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Report: Amazon, Aeropostale and Urban Outfitters ranked tops in financial health

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Amazon.com came out on top for the second consecutive year, in an annual ranking of the nation’s financially healthiest retailers by Consensus Advisors, a Boston-based boutique investment bank focused on the retail and consumer products industries. The report, “2009-2010 Retailer Health Ratings,” measures and compares retailers over a five-year period, looking at several components: healthy growth, asset utilization, pricing power, and balance sheet strength.

Here are the 10 financially strongest retailers, according to the report: 

1. Amazon.com (No change from last year)

2. Aeropostale (+2)

3. Urban Outfitters (No change)

4. CVS ( +2)

5. Walmart (No change)

6. Bed, Bath & Beyond (New)

7. Coach (-5)

8. The Buckle (+1)

9. Guess (-1)

10. Lululemon Athletica (New)

The report is designed as a benchmarking tool providing essential financial context to comp store sales data on nearly 160 publicly traded U.S. retailers.

“In light of the significant trauma to the economy over the past 18 months, it is more important than ever to study retailer health comprehensively rather than relying on potentially misleading comp store sales growth statistics,” said Doug Stebbins, managing director, Consensus Advisors. “

For more information, go to consensusadvisors.com

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Target promotes volunteerism with exclusive Ben & Jerry’s flavors

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will debut two new, exclusive Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors at all stores nationwide. The super premium ice cream flavors, Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder, will be available throughout 2010 in mini cups and pints, according to the company.

Berry Voluntary is raspberry cheesecake flavored ice cream laced with white chocolate chunks and raspberry swirls.  Brownie Chew Gooder is vanilla caramel ice cream with fudge brownie pieces, finished with a caramel swirl.   Mini cups will be available for $1.25* and pints will be priced at $3.50. 

“By partnering with the iconic and beloved Ben & Jerry’s, Target is offering our guests even more exclusive, high-quality food options,” said Greg Duppler, SVP merchandising, Target. “Target guests who purchase these new ice cream products will not only enjoy two delicious flavors at an exceptional price, but will also have the satisfaction of supporting two great brands, aligned in their strong heritage of philanthropy and volunteerism.”

Target customers can enjoy the new flavors and do good at the same time. According to the company, customers who register for a volunteer activity at www.VolunteerMatch.org/scoopitforward and forward the opportunity to five friends, will receive a coupon for a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, redeemable at Target stores, while supplies last.  After that time, guests will still be able to participate in the “Scoop It Forward” promotion, and will receive a $1 off coupon in recognition of their volunteer efforts.

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NPD: Appliance sales showing strength

BY CSA STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. According to The NPD Group, sales of major appliances generated double-digit dollar and unit growth of 16% and 12% respectively, from January to May 2010, versus January to May 2009.

“Beginning last August we began to see signs of a recovery for appliances, but the new year confirmed that we’re truly on a growth trajectory – pent-up demand started it, but now we’re seeing results driven by consumer confidence and rebate programs augmented by strong retailer promotions,” said Mark Delaney, director of The NPD Group’s home division.

Most major appliance categories are seeing a boost in sales, but the largest overall increases came from dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes dryers, and washing machines, each with double-digit growth in units and dollars, compared with the first five months of 2009, according to the report.

“It’s encouraging to see such positive results in a sector that’s been struggling for so long. If retailers and manufacturers execute well with their new product offerings and we see sustained improvements in the housing sector, the major appliance industry is poised for a solid year,” ended Delaney.

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