A sales assistant arranges handbags inside a Chanel boutique at a shopping mall in central Guangzhou, China, in February 2014. Alex Lee/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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In Boston, nearly 9 feet of snow this winter has kept shoppers out of stores, putting a strain on the local economy. bettlebrox/Flickr hide caption

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Target shoppers Kelly Foley (from left), Debbie Winslow and Ann Rich use a smartphone to look at a competitor's prices while shopping shortly after midnight on Black Friday, in South Portland, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty/AP hide caption

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A New York Stock Exchange trader works on the floor on Dec. 17. Stocks rose nearly 300 points after the Federal Reserve announced it plans to begin raising interest rates next year. Andrew Burton/Getty Images hide caption

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The Capitol's dome and Christmas tree are illuminated on Dec. 11 as Congress worked to pass a $1.1 trillion U.S. government-wide spending bill and avoid a government shutdown. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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John Harris makes a weld for a test during a welding class at Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg, S.C., on Oct. 22. Mike Belleme for NPR hide caption

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The New England Aquarium traded 800 mackerel for 12 puffins. OnceAndFutureLaura/Flickr hide caption

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Planet Money

A Dozen Puffins Will Get You 800 Mackerel: Inside The Weird Economy Of Zoos

Zoos and aquariums almost never buy or sell animals. But trade is thriving.

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Not every business has been hurt by the Ebola epidemic: Stephen Kollie says his newspaper stand is thriving because people are hungry for the latest Ebola information. But many of his usual expatriate customers have left the country, he says. Tommy Trenchard for NPR hide caption

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People wait to sign up for unemployment Sept. 3 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, N.J., where thousands of workers at the closing Revel and Showboat casinos recently were laid off. Mel Evans/AP hide caption

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Dollar Tree recently announced it will buy Family Dollar Stores for about $8.5 billion in cash and stock. Discount stores have been doing well in the recession. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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