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NEW DAY

Stores Open for Black Friday; Wall Street Continues Bull Market; Obamacare Website Preparing for Re-Launch; Interview with Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren; Shoppers Hit the Stores Early; An American Foxhound Wins Dog Show

Aired November 29, 2013 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving night, some even foregoing the holiday dinner. Tempers flaring at this Wal-Mart with shoppers clamoring for a bargain on tablets in Virginia. Just hours after its signature parade, Macy's broke out the barricade for hundreds of hungry shoppers starving for a deal at their flagship store in New York City. Across the country, long lines are welcome sights for retailers hoping to cash in on the holidays. Hundreds more lining up outside of a Toys R Us starting at noon. So they wouldn't miss out on must-have items on the kids' wish list.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hopefully, they will get their sky lander and get all their dolls and toys over with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to make sure I am here in the front of the line.

ASHER: Shoppers outside of this Best Buy in West Palm Beach, Florida, in hopes of getting their hands on a 40-inch flat screen TV for only $200.

It is big ticket items like these and rock bottom prices on electronics that are feeding the frenzy, police stepping in to end a tug of war over a television.

And amidst all the chaos, police shot one shoplifter at this Kohl's store in Illinois sending the thief and two officers to the hospital.

A convenient alternative to the mayhem, cyber Monday, when retailers are set to offer steep discounts online so you can avoid the crushing crowds.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ASHER: OK, so obviously a little bit of chaos at certain retailers. Macy's has hired 3,000 seasonal workers for the holiday shopping season. I have been walking around talking to some of the associates. Some are saying, listen, we enjoy working on Thanksgiving because, number one, we volunteered for it. Number two, we got paid at time and a half. And number three, we are getting to leave extra early so we could enjoy black Friday shopping for ourselves.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We get to shop, work, earn some money and maybe even spend time with their families. Zain, thank you so much. You can go shopping now.

Coming up later this hour, we are going to talk with Macy's CEO, Terry Lundgren and Wal-Mart's CEO, Bill Simon, to ask them specifically how things are going in their store.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hold up, wait a minute, because there seems to be a discount when it comes to what people may be spending versus what they feel about the economy in general. This is a new CNN/ORC poll that shows the majority of Americans have a pretty negative view of the way things are going in the country in general and their opinions about the economy aren't much better. Who better to ask about this than Alison Kosik?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're talking actually about a disconnect that's going on between what we are seeing in the markets and what we are seeing happening in the economy, especially when you look at this poll that came out. It's really eye-opening, this CNN/ORC poll that was actually taken a few weeks ago. It showed that 59 percent of people say things are going badly in this country. Here is the thing. That number has been steadily increasing since April. Also, 41 percent believe things are going well or fairly well. That's the lowest number since 2012. So what you are seeing is kind of these mixed feelings that Americans are feeling as we approach the holidays caught somewhere between pessimism and optimism.

LEMON: How is it that people are worried about the economy but then you see the stock market going up. You see the housing market getting better. So, what gives?

KOSIK: Because it has been one of these recoveries that we have been in that hasn't been kind of even. It has been a spotty recovery, not one that's operating on all cylinders. We see the markets at record highs, meaning the Dow, the S&P at records highs, the NASDAQ not at levels since 13 years ago.

And a lot of that is being fueled by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is buying up $85 billion in mortgage-backed securities and treasuries every month, and with that, essentially a big-time stimulus. All that money is pouring into the financial system, pushing investors away from bonds and into stocks. That's creating this wealth effect.

But come on, there's a huge reality check here -- 11 million people in this country are unemployed. That's the reality. That goes back to the uneven recovery.

So let me just say this. There are three ways that people kind of can feel like they are a little bit wealthy -- if they have a job, if their house is holding its value, and if the portfolio is looking good. The problem is jobs, and jobs is the disconnect. That is the disconnect between the economy and stocks.

LEMON: That's the two different Americas that we talk about.

PEREIRA: Reality in your own little economy.

LEMON: If you are lucky enough to have a portfolio and a house and a job, then you're doing OK. If you are not, it's not good.

KOSIK: Exactly. And the jobs have to be good. The trend we are seeing is that you are seeing these low-wage jobs come into the market.

LEMON: Thank you, Alison.

PEREIRA: Thank you so much for joining us on this Friday.

The Obamacare fix deadline arrives tomorrow. President Obama has pledged that this Saturday, Healthcare.gov will be working. So will millions of uninsured Americans be able to get through and sign up? That is the big question. Jill Dougherty is at the White House with the very latest. They say the experience is going to be different. Will it?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They do, Michaela, but watch the fine print. What they are saying is for the vast majority of Americans, because this is not the final fix. What they are trying to get is the ability to have 50,000 people at any one time get on that site and do what they have to do to sign up. But they are concerned that let's say next week as attention continues to build, that you could have hundreds of thousands, maybe 200,000. The last time that happened in October, people were not able to get on, and they had to get in kind of a virtual waiting line. That's just one of the issues that they are concerned about.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOUGHERTY: Withering criticism of the initial rollout of Healthcare.gov has intensified the pressure on the administration to get this fix right for Saturday. The White House hopes it can do that at least for the vast majority of users.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And this website is going to get fixed.

DOUGHERTY: Healthcare.gov, open for business October 1st. And it has been a disastrous two months. The site crashed, unable to cope with people trying to sign up. Small businesses still won't be able to use the site for another year. Insurance industry insiders tell CNN some customers' personal data is getting mangled or even lost.

The White House says the site will be able to handle 50,000 users at one time, but they admit there will be times after Saturday when Healthcare.gov, does not function properly. And they are bracing for another possible huge surge in volume that could force some people into virtual waiting lines for callbacks. Officials say consumers who pick a plan by December 23rd and pay their premiums by December 31st will have coverage effective the first of January.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOUGHERTY: You can bet those teams, those tech teams, are working full time trying to get to that deadline. PEREIRA: Jill, thank you so very much. We have other stories we are watching, a lot of stories making headlines. Rosa Flores is doing the job for us.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. And good morning to you at home. We are covering breaking news from overnight. A pipeline explosion sends shock waves to the small Missouri town of Houstonia. It is about 75 miles west of Kansas City. Officials for the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company say there was a rupture at a compressor. A spokeswoman says, no one was killed or injured and the cause is under investigation.

NATO officials promising to investigate an air strike that hit Thursday in Afghanistan. Local officials in Helmand Province claim a child was killed. This is coming as Washington and Kabul tried to determine the future role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai saying if there are more strikes, he won't sign a security pact.

Rising tensions and an act of defines over disputed airspace over the East China Sea. Beijing flew fighter jets in the area after Japanese and South Korean military conducted missions in the contested zone. Both China and Japan claim that territory belongs to them. Vice president Joe Biden set to visit Asia next week. It is expected he will try to urge calm amongst all of the players in the air space fight.

Three unpublished stories from "Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger have been leaked online. They were anonymously uploaded and have been tracked back to an eBay auction where someone bought them for $110. The reclusive author did not want them published until 50 years after his death. One of the stories, "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" is said to be a short prequel to "The Catcher in the Rye."

And first lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to accept the official White House Christmas tree later this morning. The 18-and-a-half foot Douglas fir will be placed in the blue room from the Lehigh Valley Crystal Springs farm in Pennsylvania. This is the third time they have provided a tree for the first family.

PEREIRA: It is a terrific honor when your tree is chosen.

FLORES: It really is.

LEMON: That ginormous tree. The first lady is going to decorate it.

FLORES: I think they take volunteers. I have a friend in Louisiana who wanted to sign up because they pick volunteers and then they choose who can help the first lady.

PEREIRA: There is a vision. There is a plan. There is a whole thing.

LEMON: Have you ever been to the White House Christmas party?

PEREIRA: I have not. LEMON: Oh, my gosh. You should see it. It is amazing. I get invited through a second-hand source. They don't invite me personally. But it's amazing to see all the different trees. It is the most wonderful thing. I steal napkins and cotton candy and chocolate. I'm not alone. Barbara Walters does it too.

PEREIRA: Now, he is throwing people under the bus.

(LAUGHTER)

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We are finally seeing some quiet weather across the country. It was a rough go for a couple of days. Now, everything is starting to calm down. It is just cold, the northeast still staying cold with temperatures about 10-15 degrees below normal. Boston, your chilly this morning, as well as Syracuse at about 27 degrees or 16 degrees below normal.

We'll stay pretty chilly through the weekend, temperatures still in the 30s in the northeast. The low 40s as you head down to D.C. that's still more than 10 degrees below normal. By Sunday, we finally get back in the 40s here in the city, only 5 degrees below normal for New York on Sunday at 44.

That storm system pushed off to the east. We are quiet now. And that could be an understatement. Look at the country. High pressure, in control, and the east and the west, the south, the same. Warmer air will start to return to the deep south as we get into the late weekend. A little bit of rain and snow in the pacific northwest, but otherwise, staying very, very quiet.

A breakdown of your weekend. Today's forecast, if you are heading out and doing some shopping, we are going to see a lot of sunshine, chilly in the north, a little bit more mild in the south. As we get into the Saturday, and even Sunday, those temperatures will slowly start to increase. We'll get temperatures back to normal in the south. It may have been rough getting to grandma's, but on the way home, it is going to be much, much better.

PEREIRA: Given how many people that will be getting on the roads on Sunday and getting on planes, it is nice to know the weather will cooperate.

GRAY: It will be nice this weekend.

LEMON: When does it return to the 80s?

GRAY: May, June, July.

PEREIRA: We are just getting started. Thanks so much.

Next on NEW DAY, black Friday shopping is well underway. Macy's CEO is going to join us to talk about today's spending mania.

LEMON: This story has everybody talking. Celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson's husband will take the stand today in the fraud trial of two former assistants. Will he spill the beans and talk about her alleged drug habits? That's the question.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Look at this. Black Friday, several stores getting an early jump on all the shopping frenzy. The doors at Macy's opened at 8:00 p.m. last night. Bargain hunters raced to be the first to snag the best deals. Macy's CEO, Terry Lundgren, joins us right now from inside the fray outside Macy's flagship store in New York City's Herald Square. What a pleasure to have you, Mr. Lundgren. Thank you so much for joining us this morning on "NEW DAY".

LUNDGREN: I wouldn't be anywhere else, Michaela, but right here.

PEREIRA: We appreciate it. So look, we know you have been open since 8:00 p.m. last night, Thanksgiving. So far, how are things going?

LUNDGREN: Great. I was here at about 7:30 circling the building. We had about 15,000 people outside the building of Macy's Herald Square before we opened at 8:00. So we had a steady stream for 15 minutes before I finally walked around the store at the front door. So really, really popular that we made the decision to open at 8:00 p.m.

PEREIRA: Well, it wasn't without controversy, the fact you opened the store on Thanksgiving. Many people -- some people protesting the move. Why did you decide to make this move and open?

LUNDGREN: Well, you know, what I always do, I always make sure we ask our associates. What do they want to do? And so, we hired 83,000 people temporarily for November and December. We could have always filled those jobs with the hiring condition that they would work at 8:00 p.m.

But instead, we offered to our full-time team and said, 'What would you like to do? Would you like to work at that 8:00 p.m. opening hours?' And we filled 90 percent of those jobs with our regular staff.

PEREIRA: How 'bout that.

LUNDGREN: They wanted to work, number one. And sometimes we preassume that we know all these answers, but they wanted to work for a couple of big reasons. One is they said, 'Hey, time and a half, that sounds good for me for my own holiday income.'

But also, they were very intrigued in many cases by the fact that people were going to be finished with their work at 4:00 in the morning. Then, they could go shopping with their friends and family on Black Friday, something that Macy's employees normally don't get to do. So this is a really positive thing for everybody.

PEREIRA: Plus, they got to have their Thanksgiving meal during the day with their family before they headed into their shift. What would you say to the folks that say, 'This is just too early. We don't need to be shopping on Thanksgiving Day'.

LUNDGREN: Well, then don't. If you choose not to, don't. But apparently, everybody else in the world seems to want to be here. So we were very, very pleased with the response.

You know, in our case, you know, we just want to do what our customers want and what our associates want. And so we are being responsive in that way. I think the fact that 15,000 people, versus 11,000 who were here last year at midnight, is an indication that people want to be here when we opened our doors.

PEREIRA: Well, and it's interesting to see the crowds, to see the crowds behind you, to hear about those numbers. Despite that, the National Retail Federation is actually expecting 7 million fewer shoppers this holiday season. Are you at all concerned about that at your stores?

LUNDGREN: No, I am definitely not. We had an outstanding third quarter. It got stronger toward the end of the quarter into October. So we feel very strong about the fact that we will have, once again, the fourth consecutive year of great same-store sales growth in the fourth quarter.

PEREIRA: Well, it's interesting. We know and we have been talking about this all day on "NEW DAY", the fact that folks are feeling the crunch still, that we did a CNN/ORC poll that shows some results that might be surprising to you, I don't know; 39 percent of Americans feel that the economic conditions are getting worse.

In terms of that, you're on the front lines. You are there. You saw the people that have been around. You're looking forward to the holiday season. What do you make of that poll?

LUNDGREN: Well, what I -- I can't really tell you. I'm not familiar with that particular poll. But what I can tell you is that that's one reason why it's very important for us to make sure that we don't just offer these great high quality brands, but also that we have obvious value for our customer.

And if you read through the circulars or the online information that we have sent out about our promotions for Black Friday and into this weekend, you will see that we are so focused on making sure that the values that we are creating and offering for our customers are easy for everybody to understand and know that this is -- you are going to have a hard time finding a better value anywhere else. So that's key for us, is to make sure we are providing those values for our customers.

PEREIRA: All right. Let's talk about something that we know is also the forefront of your mind yesterday, the parade, the parade balloons yesterday. A little touch and go. Were you at all concerned that maybe those iconic balloons might not fly?

LUNDGREN: You know, I've got so many messages, e-mails, texts, calls, from people saying, 'Oh, Terry, I'm so concerned. I hope the balloons fly.' And I said, 100 percent of the time, 'Don't worry, the balloons are going to fly. It is just a matter of how high they are going to fly. But they will, indeed, fly.' And so obviously, we were very pleased. The weather conditions actually worked out, you know, terrific for us. PERERIA: It was a beautiful day.

LUNDGREN: It was a bright, sunny day, extremely cold, however, which is also good for us because we sell a lot of coats and scarves, and gloves and sweaters. And so, to me, frankly, it was a perfect Thanksgiving Day. And it was awesome for me and my family.

PEREIRA: It truly was and for so many families, whether they were along the parade route or watching at home on the television.

I also have to ask you, Mr. Lundgren, your company has been the focus of a little bit of controversy facing a class action lawsuit accusing your store of racially profiling black shoppers. Now we should point out that so far, you have met with the National Action Network leaders. You've joined a racial profiling task force that is meant to address concerns. What are you hoping is going to be the outcome of this? And what are you willing to do to reduce this happening in your stores?

LUNDGREN: Well, first and foremost, if you knew me and if you know my company's policies, there is no question about it in my organization, that racial profiling would never, ever be tolerated in our company -- never, period, end of conversation. And if it was ever understood that anyone of our 176,000 full-time employees were, they wouldn't be here. They just couldn't work here. I mean, it's just simple and it's very, very clear in terms of my stance on diversity and inclusion. So start with that point. Within my own organization it's loud and clear and understood.

So -- but having said that, we can always learn. And so we are listening very closely. We intend to work with these organizations, and I am counting on us doing whatever we are doing now, doing better in the future. That's the way our company works. We are an extremely inclusive organization, whether it is with our customers or whether it's our own employees and promotion. This is something that's obviously on our mind. And we'll work very closely to make it better.

PEREIRA: Well, a lot of folks are going to hold you to that.

Now, look, back to the shopping. I know it's a busy day there. You are going to have a busy day. You've your name tag on. Although I hope you aren't the one helping with my handbag purchase a little later, Mr. Lundgren.

LUNDGREN: I was -- listen, I was here at 8:00 last night. I'm still here. I'm working hard. I'm trying to give -- mostly, I'm good at giving directions.

PEREIRA: Are you a directional guy? That's good. We always need to know where to find the things we want to buy.

Terry Lundgren is the CEO of Macy's. It was a delight to have you on this very busy day. We wish you and your company well for the holiday season.

LUNDGREN: Thanks. Happy holidays, everybody. PEREIRA: To you as well.

PEREIRA: Don?

LEMON: Thank you. Up next on "NEW DAY", we're talking to Walmart's CEO. That's in just a few minutes. What's he expecting on this Black Friday?

And Nigella Lawson, the celebrity chef, versus her husband. Well, he might be taking the stand today in a nasty court battle. What he says could make things even nastier.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Welcome back to "NEW DAY", everyone. It is Friday, November 29th. I'm sure you're full from yesterday, lots of tryptophan kicking in. Wake up! It's time for the top stories now. Rosa Flores.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Grab that cup of coffee. We've got all the news you need to know. And we start off with Black Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FLORES (voice-over): You might have been sleeping off that big dinner, but other people hit the stores looking for the hottest holiday deals. Crowds lining up, not always politely, for clothes, electronics and more. Many stores were open on Thanksgiving Day.

Japanese officials this morning are investigating two small explosions outside a U.S. air base in Tokyo. It happened at 11:00 p.m. local time Thursday as Thanksgiving was wrapping up. Authorities describe it as an improvised device. Investigators found two metal tubes and a timing mechanism. No word yet on who is responsible.

A fatal crash on Thanksgiving in northwest Ohio after a high-speed chase. Authorities say the suspect was traveling at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour on the Ohio turnpike before crashing into a minivan. Two people in the minivan were killed. The driver of the car suffered only minor injuries.

A Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot during a fight with her husband will get a new trial. Marisa Alexander has been freed on bond. The stiff sentence was given under the state's minimum sentencing guidelines. But a state appeals court ruled the judge failed to properly instruct the jury. The self- defense case has drawn comparisons to the George Zimmerman case. Much more on this in the next hour.

And an American foxhound named Jewel won the top dog honors at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. She beat out a bearded collie, a Pekinese and several other pooches. Jewel also made history. She's the first member of the hound group to win best in show at this event. No surprise there. She won the hound group category at Westminster.

PEREIRA: There was so much to watch yesterday, I didn't get to see it.

FLORES: I know!

(END VIDEO TAPE)

LEMON: I watched that, and then I watched the Packers game. That was so cool. And the one -- there was one that looked like the inside of a car wash.

(LAUGHTER)

PEREIRA: I feel like there is a lot to care for when you are grooming them. That's a lot of work.

LEMON: That's a lot of grooming.

FLORES: Very expensive, too.

PEREIRA: Yes, the foxhound, you feed or scratch her belly and you are good.

LEMON: That's the kind of dog you like, right?

(CROSSTALK)

FLORES: Should we talk dogs, Don?

LEMON: No.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: They told me never bring the dog back into the building after that.

FLORES: He ate my sandwich.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: It is a she, but that's OK.

PEREIRA: We have our family secrets here, which we just spilled on national television.

Other family secrets could be spilled today about celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson. Her ex-husband, Charles Saatchi, is expected to testify in the trial of the couple's former assistants. They are accused of defrauding their bosses. But will Saatchi have to address alleged drug use by the celebrity chef?

Let's head to Max Foster who is live from London with are month. The intrigue, Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Michaela, this isn't the most glamorous corner of London. But when Charles Saatchi, this multimillion-dollar art dealer turned up earlier on, a huge media scrum around him, quite extraordinary. This is fundamentally a fraud trial, not necessarily interesting. But what's really grabbing everyone here is all of the detail coming out about what went on in Nigella Lawson's household. That's why so many people have got interested in this.