FINANCE

Report: Affluent shoppers increasingly optimistic about economy

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — A report released Monday by Ipsos found that affluent optimism in the U.S. economy rose significantly in February.

According to Ipsos MediaCT’s February 2013 Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer – which defines affluent as at least $100,000 in annual household income – in February, 43% of Affluents were optimistic about the U.S. economy, up from 40% in December 2012, and 34% in October 2012. In contrast, only 36% described themselves as pessimistic in February 2013. In addition, 52% now believe they personally will be better off in 12 months, up from 41% in December 2012.

“Affluent optimism has risen in 2013, buoyed by the performance of stock and housing markets, as well as perceived improvements in the economy as a whole, and the job market in particular,” said Dr. Stephen Kraus, SVP and chief insights officer, Ipsos.

The Barometer found that luxury spending among Affluents will likely remain at current levels, but shows significant growth potential among Ultra Affluents, the 2%-4% of Americans with at least $250K+ household income. Ultra Affluent spending on luxury shows particularly strong growth potential in categories related to travel, apparel, accessories, watches and jewelry.

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STORE SPACES

Walmart ups solar in Ohio

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Columbus, Ohio — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Monday it has worked with SolarCity to install solar panels on 12 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs throughout Ohio.

The solar panel installations will add approximately 6,000,000 kWh of generation production – enough energy to power more than 820 homes – and are expected to supply approximately 5%-20% of each store’s overall electricity use.

"We are committed to increasing the use of renewable energy resources, including solar panels, at our stores in Ohio and throughout the country," said David Ozment, Walmart senior director of energy.

The Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs receiving solar power systems are located in Mason, Xenia, Greenville, Austintown, Middletown, Franklin, Youngstown, Toledo, Milford, Loveland, and two systems in Cincinnati.

Walmart has an aspirational goal is to be powered 100% by renewable energy.

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News

Walmart Foundation serves up big bowl of philanthropy

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The Walmart Foundation is celebrating National Nutrition Month and National School Breakfast Week by giving $6.7 million in grants to five national nonprofit organizations that are providing children with school breakfast and helping families develop better eating habits. The grants are part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion cash and in-kind commitment through 2015 to help fight hunger in America and Walmart’s 2011 initiative to provide customers with healthier and more affordable food choices.

Grants to Action for Healthy Kids and the American Association of School Administrators will support programs that help more children start their school day with a morning meal, providing them with the nutritional substance they need to learn and grow. Additional grants to Common Threads, the Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center and the National 4-H Council will fund programs that empower people of all ages with the education and training they need to identify, shop for and prepare healthier meals.

"Through Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s ongoing commitment to help Americans live better, we are working to make nutritious food more accessible and affordable to children and adults across the nation," said Julie Gehrki , senior director of the Walmart Foundation. "Many Americans are not making a well-balanced diet part of their daily routine. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 25 percent of adults, and even fewer children, eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. Through these grants, we are proud to partner with nonprofits to assure families not only have access to the healthy food they need, but also are empowered with the knowledge to develop and maintain better eating habits so they can live long and healthy lives."

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