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Standing Tall

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Fifteen years ago, the news coming out of the Northeastern United States wasn’t good. While the rest of the nation’s retail thrived, sales reports showed that the Northeast was in a slump.

“The Northeast is the laggard economy, nationally speaking,” wrote Mark Zandi, chief economist for West Chester, Pa.-based Regional Financial Associates, in 1996. Consumer confidence in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania lagged far behind the national index, and job growth in New York was at about half the rate of the rest of the country.

But that was then. Today, the Northeast—which includes the mid-Atlantic states of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, and perhaps Delaware and Maryland—is showing itself to be a post-recession star precisely because it hasn’t experienced the economic highs of its sister regions.

“The fact that the Northeast wasn’t a hot growth market a couple of decades ago, or even as recently as 2006, has allowed this region to remain steady over the last 18 months,” said Joseph Coradino, president of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust Services, LLC, (PREIT) based in Philadelphia. “When the dramatic growth curves in the South and West started to turn the other way during the recession, the Northeast didn’t change much,” Coradino said.

The Northeast has benefited from stable economies, housing values that have “experienced the lowest decreases for the most part and an unemployment rate that is no worse than the national average and, in some cases, better,” Coradino said.

And that is causing some positive movement in the retail industry. In fact, according to the most recent research by Marcus & Millichap, retail sales in the Philadelphia metro area grew 5.6% in the first half of 2010 from the same period a year ago.

In New York City, the news is even better. Marcus & Millichap findings showed that rapid expansion of the local work force will position NYC as one of the top markets in the country in terms of job creation this year and hasten the recovery in the retail market. Increased tourism activity continues to drive up retail sales, and research shows that retail sales growth will persist through the second half of 2010.

Core areas are leading the retail market out of the recession, according to the research. Along Fifth Avenue, Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, the Long Island City waterfront and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, improved occupancy levels have elevated competition for space among tenants, and rents will tick higher over the remainder of the year.

Certainly, there is still a long way to go, particularly in New Jersey where economic recovery is slowed by slashed budgets, but there clearly is cause for at least cautious celebration in the Northeastern quadrant.

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Target launches anti-smoking campaign with American Cancer Society

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS – Target announced that it is launching a month-long anti-smoking campaign in connection with the American Cancer Society’s 2010 Great American Smokeout to support guests and team members in their efforts to quit smoking.

"Target is committed to helping our guests and team members reach their well-being goals, which may include quitting smoking, and we’re proud to work with the American Cancer Society for this year’s Great American Smokeout," said Dr. Joshua Riff, Target’s medical director. "As part of our focus on prevention, Target offers a variety of tools, tips and products for those who want to stop smoking and stay smoke-free. This campaign advances our prevention efforts and will ultimately lead to healthier communities."

The campaign will begin on Nov. 1 and will highlight Target’s assortment of stop-smoking aids and give greater visibility to Target Pharmacy and Target Clinic healthcare professionals, who can offer support, smoking-cessation materials and advice, the company reported. The campaign is anchored by in-store signing and informational brochures in all Target stores, as well as features in the weekly ad and at Target.com.

The American Cancer Society’s 35th annual Great American Smokeout takes place Nov. 18, and is designed to motivate and empower smokers with personalized tools, tips and support to help them quit for good.

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B&N launches parents’ loyalty program

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK – Barnes & Noble announced the launch of the B&N Kids’ Club (www.bn.com/kidsclub), a free loyalty and rewards program for Barnes & Noble parents and caregivers. The B&N Kids’ Club is an in-store and online program that provides exclusive benefits along with savings and discounts on Barnes & Noble’s outstanding selection of children’s books and educational toys and games.

When customers sign-up for the B&N Kids’ Club they will be welcomed with a 30% off coupon to use on a future purchase of children’s books, educational toys and games, and adult games and puzzles, the company reported. Kids’ Club members will also receive a $5 coupon for every $100 they spend on children’s books and toys up to four times per year.

“Barnes & Noble is committed to being a valuable resource for parents,” said Jaime Carey, chief merchandising officer for Barnes & Noble. “Our recently launched B&N Kids’ Expert Circle and our newly expanded Educational Toys & Games section in stores and online reflects our dedication to helping parents choose the best products and receive meaningful advice about all the stages of raising children. B&N Kids’ Club is our way of saying thank you for continuing to trust Barnes & Noble.”

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