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Halloween Sales on the Rise

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Sale of costumes, candy, decorations and cards are expected to exceed $5 billion this year, according to New York-based Brand Keys, Inc., a customer loyalty research consultancy.

Fueled by warmer weather and earlier availability of Halloween products, 75% of consumers polled reported that they will celebrate Halloween this year, up dramatically from last year in all demographic groups.

The average consumer plans to spend $75 on Halloween, compared to $60 spent last year. In addition, nearly three-quarters of consumers will purchase Halloween decorations, the report said. Overall, retailers around the country are reporting sales increases of 20%, the report said.

“The increases are due to more in-store displays, more and better promotions, and to the fact that Halloween candy was tied in with earlier back-to-school sales,” said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys president. “The warmer weather didn’t hurt either.”

Projected spending for 2007 places Halloween as the sixth-largest spending holiday following these holiday leaders: Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza; Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day.

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Whole Foods expands ESL use in Southwest

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods has expanded its use of electronic shelf labeling throughout its Southwest division, according to reports.

The switch from paper to digital labels occurred three years ago, which Whole Foods claims is environmentally friendly as it reduces the amount of paper and plastic used when prices are changed. Its success has led to all stores in Texas and Louisiana to make the switch.

“It saves us a lot of labor and materials,” said Michael Maynard, head of Whole Foods Southwest Regional Information Technology. “We used to use a little vinyl shelf tag that we put on a plastic chip and put that on the shelf. You can imagine how much labor (switching) saved us.”

Maynard added that electronic shelf labeling allows Whole Foods to react more quickly to changes in competitor prices.

“If somebody has lower prices down the street, we can change the whole category down to the price as well,” he said.

The company uses thousands of digital shelf tags, which cost about $5 each.

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Ahold to sell Tops chain for $310M

BY CSA STAFF

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands Ahold yesterday announced that it is selling its Tops Markets chain to a private equity firm for $310 million. The company added that the divestment of Tops is part of its strategic review announced in November 2006.

Ahold said it sold the chain to Morgan Stanley Private Equity and that the transaction is expected to close in ther fourth quarter of this year. 

Tops operates stores in western New York, mid-state New York including the Rochester area, and northwestern Pennsylvania under the banners of Tops Markets and Martin’s Super Food Stores. Tops currently employs approximately 10,000 full- and part-time associates.

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