OPERATIONS

Report: Mexico to open probe into Wal-Mart allegations

BY Staff Writer

New York — A Wednesday report by Reuters said that the Mexican federal comptroller’s office has given the go-ahead to open an investigation into allegations that Wal-Mart Mexico bribed officials to expand its business in the country.

"If wrongdoing attributable to federal public officials is detected, the federal government will take action," the office said.

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STORE SPACES

Sears expands ‘Scrubology’ shops

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings has expanded the availability of its in-store professional apparel shop to 91 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide. The concept, called, "Scrubology," is already open in 39 stores and offers work apparel and uniforms for professionals in industrial, service and healthcare fields.

The concept is a partnership with Work ‘N Gear.

"Sears Holdings is pleased thus far with the performance of the Scrubology concept,” said Dave Schuvie, VP licensed businesses for Sears Holdings. “This venture with Work ‘N Gear and the development of this unique ‘store-within-a-store’ concept has allowed us to provide additional value to our customers."

The expansion of 52 new Scrubology locations inside select Sears and Kmart locations will occur by May, said the company.

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FINANCE

Survey: Mother’s Day spending expected to rise 10%

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Survey results released Wednesday by Brand Keys revealed that 90% of consumers plan to celebrate Mother’s Day. Total spending is estimated to reach nearly $17.2 billion, according to the annual Brand Keys Mother’s Day survey.

Celebrants intend to spend an average of $163 this year, up 10% over 2011. Men, following a long-time pattern, intend to spend more than women, reporting an anticipated average spend of $190. Women anticipate spending $136.

“Last year shoppers went high-tech. But this year, they’re going with more traditional gifts, including cards, brunch or dinner, flowers, jewelry, and clothing,” noted Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president.

Other report highlights included a detailed account of what consumers plan to buy for Mom:

  • Cards: 97% (unchanged)
  • Flowers: 73% (+3%)
  • Brunch/Lunch/Dinner: 60% (+2%)
  • Gift Cards: 58% (unchanged)
  • Clothing: 42% (+6%)
  • Jewelry: 38% (+13)
  • Spa Services: 20% (+3%)
  • Books /e-books: 20% (+3%)
  • Candy: 5% (unchanged)
  • Electronics: 10% (-10%)

“The largest increases for gifts were in jewelry (+13%) and clothing (+6%), both areas in which consumers had cut back in recent years,” said Passikoff. “Generally, all other areas showed no changes or only small increases from last year, except, of course, electronics and that was way up last year.”

As to shopping venues, discount and department stores and online remain generally unchanged. Catalogs and specialty retail were each down 5%.

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