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Consumer spending rises in April

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. A report released Friday by the Commerce Department said that retail sales inched up 0.4% in April, better than the 0.2% increase economists had expected.

The gain was less than the 2.1% growth in March, but that surge was boosted by an early Easter holiday and auto incentives.

Consumer spending rose in the first three months of this year at the fastest pace in three years, prompting hope from economists that better news on employment will continue to boost spending in coming months.

A report Friday from the Federal Reserve showed that industrial production rose 0.8% in April, better than the 0.6% gain economists had expected. The increase provided further evidence that manufacturing is playing a leading role in supporting the economic recovery.

By retail category, hardware stores experienced a 6.9% increase in spending, and spending was also up at health and beauty shops and gas stations.

Auto sales edged up 0.5%.

Sales at department stores fell 1.5%, and general merchandise stores declined 0.4%. Sales at appliance and electronics stores were down 0.4% in April following an even bigger 1.3% drop in March.

The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at annual rate of 3.2% with that gain led by the biggest advance in consumer spending in three years.

Economists worry spending could falter in the coming months without more growth in income but there have been encouraging signs that job growth is picking up. In April, payroll jobs grew by 290,000, the most in four years. Yet the unemployment rate rose to 9.9% as more people began or resumed job searches — a sign that many are feeling more optimistic about the labor market.

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Sam’s Club named official supplier of the Kansas City Barbeque Society

BY CSA STAFF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Sam’s Club has been named the official supplier of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the world’s largest barbeque organization, KCBS announced.

“We are very excited to be working with Sam’s Club and integrating them like never before into the world of competition barbeque,” said Carolyn Wells, executive director of KCBS. “Sam’s Club has long been a preferred choice of barbeque teams throughout our network, but this new relationship will bring additional benefits to the entire industry as we team up to promote ‘America’s Cuisine’ and help educate grillers nationwide on barbeque tips, techniques and food safety.”

 

As part of the agreement, Sam’s Club will become a presenting sponsor at half a dozen of the barbeque industry’s major events, including the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational BBQ in Lynchburg, Tenn. Additionally, Sam’s Club will provide prizes throughout the season and for the prestigious KCBS Team of the Year competition series in 2010.

 

“Teaming up with KCBS is the perfect complement to our industry-leading meat and fresh departments and will give us an opportunity to show our support while helping the competitors save on their competition needs,” said Robert Fields, senior director of meat and deli for Sam’s Club. “We are very excited about the season and to work with the teams, vendors and restaurant owners as well as budding enthusiasts and long-time fans.”

 

KCBS and Sam’s announced that they will soon launch a “Club Competition and Expo” that will be held in the parking lots of select Sam’s Club locations throughout its regional districts. The Expos will feature educational sessions and live-grilling demos to help Sam’s members learn more about the “low and slow” method of barbequing, as well as other tips and techniques from barbeque pros. Additionally, Sam’s Club members will have the opportunity to sample championship-style barbeque and get hands-on advice and experience from barbeque suppliers on the latest products in the BBQ industry.

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Ross Stores gives $100,000 to fashion scholarship fund

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Ross Stores is providing the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) with a multi-year endowment totaling $100,000, FSF reported.

In addition, FSF and Ross will award a $5,000 scholarship annually to each of four students who demonstrate excellence in retail leadership.  These award recipients will also be offered a summer internship with Ross. This year’s winners from the FSF Class of 2010 include: Alexandra Silvestri from Lehigh University, Chelsea Volpe from Iowa University, Marissa Zappia from Indiana University, and Marlena Filipowska from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Jennifer Vecchio, newly-appointed FSF board member and EVP merchandising for Ross said, “We believe this is an ideal opportunity to create a strategic relationship with an organization that is committed to developing and supporting the next generation of fashion industry leaders.  This partnership also benefits Ross by enabling us to identify and cultivate new talent to support our long-term growth.” 

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