Economy Briefs: Apple: iPhone 5 in stores Sept. 21

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The largest U.S. specialty toy retailer outlined its plan for its busiest season Wednesday — including adding a “hot toy” reservation system, beefing up services like layaway and ship-to-store, and offering more exclusive toys like its $149.99 Tabeo tablet.

The holidays are crucial for retailers, particularly toy stores. The season can account for up to 40 percent of annual sales.

In the biggest change, Toys R Us, based in Wayne, N.J., will offer a “hot toy” reservation system starting over the next few days — when the company announces its 50 products on its annual ‘hot toy’ list. The reservation system will run through the end of October.

Toys must be reserved in stores — in order to avoid online scammers — and customers have to put down 20 percent to reserve the toy.

GASOLINE

Prices hit $8 in N.J., Pa. in Lukoil protest

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. — More than 50 Lukoil gas stations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania were jacking up prices to more than $8 a gallon Wednesday to protest what they say are unfair pricing practices by Lukoil North America that they say leave them at a competitive disadvantage.

Sal Risalvato of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association said the protest was aimed at raising consumer awareness about the challenges facing Lukoil dealers and to get Lukoil to respond to dealer grievances.

He said Lukoil engages in various practices that force franchisees to pay higher prices for their fuel than competitors. It is not uncommon for Lukoil dealers to see a competitor selling gas to the public for considerably less than what they’re paying Lukoil for their latest delivery, he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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