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Deloitte Consumer Spending Index dips in December

BY Staff Writer

New York City — The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index slightly dropped in December despite small improvements in three-out-of-four components.

The index — which is comprised of tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — fell to 1.86 from a reading of 1.93 the previous month. Because of this drop, the ability for consumers to continue to spend at the rates seen in 2011 may be in question, Deloitte said.

“The new year brings new demands on retailers,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail and distribution sector leader at Deloitte LLP. “In addition to a challenging economic climate, shifts in consumer behavior — from price consciousness to technology adoption — will force retailers to find new ways to remain relevant to their customers in 2012. Retailers should align talent, physical space, processes and technology in a way that moves the in-store environment from transactional to a complete and engaging brand experience.”

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Retail consultancy announces management changes

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Management consultancy Kurt Salmon announced John Karonis will move into the role of deputy chief executive officer and Brooks Kitchel, long-time retail specialist, will replace Karonis as head of the firm’s global retail and consumer products group.

"With these promotions, we are aligning Kurt Salmon’s deep expertise and experience with the needs of our global client base to propel our firm forward," said Kurt Salmon CEO Chiheb Mahjoub. "We have 75 years of excellence in the retail and consumer products sector. Brooks Kitchel will carry on that storied tradition, advising industry leaders around the world."

Kitchel brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his role. Named one of Consulting magazine’s Top 25 Consultants for Client Service and Leadership in 2009, his expertise covers execution of major change efforts focused on both growth and cost-cutting. Kitchel’s clients include many of the world’s most renowned retailers.

"My objective is to build on the significant contributions John [Karonis] has made to our global practice," said Kitchel. "We are a client-centric organization, and my aim is to keep pushing us in that direction."

As deputy CEO, Karonis will focus on optimizing firm operations, leveraging nearly 25 years of experience helping clients with inventory optimization and supply chain strategy and systems.

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Walmart revs up NASCAR partnership

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced that it is expanding its Race Time 2012 program to give fans more accessibility to discounted race tickets, driver appearances and fan events at stores, a greater selection of authentic NASCAR merchandise and a special sponsorship of Bill Elliott at the Coke Zero 400.

Walmart’s Race Time program, launched last year, gives fans authentic merchandise and fan events at Walmart stores in every NASCAR Sprint Cup series race market. This year, Walmart said it has more than tripled the number of companies offering displays of authentic merchandise, doubled the number of fan events at stores and increased the race markets where the $99 Walmart Family Track Pack will be offered.

“Our mission is to bring accessibility and affordability to NASCAR fans,” said Rand Waddoups, senior Director, Entertainment Properties and Brands, Walmart. “We know our customers love NASCAR, so we are going to be a one-stop shop where they can save on discounted family tickets and authentic merchandise, as well as meet some of their favorite drivers.”

Walmart’s Race Time 2012 program specifics include:

  • Elliott appearances at Walmart stores throughout the racing season leading up to the Daytona race on July 7, giving fans a chance to meet him in person.

  • In participating race markets, Walmart will offer a $99 Walmart Family Track Pack that includes four discounted race tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and a race program. The package saves fans more than $100 and will be available online at Walmart.com as well as in Ticketmaster kiosks in selected Walmart stores.

  • NASCAR fan events at stores in every race market throughout the season will feature real stock car race displays, special appearances by professional drivers and racing simulator machines.

  • Participating stores will offer authentic NASCAR T-shirts, racing flags and other NASCAR branded merchandise, as well as tailgating food and beverages.

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