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Macy’s to increase holiday hires by 4%

BY Staff Writer

Cincinnati — Macy’s said it plans to hire approximately 78,000 seasonal associates for its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers nationwide for the 2011 holiday season. The total is up about 4% from the approximately 75,000 seasonal associates the chain hired last year.

“We expect additional hiring this year given the continued sales growth in our business – both in-store and online,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s, chairman, president and CEO.

The chain estimated that same-store sales for the final two quarters of its fiscal year, which include the holiday period, would rise 4% to 4.5% over last year.

Kohl’s and J.C. Penney are planning to hire about the same number of seasonal workers as last year.

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Nielsen’s Holiday Shopping Sales Survey advises retailers to market early

BY Marianne Wilson

Schaumburg, Ill. — Online, club, dollar, toy and consumer electronics retailers, as well as categories such as gift cards, technology, vacations and toys, will all perform well this season, according to Nielsen’s fourth-annual Holiday Shopping Sales Survey.

Across all income levels, only 5% of U.S. households plan to spend more this year, with affluent households (those earning $100,000 or more) leading the way.

“Nielsen expects the vast majority of consumers to be increasingly practical and focused on value this season,” said James Russo, VP global consumer insights, Nielsen. “More affluent consumers will drive spending, particularly in entertainment, vacations, toys and technology.”

Roughly 52% of Nielsen Holiday Survey respondents reported plans to spend $500 or less. At the other end of the spectrum, affluent households reported plans for modest spending increases in stores as well as for out-of-home and in-home entertaining.

“This is a year to market early,” Russo advised. Consumers are planning, creating lists and collecting coupons. In fact, coupon use continues to grow each year with almost 40% of consumers reporting plans to use coupons, versus a little more than 20% before the recession. Given all that planning, it is not surprising that close to 20% of consumers have already started their holiday shopping.”

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RILA praises California ‘e-fairness’ legislation

BY Staff Writer

Arlington, Va. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) thanked California Governor Jerry Brown for signing legislation that would help level the playing field between online-only retailer Amazon.com and brick-and-mortar stores across California.

"For too long U.S. tax policy has favored online-only retailers like Amazon over the brick-and-mortar stores that create jobs and serve our communities, and it’s time to end that special treatment and give all businesses the chance to compete and create jobs in a free and fair market,” said Katherine Lugar, RILA executive VP for public affairs.

California joins Texas and a growing list of states that have passed or are drafting e-fairness legislation to address antiquated pre-Internet rules that allow online retailers without a "physical presence" in a state to skirt the obligation of collecting and remitting state sales taxes, giving those e-tailers a perceived price advantage over local retailers. After decades of federal inaction, these state efforts have sparked a renewed interest in federal legislation that would level the playing field nationally for all retailers.

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