OPERATIONS

Ann Inc. launches Commitment to Action initiative

BY Staff Writer

New York — Ann Inc. announced Tuesday at the Clinton Global Initiative that it will expand on its Vital Voices initiative with a program it is calling “Commitment to Action.”

The parent company of Ann Taylor and Loft piloted its ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative in 2011 as a groundbreaking partnership with international NGO, Vital Voices Global Partnership. The effort aims to train and empower young women in the U.S. to create positive social change in their local communities and become the next generation of leaders.

Starting this year, and through 2014, Ann Inc. said it will invest more than $1.3 million in the ANNpower Initiative through its ANN Cares charitable platform. In doing so, the company will provide leadership training to at least 50 Fellows annually, selected through a competitive, national application process of female high school juniors and seniors. After completing leadership training, each Fellow develops a project designed to create positive social change within their home community and will be eligible to receive an ANNpower Project Grant to put her ideas into action. The 2012 grants will be awarded in October.

“As a company for women, Ann Inc. is passionate about women’s issues and we are so proud to have our work supported by the Clinton Global Initiative,” said Kay Krill, president and CEO. “With this commitment, we intend to grow the ANNpower Initiative by expanding leadership training, offering additional mentorship, and raising the visibility of the issue through involvement of high-profile women.”

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Rapper T-Pain to promote Moskato Life beverage

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — Beverage maker Phusion Projects has named Grammy Award winning musician T-Pain as a partner in the Moskato Life brand.

As part of the relationship, T-Pain will drive awareness for the malt-based, progressive adult beverage via music, videos, product promotional materials and contests. The partnership will uniquely utilize social media platforms, including Mobli, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to activate the Moskato Life and T-Pain fan communities around special offerings.

"We are extremely excited to welcome T-Pain as partner in our brand," said Chris Hunter, co-managing partner of Phusion Projects. "He perfectly embodies the Moskato Life and he is on-board as a full and active partner in the business."

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Consumer Electronics Association sees boost in technology confidence

BY CSA STAFF

ARLINGTON, Va. — Consumers are growing more confident in technology and plan on spending more in this area, according to the latest CEA Index released today by the Consumer Electronics Association. The CEA Index also showed that consumer confidence in the overall economy improved this month.

Consumers’ confidence to spend on technology reached its highest September level in the history of the CEA Index and its fifth highest level for any single-month period. The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE) rose 4.9 points this month, reaching 92.4. The ICTE, which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, is 10.5 points higher year-over-year and is at its highest level since December 2011.

“There were several key high-tech product announcements this month which served as an important catalyst for tech buying heading into the fourth quarter and the holiday shopping season,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research. “This month’s measure of sentiment is at levels typically only seen during the height of the holiday buying season, an indication that consumers are likely to buy and spend more on tech in the weeks ahead.”

Consumer sentiment toward the overall economy also rose in September. The CEA Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) increased 3.5 points from August, reaching 172.2. The ICE, which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, is nearly 15.4 points higher than this time last year.

“Despite rising gas prices, uncertainties overseas, domestic elections and the slow recovery of the U.S. economy, an improved stock market and an increase in housing prices has consumers feeling more confident about their financial future,” said DuBravac. “The wealth effects are real and will help consumers feel as if they are on firmer ground financially.”

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