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Report: Retail Industry to Face More Pressure in ’09

BY CSA STAFF

New York City The 2009 outlook for U.S. retail ratings indicates another year of heavy downward pressure, according to a new report by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services titled “Weak Economy Portends More Pressure On U.S. Retail Ratings In 2009,” published on RatingsDirect.

“With the economy in a recession and consumers in turmoil due to sharp declines in discretionary incomes and rising unemployment, we see ‘stay-away-from-stores’ behavior continuing well into 2009,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Gerald A. Hirschberg.

Retailers have drastically cut back inventories for 2009 and although this is likely to mean weak sales, it could strengthen gross margins.

“Nevertheless, we expect that future rating actions will be decidedly negative again in 2009,” Hirschberg said.

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Herd to retire as Polk Audio president

BY CSA STAFF

BALTIMORE Polk Audio, announced that its president, Jim Herd, will retire at the end of the year, leading to a realignment of its senior management team.

“After a total of 30 years in the loudspeaker industry, including 16 years here at Polk Audio, I am fortunate enough to be able to retire and attend to more personal interests,” said Herd.

Polk Audio will be structured under the following three primary areas: marketing, sales, and product line management will report to Ben Newhall, vp of sales; engineering, project management, and purchasing will report to Jeff Nemec, vp of new product development; and operations and finance will report to Joe Tristani, COO.

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Amazon.com claims 2008 was best holiday ever

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE Amazon.com has managed to defy economic trends, by claiming that the 2008 holiday season was its best ever. According to the company, more than 6.3 million items ordered worldwide on the peak day, Dec. 15, which is a record-breaking 72.9 items per second.

Among Amazon.com’s top sellers this holiday season were the Eyeclops night vision stealth goggles, the Apple iPod touch 8 GB (2nd Generation) and “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by J.K. Rowling.

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