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Consumers Expect Further Gas Price Hikes, Confidence Drops

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, Ohio, Consumers expect gas prices to jump up to $3.32 a gallon by Father’s Day (June 17th), according to BIGresearch’s May Consumer Intentions Actions Survey (CIA), a study based on responses from more than 8,300 consumers.

“The expectation of ever-increasing gas prices has seeped into consumer attitudes toward the economy as consumer confidence declined to 44.6% in May, vs. 46.5% in April,” said Gary Drenik, president and CEO of BIGresearch. Based on this analysis, it is not surprising that the consumer trend of spending more than they earn may have hit a wall. In fact, 33.3% said they are worse off financially than they were a year ago.

“With expectations for even higher gas prices, consumers continue to look for ways to stretch their paychecks,” Drenik said.

For example, 22% of those polled said they would be buying more store brand/generic products, while 16.8% said they would be doing more comparative shopping online. About 37.9% said they would be shop closer to home, while 30.7% said they would shop for sales more often. Meanwhile, 13.3% said they would shop more online and 40.2% said they would take fewer shopping trips. Additionally, 23.5% said they would shop with coupons more.

In addition, pricing sensitivity for apparel purchases increased in May. Eighteen percent of consumers said they only buy on sale. This number is up from April’s 16.8%.

According to the poll, shoppers in the Midwest are more pessimistic in their responses to gas price impacts and financial well-being.

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Alexander Babbage Acquires Stillerman Jones

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta, International market research company Alexander Babbage Inc. announced that it has acquired Stillerman Jones & Co., the oldest marketing research company in the shopping center industry. The transaction, which closed May 8, is the result of year-long discussions between the two privately held businesses, said Alan McKeon, president of Atlanta-based Alexander Babbage. Stillerman Jones has been absorbed into the shopping center division of Alexander Babbage, effective immediately.

As a result of the acquisition, certain redundant office functions will be eliminated, and Stillerman Jones’ Indianapolis office will be closed. Stillerman Jones’ research staff will be given the choice of relocating to Alexander Babbage’s Atlanta headquarters, or telecommuting through high-speed networks.

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Family Dollar Chief Gets $2.19 Million

BY CSA STAFF

Matthews, N.C., According to Family Dollar Stores’ proxy statement released on Tuesday, CEO Howard Levine received $2.19 million in total compensation for 2006.

Levine’s salary was $728,585. His stock awards totaled $499,842, and his bonuses accounted for $857,537. He also received $99,360 in other compensation.

The $2.19 million does not include nearly $1 million in option awards.

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