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ICSC calls for 3% gain in holiday sales, down from 4.1% in 2010

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — The International Council of Shopping Centers said it expects holiday sales to increase 3% this year, which is below the 4.1% gain in 2010.

Holiday sales are expected to reach $250.2 billion, the highest since the 2007 peak, when spending totaled $251.7 billion, according to the group, whose forecast is among the first to come out for the holiday 2011 shopping season.

The ICSC predicted that holiday same-store sales will rise 3.5%, slightly lower than the 3.8% pace in 2010.

"The sales trends paint a continued picture of unevenness," said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist. "Luxury spending continues to be strong and consistent. Wholesale clubs are doing very well. The mid-tier retailers are seeing mixed performance. And the low-end retailers are a bit more challenged."

Luxury retailers are expected to perform best, with predictions for a 7.5% same-store sales increase. Niemira predicted that discounters’ sales would rise 2.5%.

Rising basic household costs in food and gas along with a weak job market are driving a wider wedge between the wealthy and everyone else. Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s largest retailer, cited in August that its low-income shoppers are having a harder time stretching their dollars to the next payday than they did a year ago.

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Colorado artists and retailers team toward the Art of Fashion

BY CSA STAFF

The Promenade Shops at Centerra and the City of Loveland, Colo., are gearing up for a single September evening event that combines local artists, musicians and a one-night-only VIP shopping experience.

The Art of Fashion takes over The Promenade Shops at Centerra on Sept. 22 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and offers one-night-only shopping discounts, complimentary drinks, hors d’oeuvres, in-store events, door prizes, chair massages, makeovers, demonstrations and more.

Fifteen local artists will work on an original piece of artwork and live music will play as visitors shop specials offers throughout the center; Bent Fork the Grill will host a VIP lounge with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and $3 Italian Margaritas.

“We are very excited to be teaming up with such talented artists and the City of Loveland to offer this wonderful event to our customers,” said Tiffany Villavicencio, marketing coordinator at The Promenade Shops at Centerra.

The Promenade Shops at Centerra, located in Loveland at the northeast corner of I-25 and Highway 34, features over 70 stores and restaurants.

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Esprit wears out North American welcome

BY CSA STAFF

HONG KONG— On the heels of a 98% drop in its yearly earnings, Esprit Holdings said it is divesting its North American businesses and exiting three major European markets.

The company said it is actively looking for a partner willing to acquire its North American operations, which include 93 stores in the United States.

“We’ve currently engaged a private bank to assist us on exploring all options and all options are on the table,” said Ronald Van der Vis, Group CEO of Esprit Holdings "We’re looking at the possibility of licensing our North American operations and the third scenario, if we’re not successful in finding a partner, we’ll be closing them down."

Esprit also said is closing all its directly managed retail stores in Denmark, Sweden and Spain.

Esprit is now seeking to boost its presence outside of Europe, planning to invest more than US$2.3 billion on business operations and branding.

Espirit operates 800 directly managed retail stores worldwide and distributes its products via more than 14,000 wholesale locations internationally. The company also maintains licence partnerships with several companies around the world.

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