FINANCE

NRF Sees Back-to-School Spending Decline

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C., Anew survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) indicates that consumer back-to-school spending won’t match last year’s levels. The trade association found that families with school-aged children will spend an average of $443.77 on back-to-school items, 8.2% lower than last year. The NRF estimates total back-to-school spending at $13.39 billion this year, vs. $14.79 billion last year.

The biggest decline will be seen in the electronics category. In the NRF’s research, that segment fell to $2.06 billion from last year’s $3.09 billion. Back-to-school spending on apparel will remain strong. Of the polled families, 93.9% cited plans to buy clothing for the back-to-school season, spending an average of $205.31 on apparel. However, that’s still less than the $219.46 they spent on back-to-school clothes last year.

Changes in back-to-school spending are inconsistent from region to region. Applicable Midwestern families will spend only $404.68 on average for the back-to-school season vs. last year’s $571.67, and families in the South will spend $434.09 this year as compared to $535.53 last year. However, families in the Northeast will increase their average back-to-school spending to $513.07 from $435.37, and families in the West will spend $409.19 vs. $381.47 last year.

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Hundreds of Walgreens Pharmacists Return to Work

BY CSA STAFF

Deerfield, Ill., Hundreds of striking Walgreens pharmacists have returned to work in Chicago-area stores. The actual number of pharmacists that have returned to work varies between reports from Walgreens and the National Pharmacists Association union. According to Walgreens, 409 pharmacists or about 36% have returned to work. The union, however, reports 300 pharmacists or about 25% have returned.

The strike, organized by the union, has entered its second week and was called to address staffing shortages and working conditions. Walgreens reported the return of pharmacists has allowed 64 pharmacies to return to their normal hours, including 25 pharmacies that are open 24 hours.

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Kohl’s Effects Turnaround With New Brands

BY CSA STAFF

Menomonee Falls, Wis., Ayear-long climb on Wall Street, which culminated in a 14.4 % jump in June sales, is due, say analysts, to a host of new clothing lines that have helped drive store traffic and boost sales at Kohl’s.

After 2003-2004 struggles with stagnant fashion sales and excess inventories, Kohl’s made a big investment in brands and rolled out an exclusive string of new apparel names that were more fashion-forward and more popular with shoppers.

Next up for Kohl’s is an expansion of the jewelry and home offerings, as well as a deal to sell clothing under the skateboarder Tony Hawk’s Quicksilver brand and Candie’s brand.

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