FINANCE

Firm Projects Slowest Holiday Growth Rate in Years

BY CSA STAFF

Stamford, Conn., ?Archstone Consulting, a management consultancy and brand-innovation firm, said that holiday retail sales will increase 3% in 2007, barely keeping pace with the projected inflation rate of 2.7%. This reflects the slowest growth rate in retail holiday sales over the last five years.

“Retailers will see limited growth in holiday spending, resulting in a ‘season of discounts’ that will reward savvy shoppers,” said Dave Sievers, retail and consumer-products practice leader of Archstone Consulting. “Retailers have already begun aggressive discounting.

“While this tactic will drive shoppers to the stores, it won’t allow retailers to overcome the adverse economic factors that will affect sales, including the downturn in housing and a tightening credit market.”

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Talbots hires consulting firm for brand focus

BY CSA STAFF

HINGHAM, Mass. Talbots announced today that it is has retained a leading global business consulting firm to help assess the company’s brand positioning.

“The decision to evaluate the positioning of our brands in the marketplace is one of the important initiatives that our team is undertaking,” said Trudy Sullivan, president and ceo of Talbots. “Talbots remains a strong brand that resonates powerfully with our customers, and the insights derived from these efforts will help us to build on that strength to keep our brand relevant, fresh and consistent.”

In addition to finding new branding opportunities for Talbots, the company reported that the consulting firm will also help with operating matters, store growth, productivity, non-core concepts, and distribution channels. The consulting engagement is expected to be completed by the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

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H-E-B enters recycling partnership in Houston

BY CSA STAFF

HOUSTON H-E-B and Abitibi-Consolidated, one of the largest recyclers of newspapers and magazines in North America, are joining forces to offer more recycling opportunities to Houston area residents.

Under a new public/private recycling partnership with the city of Houston, the Texas-based grocer H-E-B will place 84 recycling containers at store properties located throughout the Greater Houston region. Abitibi- Consolidated will collect and weigh the recycled materials and directly pay the local affiliates of Keep Texas Beautiful based on the company’s per weight pay scale.

“Abitibi-Consolidated is dedicated to making recycling a part of everyone’s daily routine,” said Abitibi-Consolidated recycling division vp, Sylvain Yves-Longval. “By offering collection containers at participating H-E-B store locations, we are providing an easy and convenient option for citizens in the Greater Houston region to drop off their recyclables.”

According to the company, the recycling partnership with H-E-B marks the first time Abitibi- Consolidated has committed to a multi-site arrangement with a singular private entity to collect multiple materials.

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