OPERATIONS

Confidence up in April

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Consumers grew more confident in April amid job gains and slightly declining gas prices. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment increased to a three-month high of 74.3 from 69.8 in April.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to be unchanged from the preliminary figure. At the same time, income expectations remained at low levels.

"Sagging real incomes have made consumers more cautious spenders, with rising gas prices especially troublesome for younger and lower income households," Richard Curtin, director of the survey, said in a statement. “The data continue to indicate the maintenance of a moderate pace of consumer spending during the balance of 2011."

The Michigan survey’s current conditions gauge, which reflects Americans’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like cars, decreased to 81.9 from 82.5 the prior month.

Consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, of consumer spending rose to 69.5, the highest since February, from 61.6, the confidence report showed.

The survey’s gauge of consumer expectations jumped to 69.5 from April’s 61.6. It also came in above a predicted reading of 67.5.

The survey’s barometer of current economic conditions was 81.9, slipping from April’s 82.5 but topping forecasts of 80.2.

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Report: India closer to allowing foreign retail investment

BY CSA STAFF

New Delhi, India —India will announce new rules for foreign investment in retail by April 2012, which would pave the way for such retailers as Wal-Mart Stores, Carrefour SA and other large chains to open stores in the country, Bloomberg reported.

“We are much further down the process than people think,” said Junior Trade Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in an interview with Bloomberg. “I think it is a huge opportunity for India.”

Indian law limits foreign retail investment to ownership of wholesale stores or 51% holdings in single-brand shops. The government prohibits non-Indian companies from operating multi-brand outlets to protect local store owners.

India is the third-most attractive retail market for global retailers among the thirty largest emerging markets, according to AT Kearney. The growing middle class, expanding economy and increasingly brand-conscious population will help push retail sales up by 35% during the next three years, the company said in a June report.

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Alliance Data extends agreement to provide private-label credit cards to Victoria’s Secret

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems Corp., a provider of loyalty and marketing solutions derived from transaction-rich data, announced it has signed a long-term extension agreement with Victoria’s Secret, a subsidiary of Limited Brands, Inc., to provide private-label credit card services.

terms of the extension, Alliance Data will continue to provide end-to-end private-label credit card services for the Victoria’s Secret credit card from account acquisition to customer service.

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