FINANCE

Merchant Risk Council to Hold Conference

BY CSA STAFF

Seattle, The Merchant Risk Council (MRC), an association for preventing online fraud and promoting secure e-commerce, will hold its 5th annual conference March 12-15, 2007, at the Wynn Las Vegas.

The conference attracts CFOs and risk-management professionals from the retail industry, e-commerce payment and risk-management vendors, credit-card and alternative-payment company representatives, as well as law-enforcement professionals.

Information about the conference can be found on www.merchantriskcouncil.org/conference.

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REAL ESTATE

The Pantry Acquires 16 Angler’s Convenience Stores

BY CSA STAFF

Sanford, N.C., The Pantry, Inc. has completed the acquisition of 16 Angler’s Mini-Mart convenience stores in the Charleston, S.C., market. The stores generated revenues of approximately $73 million in 2005.

Separately, the company has also completed the previously announced acquisition of a convenience store in Sanford, N.C. The Pantry has also entered into definitive agreements to acquire single stores in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Naples, Fla., markets. The Naples store will be the company’s second in that market.

All of these transactions have been or will be financed with a combination of cash on hand and lease financing. Terms were not disclosed.

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FINANCE

NRF Forecasts 4.8% Retail Growth for 2007

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Subdued economic growth could moderate retail sales in 2007, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual industry forecast. In its quarterly Retail Sales Outlook report, NRF predicted that for the year as a whole, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) will be up 4.8%. In 2006, retail sales increased 6.3%.

“This year, slow economic growth will be reflected in moderate consumer and retail sales gains,” said Rosalind Wells, chief economist for the NRF. “The quarterly industry sales pattern will be the opposite of last year with modest gains early in the year and better increases in the second half.”

Current retail trends will persist throughout the year, according to Wells. Luxury retailers will continue to outperform other retail sectors, online shopping will continue to escalate, and department stores should continue their resurgence. Retailers catering to the lower- and mid-level-income consumer will be challenged when it comes to increasing their sales. A soft housing market will impact the demand for home-related merchandise.

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