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NRF Issues Lukewarm ’06 Forecast

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, With energy costs rising and the housing market starting to cool off, retail sales are projected to increase a modest 4.7% in 2007 compared to the more robust 6.1% gain in 2005, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). The tepid sales forecast was issued Monday, during the NRF’s annual convention in New York City.

“With the housing market beginning to slow, consumers will be challenged to find new sources of spending power,” said NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells. “The strong retail sales we saw in the second half of 2005 will be replaced by more conservative spending in the New Year.”

Although NRF is cautious about the 2006 outlook, Wells predicted that several categories of specialty retailing should continue to experience steady sales growth, including clothing and accessories, food and beverage, and health and personal care. Attractive pricing and strong demand will continue to fuel strong demand for electronics, according to Wells.

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Kmart Reduces Full-Time Employee Roster

BY CSA STAFF

Troy, Mich., Kmart has outlined a new plan that reduces its full-time work force in favor of more part-timers at its 1,400 stores nationwide.

Some recently terminated full-time Kmart employees have been offered some of the part-time slots.

The new plan is entitled “Full-Time-Part-Time Workforce Adjustment Guidelines,” and is one of the latest cost-cutting steps taken by Kmart since it merged with Sears, Roebuck and Co. last year.

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Eddie Bauer Identifies Accounting Errors

BY CSA STAFF

Redmond, Wash., Newly emerged from bankruptcy, Eddie Bauer Holdings has identified errors in its balance sheets and cash-flow statements. The company has issued a statement saying that the errors will be corrected, but that they will not have an effect on net cash flows.

The company also announced the departure of CFO Timothy McLaughlin, who has been replaced in the interim by David Taylor, effective immediately.

The financial understatements are related to lease accounting.

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