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Report: Gift Cards, Cash Most Popular Graduation Gifts

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. Gift cards and cash are the most popular gifts to give graduates this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Graduation Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

Small-size items such as gift cards (35.6%) and cash (56.8%) will remain the most popular graduation gifts. Gift-givers also will bestow less-traditional favorites, such as apparel (10.8%) and electronics (11.6%).

In addition to gifts, many consumers also plan to give a greeting card (35.6%) to graduates.

According to the survey, Americans will spend $4.4 billion on graduation gifts this year, with nearly one-third (32.4%) of Americans purchasing at least one gift this year. The average consumer buying graduation gifts plans to give a gift to two graduates this year, and will spend an average of $52.12 on each present.

Parents and other family members will spend the most on graduation gifts, the report said. Consumers ages 35-44 plan to spend more than $106.79 on gifts.

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JCPenney improves April comps

BY CSA STAFF

PLANO, Texas JCPenney reported a comparable-store sales decrease of 1.7% for the four weeks ended May 3, 2008, compared to guidance for sales to decrease mid- to high-single digits and compared to a 3.4% decrease last year. According to the company, sales benefitted in the month from more favorable weather trends in some regions of the country that boosted seasonal apparel sales, and customer response to promotional and clearance activities.

Total company sales for the month were $1.33 billion compared with $1.32 billion last year. The top performing merchandise divisions during the month were in apparel and family footwear, while fine jewelry and home categories continued to experience weaker sales. Geographically, the best performing regions of the country were the Northeast and Central regions.

Management’s guidance for the four-week period ending May 31, is for a mid-single digit decrease in comparable store sales, compared to a 0.9% decrease in last year’s May period.

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Kohl’s reports strong April sales, raises outlook

BY CSA STAFF

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. Kohl’s reported that sales for the four-week period ended May 3, increased 12% to $1.3 billion from $1.1 billion last year. On a comparable-store basis, sales increased 3.5%.

Larry Montgomery, Kohls chairman and ceo, commented, We were encouraged by the improvement in our sales performance in April as business in seasonal categories improved. We will be conservative in our inventory planning and expense management as we continue to expect our customers to be cautious in their spending. 

As a result of Aprils performance, the company now expects earnings to exceed its previous guidance of 40 cents to 42 cents per diluted share.

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