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Northwest quick to match Southwest fares; also: Credit crunch not hurting General Mills, customers unhappy with proposed Xcel Energy rates, and millionaires love Target?

Northwest Airlines says it will match Southwest’s fares on flights between Minneapolis and Chicago. Southwest announced at a press conference Thursday that it will sell one-way seats for as low as $69 if booked 21 days in advance. The Dallas-based airline is legendary for its customer service, and unlike Delta and Northwest it does not charge fees for checking luggage.

The global credit crunch is complicating borrowing for some companies, but not General Mills. CEO Kendall Powell said the company’s had no problems accessing financing, Reuters reports. The slowing economy has, if anything, helped the company, as consumers conserve spending by eating out less and buying more at the grocery store.

Xcel Energy’s proposed 7.6 percent rate increase isn’t going over well with some customers. KARE 11 delivered some of their comments and questions to VP Scott Wilensky. He said the company’s costs would be higher if customers hadn’t conserved energy. Public hearings are set for early next year.

Target released disappointing October sales results Thursday, but investors shouldn’t write-off the Minneapolis-based retailer, says columnist Sham Gad at TheStreet.com. Why? Because “millionaires love Target.” There’s anecdotal evidence that some high-rollers are trading down from the Nordstroms and Neiman Marcuses of the world and going for discount chic.

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