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Discretionary spending down in June

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales declined during the month of June, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

U.S. retail and food services sales for the month, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $401.5 billion, an decrease of 0.5% from the previous month but 3.8% above the year-ago period. Retail trade sales were down 0.5% from last month but 3.5% above last year.

Looking across retail categories, adjusted sales at grocery stores during the month of April increased about 0.1% to roughly $47.06 billion. Health and personal care stores saw a slight decline to nearly $22.8 billion. Retail sales for drug stores and pharmacies were not recorded; however, sales experienced a slight drop from April to May (about $19.14 billion). General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and remained flat unadjusted year-over-year.

Commenting on the results, the National Retail Federation said there is "no doubt about it that consumers cooled off on discretionary spending this spring."

"While the retail industry remains confident in an incremental recovery, today’s statistics should concern every policy-maker in Washington, and compel them to revisit burdensome regulations and job-killing tax increases set to take effect early next year," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said.

Added NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, "Weak economic numbers over the past few weeks have increased anxiety about the future direction of the economy. Today’s data is discouraging but not demoralizing. If you look at the first half of the year overall, retail sales actually increased 4.6% year-over-year, indicating that the economy is improving but maybe not quick enough to impact consumer spending and job growth."

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Wounded Warriors are winners with Acosta initiative

BY CSA STAFF

The nation’s leading retailers and consumer brands have joined forces to benefit America’s veterans thanks to an innovative program developed by Acosta Sales and Marketing.

Beginning on Sept. 11 and running through Veterans Day on Nov. 11, a program called Believe in Heroes is designed to raise awareness of American veterans injured in service to their country and raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit group focused on helping injured veterans. Through the collaborative efforts of participating brands and retailers, the Believe in Heroes campaign is expected to raise as much as $4.5 million this year. Each brand who participates in the Believe in Heroes campaign offers a high value coupon in a special, free-standing insert to be circulated to 50 million households nationwide in Sunday, Nov. 4 newspapers.

The coupons don’t physically appear in the FSI, but rather those seeking to save money are directed to the Wounded Warrior Web site where the coupons can be downloaded. The FSI will appear as an oversize insert in the News America SmartSource coupon delivery vehicle. The approach is designed to generate traffic to the organization’s website and increase awareness of the group’s purpose.

As a provider of outsourced sales, marketing and retail merchandising services to many of the nation’s leading retailers and brands, Acosta occupies a unique position from which to create and execute such a broad-based program.

As Don Voss, EVP Acosta, explained, the Believe in Heroes program got its start three years ago when the former CEO of Acosta was out to dinner with his wife at a Jacksonville area restaurant. While the couple was waiting for their name to be called they struck up a conversation with an individual who was involved with the Wounded Warrior program.

“The timing was perfect because Acosta had been looking for a reason to rally the retail and CPG industry around an event or cause,” Voss said.

The company approached Winn-Dixie and the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) to launch the program in 2010 on a regional basis. The meaningful and timely cause drew a high level of support from brands and thanks to strong shopper activation the decision was made to roll the program out nationally last year. In 2011, Acosta enlisted more than 50 brands and 65 retailers, which enabled the program to generate $3.5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project.

“It was a phenomenal success story considering it was the first year for the event nationally,” Voss said.
This year, expectations are even higher with projections calling for $4.5 million to be raised.

“We are delighted with the success of this program and excited to be partnering with the Wounded Warrior Project because it is a great organization,” Voss said.

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Daffy’s to close all 19 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — New York City metro area retailer Daffy’s is going out of business. The discount apparel chain will close all of its 19 stores (eight of which are in Manhattan) this fall, according to various reports.

The closings are not totally unexpected. In June, Crain’s New York Business reported that Daffy’s was having trouble paying its vendors.

“Daffy’s is a shade of its former self and does not have access to the labels as it once did,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the retail group at Prudential Douglas Elliman, noting stiff competition from the likes of Century 21, Topshop and H&M, in the Crain’s report. “Quite frankly, there are just much more and better choices for affordable fashion than ever before.”

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