FINANCE

ShopperTrak Reports Weekly Sales Rise

BY CSA STAFF

New York ShopperTrak RCT Corp.’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) Tuesday reported that retail sales for the week ending Jan. 26 increased a rather surprising 8.9% vs. the same period in 2007. Week-over-week sales posted a 5.7% increase vs. the previous week ending Jan. 19.

While last week’s impressive GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) retail sales performance was a bit unexpected, retailers might have benefited from the 2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. calendar shift which moved the holiday one weekend later this year, helping boost retail sales.

“The NRSE GAFO sales estimates this past week show that despite various economic pressures, there still seems to be life in consumer spending,” noted Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak. “However, we continue to expect that both sales and traffic will decline in the next couple of weeks before picking up again around Valentine’s Day.”

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Wakefern expands private label program

BY CSA STAFF

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Wakefern has expanded its operation to provide private label products to retailers outside of its ShopRite system and may begin offering a range of services as well.

The co-op, which is taking on distributor-oriented operations in the wake of Supervalu’s retail expansion, has developed a wide range of support services for the ShopRite supermarkets – ranging from single-unit operators to local chains – and Joseph Colalillo, Wakefern chairman and ceo, said those may become available to supermarket operators if the product initiative proves successful. Colalillo addressed the issue at a networking reception sponsored by the Network of Executive Women’s New York Metro Regional Group.

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Amazon MP3 to launch internationally

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE Amazon.com is taking its digital music store beyond the U.S. this year.

The company announced Sunday that it will begin an international rollout of Amazon MP3, its DRM-free MP3 digital music store, in 2008. The store launched in September 2007 in the United States, and grew to include more than 3.3 million songs from more than 270,000 artists, and can be listened to on any hardware device.

We have received thousands of e-mails from Amazon customers around the world asking us when we will make Amazon MP3 available outside of the U.S. They cant wait to choose from the biggest selection of high-quality, low-priced DRM-free MP3 music downloads which play on virtually any music device they own today or will own in the future, said Bill Carr, Amazon.com vp of digital music. We are excited to tell those customers today that Amazon MP3 is going international this year. 

The company is not disclosing a specific launch timeline for individual Amazon international Web sites.

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