- - Tuesday, September 13, 2011

OREGON

Daily deal site sets record with Whole Foods

PORTLAND — Daily deal site LivingSocial hit a record-selling pace Tuesday with an offer at Whole Foods Market Inc., its first nationwide grocery deal.

The offer lets shoppers buy $20 worth of products at Whole Foods for $10. LivingSocial said it was selling roughly 115,000 an hour, which company spokesman Andrew Weinstein said is its fastest-selling offer ever. That’s about 30 deals sold per second.

“It is a staggering rate,” he said.

The company planned to sell up to 1 million of the deals. They went up for sale at 5 a.m. Eastern Time and were scheduled to run until the same time Wednesday. However, by midday Tuesday about half were gone, and the deal was expected to sell out early.

The offer is available to anyone who registers for LivingSocial or is an existing member of the site.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, which already is seeing higher traffic and sales trends in its stores, was not immediately available to comment. The company plans to donate 5 percent of the sale price to its Whole Kids Foundation, which supports children’s nutrition and wellness.

LivingSocial, based in the District, is the second-largest daily deal company behind Groupon and has run grocery offers before for regional or specialty retailers. But large supermarkets and grocery stores typically shy away from such deep discounts because they already operate on thin profit margins and offer a host of other promotions already.

RHODE ISLAND

Twister among finalists for toy hall of fame

PAWTUCKET — Twister and the Rubik’s Cube are among six Hasbro toy and game lines that have been named finalists for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced the 12 finalists, which also include the Pawtucket-based company’s Transformers, Star Wars action figures, Jenga and the Simon electronic flash game. Also in the running are the dollhouse, Mattel’s Hot Wheels, Dungeons & Dragons, the pogo stick, puppets and radio-controlled vehicles.

Two will be selected for induction in November.

Forty-six toys have earned a place in the Rochester, N.Y.-based Hall of Fame. Among them are Crayola crayons, Silly Putty and Hasbro’s Mr. Potato Head and the Easy-Bake Oven. Toys are chosen for induction based on several criteria, including “icon status,” longevity and innovation

NEW JERSEY

AC uses Boardwalk promos to drive new casino biz

ATLANTIC CITY — Everyone knows Boardwalk and Park Place are the two most expensive spots on the Monopoly board.

But what might not be known is that such a spot really does exist.

A life-sized Monopoly board on the real-life Atlantic City Boardwalk is one way the gambling resort is trying to drive new business into its casinos. It’s located on the Boardwalk at Park Place.

Also on the Boardwalk is a life-sized replica of the storefronts that appear in the hit HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”

Caesars Entertainment spokesman Jerry Eisenband says the attractions capitalize on Atlantic City’s worldwide fame and long history.

NEW YORK

Facebook to organize friends in ‘smart lists’

NEW YORK — It’s a modern-day dilemma: You really want your Facebook friends to see that wild party photo of you wearing bunny ears. But you’re not so keen on explaining it to your mother-in-law.

Well, Facebook aims to make life easier.

Beginning Wednesday, the social network will make it easier to share photos, posts and links with smaller, isolated groups of people. While the site has allowed users to separate their friends into lists since 2007, this option took quite a bit of work and only a small fraction of Facebook users took advantage of it.

Now, Facebook will automatically group your friends based on whether they live near you, went to your school or work with you. You can read posts or share updates with specific groups instead of dozens, or hundreds, of “friends” at a time. Facebook will use the colleges, workplaces and geographic locations that users share on the site to organize people into groups. Called “smart lists,” the feature is optional to use, and the lists are customizable.

“Users don’t really want to spend a lot of time creating and maintaining friend lists,” said Naomi Gleit, the director of product at Facebook who worked on the feature.

In addition, you can create your own friend groups with as few or as many as you would like, based around hobbies, work projects or relatives, for example.

From wire dispatches and staff reports