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Barry Watts appointed CEO of Screenlife Games

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE Screenlife Games announced Monday the appointment of Barry Watts as its CEO.

Based in Seattle, Wash., Screenlife Games is the creator and world’s leading developer of DVD games, including “Scene It?,” the number-one selling DVD game worldwide. Screenlife Games is a subsidiary of Paramount Digital Entertainment, a division of Paramount Pictures Corp., which is a unit of Viacom.

“We are very excited to have Barry on board as CEO and are confident that he will take this great brand and company to the next level,” stated Thomas Lesinski, president, Paramount Digital Entertainment. “Barry is the ideal person to lead Screenlife Games, given his proven entrepreneurial track record of building companies and new products in the interactive entertainment market.”

In 2008, Screenlife Games released three new “Scene It?” games including “Scene It? Seinfeld”, “Scene It? Disney Channel” and “Scene It? Box Office Smash” for the X-box.  Under Watt’s leadership, Screenlife Games is poised to launch more than fifteen Scene It? and non-Scene It?-licensed products by year-end, adding to its previously announced 2009 launches of “Scene It? Star Trek Deluxe Edition”, “Ice Age: The DVD Game”, “Scene It? Simpsons Deluxe Edition” and “Scene It? 80s Deluxe Edition.”

Prior to his new appointment, Watts served as co-founder and president of MusicandBrands, a self-financed venture he started in 2001, which he grew into a diverse portfolio of products that have been distributed globally into territories including Europe, Australia and the United States.  In addition to the premier interactive digital entertainment products MusicandBrands produced (including High School Musical, “Hannah Montana,” Pirates of the Caribbean, “Trivial Pursuit,” “Deal or No Deal” and “Big Brother,” to name a few), it completed deals with top entertainment media companies such as Walt Disney Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, 4DVD, Hasbro and EMI/Capitol Records, among others.

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Target pushes for healthier U.S.

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target has partnered with RedBrick Health to pilot a wellness program that includes advocates who are available to assist team members with all things related to health. In addition, Target has also become a founding member of the Alliance to Make U.S. Healthiest, a new coalition that strives to help U.S. citizens become more physically and emotionally healthy.

“We firmly believe that healthy team members create a more successful business and vibrant communities,” said Jodee Kozlak, Target’s EVP human resources. “We want all team members and their families to focus on prevention–the key to access and affordability.”

The company’s wellness program includes adopting specific cost containment measures and offer choices to that focus on prevention and wellness. In addition, Target said it supports a national framework for health care that allows multi-state employers to offer consistent and uniform benefits in a cost-effective manner.

Target announced support for national programs as well. As a member of the Alliance to Make U.S. Healthiest, the company will help create a national movement that promotes individual health and well-being throughout local communities. Additionally, Target has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create important, relevant health messages.

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Comps guidance will be key

BY CSA STAFF

The first-quarter financial results Target is set to report tomorrow will be interesting, but the bigger story promises to be the company’s expectations for second-quarter same-store sales growth. The consumer spending environment remains very uncertain, and, although confidence has improved, shoppers remain very selective, and there really isn’t much data to suggest spending will improve anytime soon for home and apparel categories on which Target is highly dependent.

The uncertainty of the spending environment was highlighted last week when Wal-Mart reported first-quarter results and said it expected same-store sales at its U.S. stores to increase in a range of flat to 3%. That is an abnormally wide range of guidance, and it suggests that Wal-Mart, despite having unrivaled insight into the consumer spending climate afforded by its size, essentially has no idea what to expect in the second quarter. Target doesn’t enjoy the predictability of Wal-Mart’s massive food and consumables business so its ability to provide comps guidance is even more challenging. In addition, a major complicating factor in accurately forecasting second-quarter sales is the fact that retailers are cycling against the second quarter of 2008 when millions of Americans received, and promptly spent, economic stimulus checks distributed by the federal government.

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