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Shaun White brings style to Target home

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — Target announced that its Shaun White home line will debut at Target stores and Target.com the week of Dec. 26.

The debut home line is a limited time only collection that includes bedding, lamps, wall decals, curtains, storage bins, a skateboard rack and piggy banks, the company said. Items will be in stores through June 2012. Priced affordably, the collection ranges from $9.99 to $89.99.

"It’s been a fun process creating a home product line with Target," said White. "We got our first crack at interior design when my brother Jesse and I worked on the Living Room for Target House at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. So, we jumped at the chance to give home design a shot and came up with stuff that we would’ve loved to have when we were growing up."

In addition to the collection available in Target stores nationwide, Target’s online guests will find exclusive styles at Target.com, including three window curtains and duvet sets featuring Shaun White’s signature blue monster.

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AAA forecasts higher holiday travel

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON — AAA forecasts 91.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the 2011-2012 year-end holiday travel season, a 1.4% increase over the 90.7 million people who traveled one year ago, the travel organization announced earlier this week. This year’s expected year-end holiday travel volume is the second-highest in the past decade and represents 30% of the total U.S. population.

The 11-day year-end holiday period is the longest holiday travel season of the year, affording many more Americans time to visit family or take vacations. AAA defines the year-end holiday travel season as Friday, Dec. 23, through Monday, Jan. 2.

Approximately 83.6 million people (91% of holiday travelers) plan to take to the nation’s roadways this year-end holiday travel season, a 2.1% increase compared with 2010-2011, when the number of auto travelers totaled 81.9 million. This year’s projected automobile travel volume is the second highest in the past decade and only 100,000 less than the 2006-2007 auto travel peak of 83.7 million. Automobile travel remains the preferred choice of transportation for 2011-2012 year-end holiday travelers as nearly 27% of the total U.S. population will hit the road.

The current national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is approximately $3.26 per gallon, about 29 cents more than one year ago. However, the national average price is about 72 cents less than this year’s peak price of $3.98 on May 5.

Economic improvements are continuing at a very slow pace, and consumer surveys show active concern and pessimism over that pace. The measure of economic activity, real gross domestic product, is expected to increase for the fourth quarter 2011 by 1.5% compared with the fourth quarter 2010. While 1.5% growth is still slow, it is a slight increase over the expected 1.3% fourth-quarter growth predicted only one month ago, and the primary factor expected to drive this year’s modest increase in expected year-end holiday travel.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil also was down $1.64 at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX on Dec. 12, finishing at $97.77 and continuing last week’s decline, which was the largest in 11 weeks. Today’s drop was attributed to the ongoing dismal outlook for the global economy, particularly in the Euro zone, where sovereign debt concerns remain front of mind. This sentiment resulted in global equities markets turning lower, while the U.S. dollar strengthened relative to foreign currencies. As the dollar strengthens relative to currencies abroad the effective purchasing power of those holding foreign currencies decreases. As this happens, oil futures become a less attractive investment, which exerts downward pressure on prices.

While crude oil prices remain near multi-month highs, the price of gas at the pump is at a more than nine-month low. The current national retail average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline is $3.27 — the lowest price since Feb. 24 when the Libyan civil war was only 10 days old. Today’s price is fractions of a penny less than one week ago and 16 cents less than one month ago. While motorists earlier this year often paid prices in excess of 90 cents higher than the same day in 2010, today’s price marks a comparatively small 30-cent year-over-year premium. Today’s year-over-year premium is the smallest since Dec. 4 of last year.

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Duane Reade to unveil unique offerings at 52nd and Broadway location

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Duane Reade is set to put its signature “New York Living Made Easy” vision on full display on Friday with the unveiling of its expanded store located at 1657 Broadway in New York.

The new 24-hour location, which opened Friday, will serve as an amplification of the retailer’s continued rebranding and aggressive transformation initiatives to date.

"Duane Reade will continue to be at the forefront of drug store innovation throughout the chain’s repositioning efforts where it makes sense," stated Joe Magnacca, president of Duane Reade and president of daily living products and solutions for Walgreens. “Taking this former 3,100-sq.-ft. Duane Reade Express store [and] integrating strategic retail and neighborhood-centric niche elements — thereby transforming it into its current 20,000-sq.-ft. total health, beauty and daily living destination — clearly indicates what we feel the future of drug stores will be."

New store offerings will include the debut of the UpMarket "Fro-Yo" Bar. This food offering, never rolled out before by Duane Reade, will feature eight varieties of frozen yogurt and four twists. There also will be various condiments, sauces and refrigerated toppings to choose from. The UpMarket "Fro-Yo" Bar yogurt is all-natural and produced by New York-based Ronnybrook Farms. An Upmarket "Freezee" station will also make a debut with rotating flavors of self-serve slushies.

Duane Reade’s fresh-made daily products will introduce all new entrees in ultra-fresh packaging, and a Good & Delish oatmeal station will be introduced containing three self-serve flavors of fresh instant oatmeal daily.

Offerings, first introduced at the chain’s 40 Wall St. flagship store, also will be integrated, including the Juice Market and a chef-manned sushi station featuring fresh sushi, sashimi and traditional sides.

"We are thrilled to provide this vibrant neighborhood with expanded ‘ultra-fresh’ food solutions for every meal of the day," added Paul Tiberio, SVP merchandising and chief marketing officer for Duane Reade. "Furthermore, this comprehensive store expansion has created [more than] 30 jobs, including assistant manager positions, making this particular remodel effort even more worthwhile."

The Duane Reade pharmacy will be "Powered by Walgreens Pharmacy Network.” This means it is linked to Walgreens’ pharmacy system so New Yorkers, out-of-state residents and visitors can have their Walgreens pharmacy information available at this Duane Reade location for a seamless patient experience that also will include prescription "ready" text messaging, free in-store language translation assistance and immunization services.

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