FINANCE

Report: Spending Index declines in May

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — A report released Tuesday by Deloitte said that consumer spending continued its decline in May, weighed down by a sharp rise in unemployment claims.

The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index, which tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending, fell to 2.66%, from a gain of 3.29% in April. The Index is comprised of tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices.

“The labor market indicators are the primary cause of weakness in the Index, however the economy is up against other temporary headwinds that suggest weak growth may persist for the near term,” said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte’s chief economist and author of the monthly Index. “Rising food and energy prices continue to hurt real wages, which combined with Americans’ insecurities about the job market, compound the pressure on consumer spending.”

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FINANCE

Carphone loss widens for Best Buy U.K. joint venture

BY CSA STAFF

London — U.K. mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse Group PLC reported Tuesday that its loss for its Best Buy U.K. joint venture widened to $102 million in the year to March 31, compared with a loss of $34 million in the prior year. CEO Roger Taylor has warned analysts to expect further losses of between $82 million and $98 million this year.

Carphone announced its joint venture with Best Buy Co. in July 2008, announcing plans to open as many as 200 big boxes across Europe by 2013 under the Best Buy U.K. name. That target has already shrunk to 100, and only 10 stores have opened so far — all in the United Kingdom — with just one more in the pipeline this year.

Taylor had indicated earlier that he would deliver a strategy update on the loss-making business on Tuesday, but he said the company will instead continue to evaluate its next steps for the business over the summer.

Carphone Warehouse Group comprises a 50% joint venture with Best Buy Europe and a separate joint venture with Virgin, Virgin Mobile France. Best Buy Europe comprises CPW Europe, the region’s largest mobile phone retailer; a profit share in Best Buy’s mobile phone retail operations in the United States; and Best Buy U.K.

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Nickelodeon ‘Victorious’ in nabbing deal with Walmart

BY CSA STAFF

LAS VEGAS — Nickelodeon is launching the first products themed after one of its live-action comedy series exclusively at Walmart.

U.S. and Canada Walmart stores will carry the more than 250 products based on the show "Victorious," including apparel, accessories, entertainment and school supplies. Most stores will begin carrying the items in July through the back-to-school shopping season.

What’s more, Walmart also will carry the "Victorious": Season One, Volume One DVD beginning July 5, as well as the "Victorious" CD soundtrack, and a special Nickelodeon CD featuring live-action stars from the network’s popular shows, which will be exclusively available at Walmart. Both CDs will be released on Aug. 2.

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