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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

BY CSA STAFF

The offices of Chain Store Age will be closed on Monday, January 19, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. CSA will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, January 20.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Consumer sentiment in January hits 11-year high

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Consumers are feeling bullish, buoyed by low gas prices and an improving job market. The University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index for January rose to an 11-year high of 98.2, from a final reading of 93.6 for December.

“Gains in employment and incomes as well as declines in gas prices were cited by record numbers of consumers,” stated Richard Curtin, director of the Michigan Survey of Consumers. “More consumers spontaneously cited increases in their household incomes in early January than any time in the past decade.”

The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 70 economists projected the Michigan index would increase to 94.1.

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MOBILITY

Alibaba testing mobile messaging app

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Chinese online giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is testing a mobile messaging app designed to combine social networking with business.

The app, called DingTalk, is still in beta testing.

Capable of carrying conference calls and group messaging, DingTalk targets small- and medium-sized enterprises, many of which are already Alibaba's customers, according to Reuters.

But Alibaba's previous attempt at a mobile messaging app, Laiwang, is seen by many analysts and industry observers as a dud, with the Chinese market dominated by Tencent's WeChat.

"DingTalk is a versatile mobile communications app that fills a gap in the market for corporate mobile messaging," said the Alibaba spokeswoman in the report.

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