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Study: Retail Sales Fall 2.9% for Week of Jan. 19

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago, Retail sales for the week ending Jan. 19, 2008 decreased 2.9% compared to the same period in 2007, according to the ShopperTrak RCT Corp.’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE), a study that provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales.

Sales are also slipping on a weekly basis, the study said. On a week-by-week comparison, sales performance for the week of Jan. 19, slipped 3.5% compared to the week ending Jan. 12. This trend is expected to continue until Valentine’s Day weekend, when retailers could see a traffic boost, the study said.

“We expect that retail sales will continue to decline following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and will most likely reach a seasonal low before getting a shot around Valentine’s weekend,” said Bill Martin, co-founder, ShopperTrak.

“While a sales decline is never ideal, retailers have come to expect this rather slow performance following the holiday shopping season,” he said. “And it’s still a bit early in 2008 for them to hit the panic button.”

The NRSE is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry data on shopper movement and sales statistics.

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Safeway to reward healthy workers

BY CSA STAFF

Pleasanton, Calif. Safeway reportedly is offering health insurance discounts to employees who participate in a program that tracks their food buying habits.

The company, according to reports, said it would reward those workers who demonstrate that they live a healthy lifestyle with lower premiums.

The Safeway plan will be connected to the company’s online FoodFlex service, which launched in November as a way to encourage healthy shopping, according to reports. Participating customers provide details on their family’s health and lifestyle and are given nutritional analysis of their store purchases, delivered through their Safeway card.

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Penneys partners with green expert Seo

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK JCPenney is partnering with green lifestyle expert Danny Seo, who will help the retailer determine which of its private brands are eco-friendly.

Seo announced in his blog last week that he had been working with JCPenney as its Green Living Partner to assist the retailer in its designation of green products. Beginning in March, customers will find products marked as eco-friendly at JCPenney stores and at jcp.com.

Seo has come to be regarded as an expert on environmental living. He has written several books on how to live a green life without sacrificing style including Conscious Style Home.

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