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Consumer spending stays flat

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. — U.S. consumer spending averaged $86 a day in April 2013, according to new figures from Gallup. This number is essentially flat compared to $89 in March and $83 in February.

According to Gallup analysis, the lack of change in consumer spending in recent months may reflect the recent increase in payroll tax, as well as the early Easter holiday. Consumer spending remains well above levels recorded during the economic recession of 2008-2011.

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Staples beats major retailers to the 3D punch

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Staples has become the first major U.S. retailer to have 3D printers available for purchase.

The Cube 3D Printer from 3D Systems, a leading global provider of 3D content-to-print solutions, is already available on Staples.com for $1,299.99 and will be available in a limited number of Staples stores by the end of June.

The Cube 3D Printer, ready to use right out of the box, features Wi-Fi, is compatible with Mac or Windows and comes with 25 free 3D templates designed by professional artists, with additional templates available online.

“Staples is excited to bring the power of 3D printing to our customers, by being the first major U.S. retailer to announce the availability of this innovative technology that lets you create fully formed objects in your home or small business,” said Mike Edwards, Staples EVP of merchandising. “Staples is known for carrying the latest technology and 3D printers are the most recent example of our commitment to offering every product your business needs to succeed.”

3D printing has been hailed as a revolutionary method and an efficient technology for manufacturing, allowing for the creation of shapes or objects using digital technology. For companies creating new products, 3D printing can make it easier to design and test new concepts, and decrease the time to market.

“We are absolutely thrilled that a leader and innovator of the caliber of Staples is making it easy to get our award winning Cube 3D Printer family on-line and in their stores,” said Avi Reichental, 3D Systems’ president and CEO. “Staples is the ideal partner to deliver the only true plug and play 3D Printer to offices, living rooms, classrooms and hobby shops, extending our reach and consumer access.”

The Cube 3D printer can print items up to 5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5”, using material cartridges in 16 different colors including metallic silver, glow in the dark and vibrant and neutral colors. Users can either print from a template or create a design using Cube’s own software, Cubify Invent, which is sold separately. Staples also has in stock essential accessories, including recyclable ABS and compostable PLA plastic cartridge refills, replenishment CubeSticks, which are used to stabilize the object being printed, and replacement Cube Print Pads.

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Budweiser fundraiser to benefit military families

BY CSA STAFF

ST. LOUIS — For every Budweiser sold between now and July 4, the company will donate a portion of proceeds to the Folds of Honor Foundation to support military families.

Since 2010, Budweiser has raised more than $5 million for the Folds of Honor Foundation and provided more than 1,000 educational scholarships to the families of soldiers killed or disabled in service. In 2013, for every case of Budweiser sold from May 5 to July 4, the brand will make a donation up to $1 million to the Folds of Honor Foundation. To kick off the program, the Anheuser-Busch Foundation is donating an additional $500,000, with a total of $1.5 million possible for Folds of Honor.

"The Folds of Honor Foundation gives back, through scholarships and other assistance, to the families of soldiers wounded or fallen while serving their country," said Lori Shambro, director of Budweiser. "This is why Budweiser has supported this great organization for the last several years and why, once again, buying Budweiser will benefit military families through the Fourth of July holiday."

Each Budweiser — including draught — sold between May 5 and July 4 will trigger a donation, including some new items set to hit store shelves. These new items include:

Budweiser’s limited-edition red, white and blue packaging. This year’s patriotic packaging will start appearing in stores in late May and will be available in 12 oz bottles and a variety of can sizes (12 oz, 16 oz, 24 oz). The patriotic theme continues on secondary packaging for all of the top-selling configurations, including 6-packs, 12-packs, 24-packs and other popular sizes.

A unique bowtie-shaped can (available in a new, not-previously-offered 8 pack) that will be available in stores on May 6.

"No matter what the package color, shape or size: America’s beer supports America’s heroes because from May to July, buying Budweiser benefits military families," Shambro said. "Our partnership with Folds of Honor is helping to make a difference in the lives of families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we all hold so dear."

This is one component in a series of activations Budweiser has in store for its 2013 "red, white and blue summer" initiative. As part of this program, the Budweiser Clydesdales will visit military bases across the United States during a series of barbecues to celebrate the men and women in the U.S. armed forces.

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