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Play ball! April comps to get Fan Central boost

BY CSA STAFF

Opening day for Major League Baseball is April 5, and Target was on its promotional game this past weekend featuring assortments of MLB licensed products in its weekly ad.

In stores, the offering of men’s, women’s and kids MLB apparel, hats and accessories is merchandised adjacent to the sporting goods department under the prominent Fan Central banner. In the past, thanks to regionally correct offerings of team gear, Target has highlighted the effectiveness of the Fan Central program. That could be the case again this spring if unseasonably warm weather holds throughout Northern states and provides a boost to April sales, which also stand to benefit from Easter, a holiday now said to rival Halloween in terms of candy sales. However, apparel products offer better margins than candy, even after manufacturers pay MLB licensing fees, so right about now everyone at Target’s Minneapolis headquarters is a baseball fan eager to see the typically strong opening day turnout extend into the season and spur demand for Fan Central gear.

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Consumer confidence dips in March

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — The Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board fall slightly in March to 70.2 from 71.6 in February.

"Consumer Confidence pulled back slightly in March, after rising sharply in February,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “The moderate decline was due solely to a less favorable short-term outlook, while consumers’ assessment of current conditions, on the other hand, continued to improve.”

The Present Situation Index increased to 51.0 from 46.4, its highest level in three and a half years. The results, Franco said, suggest that despite this month’s dip in confidence, consumers feel the economy is not losing momentum.

The Expectations Index declined to 83.0 from 88.4 in February as consumers became less optimistic about the short-term outlook. The proportion of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 19.2% from 18.9%. However, those anticipating business conditions will worsen also rose, to 13.5% from 11.8%.

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Staples names head of Europe e-commerce

BY CSA STAFF

AMSTERDAM — Staples has named Willem Vos as director of e-commerce for Staples Europe. Vos will report to Peter Howard, SVP, head of Staples online and marketing for Staples Europe.

“Willem brings strong eCommerce skills and a broad experience to Staples,” said Howard. “He’ll define and lead the implementation of a long-term pan-European e-commerce strategy, driving growth in European online sales, while optimizing our websites in Retail markets to drive additional store traffic. Willem is a great addition to our team as we become a trusted source for office solutions to our customers.”

Willem join Staples from Sapient, where he worked as a director, responsible for Sapient’s multi-channel marketing and e-commerce business in the Benelux region. Previously, Willem held various leading positions within marketing and sales at Digitas London, AT&T Solutions, Ernst & Young and Accenture. He brings extensive management experience in new media, multi-channel operations, and e-commerce.

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