was no longer "an interesting use" of the company's capital.

"Our hotel division will take shape in the near future, including with the hiring of a president to lead it," Eustache said in a statement.

"We are very excited at the idea of moving forward with this priority initiative for the company."



McCormick buys French's

U.S. spice maker McCormick & Company is buying the maker of French's mustard and other condiments in a $4.2 billion cash deal that it regards as a "perfect match."

The Maryland-based company fought off rival bidders to purchase the Reckitt Benckiser food business. The deal, disclosed Tuesday, will create a combined group with annual sales of around US$5 billion.

French's and Frank RedHot brands will become McCormick's No. 2 and 3 brands, respectively.

"RB Foods' focus on creating products with simple, high-quality ingredients makes it a perfect match for McCormick as we continue to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in healthy, flavourful eating," said Lawrence E. Kurzius, McCormick's CEO.

The deal is part of RB's strategy to re-focus on consumer health and hygiene products after it bought U.S. baby formula maker Mead Johnson. The company's brands include Nurofen, Woolite and Clearasil.



Wasp traps killing birds

Some Canadian retailers are pulling a wasp trap from their shelves after reports emerged that it was trapping birds and killing them.

The TrapStik for Wasps is advertised as catching wasps by luring them to its sticky surface with a bright pattern. But in a Facebook post shared tens of thousands of times, photos appear to show small birds stuck to one of the traps.

Phoenix Pike of Toronto says her aunt, who lives in Waterloo, Ont., took the photos, and she shared them on her Facebook page.

Pike says her aunt bought the trap because her 10-year-old son is afraid of the wasps in their backyard. But she says the boy went outside to find seven small birds stuck to the trap.

Pike says the birds all died.

After the photos surfaced online, Home Hardware said it would be pulling the product from store shelves.

A representative for Home Hardware said the company hadn't received any reports about the TrapStik before seeing the pictures, but decided to pull the product because it was deemed "unsafe."

Loblaw is also reportedly pulling the product from its shelves.

Representatives for the manufacturer of TrapStik, RESCUE!, posted a written statement online, saying that it's rare for birds to be caught in the trap.

"In the 5 years since this product was introduced in the U.S., we've sold over 1 million TrapStiks, and have been alerted to a bird catch about a dozen times," the statement says.

"While rare, we acknowledge that this is an upsetting and traumatizing sight for anyone to see," it reads.



Sears to begin liquidation

Liquidation sales at dozens of Sears Canada locations slated for closure could begin as early as this week after an Ontario court signed off on the plan Tuesday.

The sales can start Friday and run no later than Oct. 12 with the deep discounts happening only at the 59 department and Sears Home stores that have been slated for closure.

Sears lawyer Jeremy Dacks told the hearing to approve plan that it was "crucial" the retailer be permitted to begin sales of its merchandise, furniture, fixtures and equipment as soon as possible so it could "maximize" benefits for its stakeholders.

"It gives us certainty of recovery," Dacks said in court.

The nearly 300-page motion was unopposed by the litany of lawyers involved in the proceedings, including those representing the company, the landlords, the monitor and current and ex-employees.

The majority of the sales will be overseen by a third-party liquidator with current employees being asked to stay on the job until the sales are complete and the locations are shut down.

Sears Canada has been operating under court protection from creditors since June 22 when it announced its plan to shutter 59 stores and cut approximately 2,900 jobs.



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