FINANCE

Study: Consumers to Spend Rebate Checks on Necessities

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. Consumers will be spending their stimulus checks at retail outlets, but their purchase plans have shifted, according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation.

Consumers plan to spend approximately 40% of their tax rebate checks, filtering $42 billion back into the economy, the study said. Rather than purchase discretionary items, including electronics and apparel, shoppers are focusing on necessities like gas and food.

As fuel costs continue to rise, 17.2 million people plan to use some of the money to pay for gasoline. This is a drastic jump from February, when 12.1 million people who said they planned to make gas purchases.

Similarly, the rising costs of everyday staples like milk, bread and rice are pushing more consumers to spend the checks on groceries. Specifically, 21.2 million people will use a portion of the check for food, up from 20.4 million people in February, the study reported.

“For many consumers struggling with rising bills and lowering home values, economic stimulus checks could not come at a better time,” said NRF president and CEO Tracy Mullin. “The rising cost of groceries and gasoline means that discretionary spending is taking a backseat to necessities.”

Consumers have other plans for the remaining funds, as well. Some of it will be used to pay down debt ($28.1 billion), some will go toward paying medical bills ($4.9 billion); and some will be invested ($3.4 billion).

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Kanter to leave Michaels end of May

BY CSA STAFF

IRVING, Texas Michaels Stores has announced that Harvey Kanter, evp and managing director, has decided to leave the company effective May 25 to pursue a top leadership role at another company.

Brian Cornell, ceo, said, “Harvey has made significant contributions to Michaels by assisting in our transformation to a consumer-driven organization and we appreciate his service. He has developed a strong team and we are confident they will ensure a smooth transition.”

Until Kanter’s replacement is named, the merchandising organization will report to Brian Cornell.

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Fresh & Easy boosts own-brand foods

BY CSA STAFF

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market confirmed reports that it will be adding new products to its stores announcing a new selection of fresh&easy own-brand foods to cater to increasing demand.

Following a great customer response and encouraging sales of fresh&easy own-brand food, the company is expanding the range with 250 additional products. Some of the new products include fresh prepared ready meals, new juices and brewed teas, soy and goat yogurt, and a range of ready-to-grill meats. .

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