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Editor’s Pick: C&A Brazil

BY Marianne Wilson

Luxury and style take center stage at the new C&A Brazil flagship in Shopping Center Iguatemi, San Paulo, Brazil.

The design, by Chute Gerdeman Retail, Columbus, Ohio, creates an entirely new C&A brand expression, and elevates the in-store experience through luxurious material finishes, arresting visual presentation, iconic architecture, compelling brand messaging and unique customer services.

Drawing inspiration from the soul and spirit of the Brazilian Woman, the design team created a store drenched in light and energy. Glamorous gloss and metallic finishes enhance the modern feel. In a novel twist, collections are organized by attitude and lifestyle — looks include City, Fashion, Sensual, and Romantic

At the heart of the store is a wide, circular staircase that draws the shopper up through the space with a dynamic digital fashion-wall. The three-story, moving LED display wraps the staircase in constantly-changing light, movement and energy.

“We had to find ways to improve customer circulation, open up spaces, and add energy to an otherwise vanilla shell,” said Lynn Rosenbaum, director of retail environments at Chute Gerdeman “The three-story LED staircase became the glowing beacon for the store, and served as our design nucleus.”

The store experience is enhanced by such added features as a boutique featuring up-and-coming Brazilian designers; an in-store Havaianas shop; and a luxurious lingerie department complete with a Champagne Bar.

Click here to see more photos of the C&A store.

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March Consumer Reports Index sign of economic improvement

BY CSA STAFF

YONKERS, N.Y.— In another positive sign for the economy, the March Consumer Reports Index reveals its most positive results in two years.

According to Consumer Reports National Research Center, which conducts the survey,the Consumer Sentiment Index has broken into positive territory at 50.3, which is up from 48.7 a month ago. This is the first time sentiment has been in positive territory since it was first measured in October 2008.

Driving the gain in consumer sentiment, the Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker Index, which is the measure of the financial difficulties faced by consumers, fell sharply to 44.8, down nearly 10 points from the prior month (58.7). The Trouble Tracker Index is now at its lowest level since it was first reported in April 2008. Declines were evident for a wide range of reported financial difficulties in the past 30 days.

The Consumer Reports Stress Index, a measure of the stress consumers feel in their everyday lives versus a year ago, is also down slightly in March to 58.7 from 59.3 the prior month, though it is up from the prior year (57.7). The survey results about consumer spending still have not shown the same optimism.

"The March index provides the most encouraging results that we have seen since we started the index more than two years ago," said Ed Farrell, a director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center. "Consumers may be feeling that they are finally makes strides in the right direction when it comes to their financial well-being."

After remaining locked at 49.2 for the past three months, the Consumer Reports Employment Index is up slightly to 49.7, and is also up versus one year ago (48.7). Weak job growth remains the core problem with employment. The improvement in the Employment Index this month was the result of a drop in job losses in the past 30 days (5.3%) versus the prior month (6.7%); however job creation remains weak, with 4.6% starting a new job in the past 30 days, down slightly from the prior month (5.2%).

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Walmart extends offer to Illinois-based Amazon affiliates

BY CSA STAFF

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Walmart has joined the likes of Sears and Barnes & Noble in offering Amazon.com affiliates the opportunity to join its own network. The retailer today issued an open invitation to all Illinois online affiliates to explore the opportunity to join Walmart.com’s affiliate network. This invitation comes as Amazon.com and Overstock.com threaten to terminate their relationships with all Illinois affiliates should H.B. 3659 (Main Street Fairness Act) be signed into law.

"We applaud and support the members of the General Assembly and Governor Quinn for their leadership in supporting this retail fairness legislation," said Julie Murphy, SVP operations for Walmart. "This legislation will create a level playing field for online-only retailers and brick-and-mortar retailers."

Walmart said it currently partners with more than 45 Illinois-based affiliates representing millions of dollars in revenue. The company reported that will continue to collect and remit all sales taxes due on all Walmart.com sales to alleviate all regulatory burdens from its customers. Any affiliate interested in working with Walmart.com should visit www.affiliates.walmart.com.

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