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Nationwide Chain Store Sales Slow in First Week of March

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, The Johnson Redbook Index said U.S. chain stores reported slow sales in the first week of March as heavy rain hindered shopping. Sales at major retailers were up 2.4% on a year-over-year basis for the week ended March 4, following a 3.0% rise in the prior week, the independent company said. Sales at U.S. retailers so far in March were down 2.5% when compared with the same period in February.

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Consumer Spending Expected to Rise in March

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, Ohio, Retail Forward’s Future Spending Index reported consumer spending should rise in March from last month. The overall index improved to 101.6, the highest level since September. Spending should be weaker than a year ago, however, because the latest index is a shade lower than in March 2005. “Underpinning the projected increase in sales this month are the lagging effects of the housing market boom and signs that debt loads have become less of a drag on ability to spend,” Retail Forward economist Steve Spiwak said. “The uneven job market recovery from last year’s post-hurricane disruption will continue to discourage spending among some shoppers as spring approaches, however.”

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Big Dog Holdings, Inc. Reports 4Q and Year-End Sales

BY CSA STAFF

Santa Barbara, Calif., Big Dog Holdings, Inc. on Wednesday reported its fourth-quarter and year-end sale results.

Consolidated net sales for 2005 totaled $179.1 million, an 11% increase from the previous year. Consolidated net sales for the fourth quarter were $59.4 million, up about 6.6% compared to the same quarter in 2004.

The company attributed the rise in net sales to the new stores that opened during the period and a 23% increase in mail order/Internet revenue.

In related news, a subsidiary of Big Dog Holdings, The Walking Co. announced that it has closed its acquisition of substantially all assets of Steve’s Shoes, Inc. for approximately $4.2 million. Steve’s Shoes operates 45 stores in 22 states, operating under the Steve’s Shoes, Overland Trading Co., and Sole Outdoors logos. The stores acquired will largely be converted to The Walking Co. format.

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