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Luxottica to acquire pair of Mexican sunglass retailers for $23 million

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Italian eyewear maker and retailer Luxottica Group SpA said Thursday it will acquire two specialty sunglass retailers in a deal worth about $23 million in a move to gain entry to the Mexican market.

Luxottica’s deal to buy Stanza and High Tech includes more than 70 stores that will eventually be rebranded as Sunglass Hut locations.

"Growth in emerging countries and, more generally speaking, in the so-called sun belt, is one of the key pillars for Sunglass Hut’s development," Fabio d’Angelantonio, Luxottica’s executive VP sun and luxury retail, said in a statement.

Stanza has sunglass shops in about 40 select department stores and airports in most key Mexican cities, including Mexico City and Playa del Carmen. High Tech runs approximately 30 sunglass shops in certain department stores in Guadalajara, Monterrey and Merida under the High Tech, Euro Vision and Top Vision brands.

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Report: U.S. initial jobless claims rise to 410,000 last week

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — A report released Thursday by the Labor Department said that applications for jobless benefits increased by 25,000 to 410,000 in the week ended Feb. 12, exceeding the 400,000 median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

The filings increase indicates that labor market will take time to develop.

The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance was little changed, while those collecting extended payments decreased.

According to a report by Bloomberg, a reduction in firings by U.S. firms is needed to keep unemployment going down. Bigger job gains are needed to boost consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the world’s largest economy.

“Conditions in the labor market will continue to be tenuous as firms look for a sustained pickup in sales,” Maxwell Clarke, chief U.S. economist at IDEAglobal in New York, said before the report. “Claims should remain at an elevated level for some time but should continue along a gradual downward path in the months to come.”

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NRF forecast: 2011 retail sales to rise 4%

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The National Retail Federation said Thursday that it expects retail sales growth of 4% this year, the biggest increase since 2006.

However, the group warned that shoppers are likely to remain cautious as they cope with slow job growth and rising prices.

The NRF said it expects retail sales to reach $2.47 trillion in 2011, up from $2.37 trillion in 2010, excluding automobiles, fuel and restaurants.

That increase would be higher than the past decade’s average annual growth rate of 3.1% and 2010’s increase of 3.7%. Retail sales rose 4.7% in 2006, which is still under the 5% rate that indicates a robust economy.

"Consumers will continue to be thoughtful about what they’re spending, but they’re certainly feeling better," said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist.

NRF’s forecast is not adjusted for inflation, and the figures include online sales from physical stores but not from such companies as Amazon.com that operate only on the web.

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