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Spending Index Jumps in February

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, OhioColumbus, Ohio, Retail Forward’s Future Spending Index for March indicates that more shoppers should be heading to retail stores as spring arrives. The index rose to 102.7 from 100.9 in February.

“The improvement in spending plans this month is concentrated among Up and Down Market households, who cited stronger job security and rising incomes for the greater willingness to part with their dollars,” said Steve Spiwak, an economist with Retail Forward. “Consequently, retailers that target either of these ends of the income spectrum, namely high-end and discount retailers, should benefit most from an increase in spending.”

Other results also show that discount retailers should fare well. For example, Wal-Mart continues to gain share of consumers’ grocery budgets, particularly among Middle Market households. Moreover, shoppers said they are spending more at dollar stores than a year ago.

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PriceSmart Closes Chapter on Restatement

BY CSA STAFF

San Diego, PriceSmart has put an end to litigation related to its restatement of financial reports in late 2003. PriceSmart will pay $2.35 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit in federal court in California. The San Diego-based retailer said that about 80% of the settlement payment will be funded by the company’s insurance carrier. The retailer said the settlement does not constitute an “admission of liability” on the part of the company or its former officers. PriceSmart, a warehouse club operator, previously settled a separate federal court securities lawsuit and a state court shareholder derivative lawsuit. The company said the third settlement brings the litigation to a conclusion.

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Ann Taylor Promotes Two Execs

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Ann Taylor Stores Corp. promoted two of its executives to executive VP.

Adrienne Lazarus was named executive VP of Ann Taylor Stores merchandising and design. She was most recently senior VP and general merchandising manager for Ann Taylor Stores.

Donna Noce was promoted to executive VP of Ann Taylor Loft merchandising and design. She most recently served the retailer as senior VP of Ann Taylor Factory Stores.

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