OPERATIONS

Asda Details Expansion

BY CSA STAFF

London Asda Group Ltd., a unit of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., unveiled a $776 million expansion that will create more than 9,000 jobs this year, and challenged suppliers to cut costs as customers tighten their belts amid rising living costs.

The company plans to open up to 22 stores and build 12 extensions, totaling 800,000 sq. ft., after attracting 2 million new customers through its doors last year.

Asda grew faster than all its major competitors both in terms of comparable and total sales in 2007, CEO Andy Bond told reporters at a briefing.

Of the 9,000 new jobs, 7,000 will be created through the opening of between 10 and 12 new superstores, 10 Living stores and 12 extensions to existing outlets. A further 1,500 jobs will be created through the expansion of home shopping and Asda Direct.

The continued rollout of Asda’s pharmacy business will also create 500 new jobs, through the opening of 50 new in-store pharmacies.

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Disney unveils new line of interactive toys

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Disney announced today that it has launched a new line of Disney Fairies toys featuring Clickables technology. The interactive toys, Disney reported, were created as an exclusive collaboration with Techno Source.

The Disney Fairies toys, according to Disney, allow users to connect in the Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow, an online virtual world.

“The future of toys is about connecting online and offline play,” said Chris Heatherly, vp of technology and innovation for Disney Consumer Products. “Kids and tweens are quickly embracing virtual worlds and, while there are several Internet-related toys in the market today, the play ends when the computer gets shut down. With our new line of Disney Fairies toys featuring Clickables technology, we’re bringing the fun of social networking, collecting, and trading into the real world so that girls can extend the fun of the enchanting online world of Pixie Hollow to school, the park, or wherever they may be.”

The Disney Fairies line will range in price from $4.99 to $29.99 for interactive charms, bracelets and jewelry boxes.

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Farrah to head power tool unit at TTI-North America

BY CSA STAFF

ANDERSON, S.C. Techtronic Industries Co. has appointed Mike Farrah as power tool division president for TTI-North America. In his new position, Farrah will have full responsibility for the business as it relates to the Ryobi and RIDGID brands, including operations, product development, sales and marketing.

“Mike is a recognized leader with an extensive background in the power tool industry,” said Mr. Joseph Galli Jr., ceo of TTI. “His knowledge of our business from the retail perspective has proven invaluable. Since he joined TTI last year, Mike has led our power tool business to new heights, and I’m sure he will continue to excel in his expanded role.”

Farrah joined TTI in March 2007 as senior vp of power tool sales, marketing and product development. Previously, Farrah spent 10 years at The Home Depot in roles with increasing responsibility, including global product merchant for power tools. Prior to that, he spent an additional 10 years in the manufacturing and construction industries.

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