FINANCE

September retail sales rise for third consecutive month

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. The Commerce Department reported Friday that retail sales rose 0.6% in September, the third month in a row of sales gains. In August, sales rose 0.7%, the biggest advance since March.

Excluding autos, sales rose 0.4% in September after a 1% August gain. Auto sales, which had fallen 0.5% in August, rose 1.6% in September, the best showing since March.

The furniture category had a strong showing, as furniture retail sales rose 0.5%, the best showing since July. Electronic and appliance stores posted a 1.5% rise, the best since February. Sales at hardware stores rose 0.6%, the biggest increase since April.

Sales at general merchandise stores, which includes department stores and the big discounters such as Wal-Mart and Target, were flat in September. But the zero gain followed a 0.5% jump in August, which had been fueled by back-to-school shopping and discounting by many retailers.

Sales at specialty clothing stores dropped 0.2% in August after posting a 0.5% rise in July.

Even with the solid overall gain in September, economists remain concerned that consumer spending will not rebound until households have the income growth to spend at a faster pace. And the income growth will not come until businesses start hiring back laid-off workers at a faster pace.

Unemployment has been at or above 9.5% for a year and two months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression.

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Target helps cardholders save

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target is offering customers that shop with their Target REDcard to save 5% on nearly all purchases at any Target store or on Target.com.

Beginning Oct. 17, the retailer said it would extend the savings program to all Target REDcard products, including the Target credit card, Target Visa credit card and Target debit card. In addition to receiving 5% off nearly all purchases using a REDcard, guests will receive a coupon good for 5% off a future day of shopping every time they fill five prescriptions at a Target pharmacy with a Target REDcard.

This new rewards program will replace the existing rewards program in which new account holders receive an initial 10% off coupon and existing cardholders earn coupons for 10% off a future day of shopping. The existing program ends on Oct. 16 at close of business.

“This innovative, new initiative will provide Target REDcard holders with tremendous value on our exciting merchandise assortment –– everything from electronics to fresh food,” said Terry Scully, Target financial services president. “This program makes Target’s low prices even lower, so there’s no need for Target REDcard holders to shop around.”

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NACS names supplier board chairman

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA Hershey’s VP customer industry affairs recently joined the National Association of Convenience Stores’ supplier board as chairman.

Tom Joyce will serve as the NACS supplier board chairman for the 2010-2011 term, NACS said. The NACS Supplier Board is comprised of individuals from NACS supplier member companies that represent different product and service categories in the convenience store industry.

In related news, VP convenience sales for Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, Scott Hill, will serve as chairman of the NACS supplier board for the 2011-2012 term.

Joyce and Hill were named to their positions during the NACS supplier board meeting at the NACS Show in Atlanta. As chair and chair-elect of the NACS Supplier Board, Joyce and Hill also serve as members of the NACS board of directors.

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