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FRUIT BREWS

BY CSA STAFF

Better known, traditionally, in Europe than the United States or even Canada, fruit beers are gaining popularity in North America.

A tradition in Belgium and Germany, fruit beers are brewed to complement sweet foods and desserts. However, on this side of the Atlantic, they are being promoted, to some extent, as seasonals.

Sam Adams helped to popularize fruit beers in the United States with its cherry wheat style. Now, Anheuser-Busch has followed suit. This spring, the company launched its own fruit flavored line under the Michelob banner.

Michelob Ultra Fruit Infused Pomegranate Raspberry, Tuscan Orange Grapefruit and Lime Cactus (pictured) are the new flavor additions. The fruity brews help to make beer more compatible with specific foods and satisfy consumer cravings for new taste sensations.

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Best Buy launches new business program

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy announced Thursday that it has launched a new program to help identify what it calls the “invisible business customer.” Starting this month, the company is identifying products that are tailored for business use with the label “Professional Series.” According to the company, the labels will appear on business products on retail shelves, on in-store signage, on BestBuy.com and in Best Buy’s weekly advertising insert. Best Buy for Business also will train specially-selected store employees to help business customers navigate their purchasing experience in-store and provide an introduction to additional business resources available from Best Buy.

The Professional Series label will initially feature notebook computers and networking equipment and extend to printing products, GPS and navigational equipment, digital cameras, storage products and mobile and landline phones over the course of the next six months. This expansion of Best Buy for Business into all U.S. stores is designed to bring customers shopping for both their businesses and their personal needs more access and clarity on business technology as well as assistance in navigating emerging technologies. In order for a product to earn the “Professional Series” label, it must fulfill a variety of category-specific criteria and features designed to alleviate common business pain points.

“Business customers have been walking in and out of our stores for years without receiving specialized attention or fully understanding how the various products in our store can work together to improve their businesses. That’s going to change,” said David Hemler, president of Best Buy for Business. “We are taking steps to identify business customers, help direct them to the products and solutions they need for their businesses, and reward them through our loyalty program.”

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Retail Ventures reports quarterly sales gain

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, Ohio Retail Ventures announced Thursday total sales for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 4 increased 7% to $732.7 million from $684.5 million for the thirteen weeks ended July 29, 2006. The company’s same-store sales increased 0.3% for the comparable 13-week period.

Total sales for the twenty-six weeks ended Aug. 4 increased 5.7% to $1.49 billion from $1.41 billion for the twenty-six weeks ended July 29, 2006. The company’s same-store sales decreased 2.6% for the comparable 26-week period.

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