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Strong Sales Seen for Christmas, Halloween

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, Ohio, Things are looking up for the 2005 holiday season, according to new research from Retail Forward. The firm’s fourth-quarter retail sales growth projection is 5.0% to 5.5%.

Retail Forward predicted that the key retail sectors known as GAFO (general merchandise, such as department stores, warehouse clubs, supercenters, apparel store and specialty stores) will see sales growth toward the lower end of that range. However, if home-improvement chains, catalog and on-line retailers are taken into account, GAFO will see sales growth closer to 5.5%, Retail Forward said. In last year’s holiday season, retail sales grew 5.5%.

Also contributing to the rosy picture painted for retail through the rest of 2005 is a new survey from the National Retail Federation. The NRF 2005 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch found that consumers are expected to spend $3.29 billion on Halloween this year. That’s up 5.4% from last year.

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New Contract For Kroger Unions

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Seven International Brotherhood of Teamsters locals representing 3,200 workers in Southern California have approved a new five-year contract for Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer by sales.

Kroger, Albertson’s and Safeway, the nation’s big-three supermarket chains, endured lengthy labor strikes last year, causing millions of dollars worth of losses.

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Hurricane Update: Most Stores Closed Due to Rita Reopen

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Even though Texas and Louisiana residents who fled Hurricane Rita remain displaced, the majority of retailers have restocked their shelves as they await the return of their customers.

Bracing for the wrath of Rita, Wal-Mart closed 155 stores on Saturday morning. By Sunday, all but 52 were open for business. Similarly, Target was able to reopen 28 of its 32 closed stores.

“While there was a disruption, it won’t be cataclysmic,” for merchants, said Scott Krugman, a spokesman at the Washington-based National Retail Federation. “This should have a minimum impact on nationwide sales.”

The Home Depot, the nation’s largest home improvement retailer, also reopened its doors in Texas and Louisiana. Furthermore, company spokesman Don Harrison said that over 100 trucks have been dispatched to bring additional supplies to Home Depot stores, so full shelves will greet their customers.

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