FINANCE

Survey: Americans to spend $11 billion celebrating Super Bowl

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — Survey results released Thursday by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, and conducted by BIGinsight, found that 173 million people will watch the Super Bowl football game on Sunday, Feb. 5, the most in the survey’s eight-year history and up from an estimated 171 million last year.

Consumer spending for the Super Bowl will reach an all-time high, too, with the average game-watcher expected to shell out $63.87 on related merchandise, apparel and snacks, up from $59.33 last year. Total Super Bowl spending is expected to reach $11.0 billion.

“With a few weeks of anticipation ahead of them, it seems millions of Americans are already planning to have a knock-out good time for Super Bowl XLVI,” said Mike Gatti, executive director, RAMA. “Hot on the heels of a solid holiday season, many retailers will look to meet consumer demand and expectations with big promotions on party essentials, including 3D televisions, team décor and apparel, and, of course, food and beverages.”

Grocery, apparel, electronics, sporting goods and home furnishing stores can expect to see their share of Super Bowl-related spending as sports fans head out to buy food and beverages (71.3%), team apparel or accessories (8.6%), decorations (6.4%), and furniture or a new entertainment center (2.4%).

Of those planning to watch the game, nearly 63.6 million (27.1%) are planning to attend a party, up from last year’s 61.2 million, and another 35.9 million (15.3%) plan to throw a party, also up from the 34.9 million who said they would host a party in 2011.

Of those planning to watch the game, at least 5.1 million (5.1%) will buy a new television specifically for the big day, compared with 4.5 million last year and the 3.6 million who said they would do so in 2010.

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FINANCE

U.K. retail sales fall at fastest pace in nearly three years

BY Katherine Boccaccio

London — A report released Thursday by the Confederation of British Industry said that U.K. retail sales fell in January at the fastest pace in almost three years, reversing an increase in December when discounting by stores drew shoppers.

The gauge of annual sales growth fell to minus 22, the lowest since March 2009, from nine in December, according to the report.

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OPERATIONS

Reeds Jewelers and Alliance Data team for credit card services

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — Loyalty and marketing solution-provider Alliance Data Systems Corp. said Thursday that it has signed a multi-year renewal agreement to continue providing private label credit card services to Reeds Jewelers.

Under terms of the agreement, Alliance Data will continue to provide private label credit card services for the Reeds Jewelers Credit Card program, including account acquisition and activation, receivables funding, card authorization, private label credit card issuance, statement generation, remittance processing, customer service functions, and marketing services.

In addition, Alliance Data is collaborating with Reeds to develop and launch a program that enhances the Reeds Jeweler Credit Card value proposition to cardholders. This new ‘customer-nurture’ marketing concept, exclusive to cardholders, may include incentives to drive customer repeat visits and purchases to redeem offers such as special discounts on bridal jewelry cleaning, repair, and future purchases at Reeds Jewelers.

“Alliance Data has helped us grow our portfolio of cardholders and continuously drive incremental sales by offering promotional payment plans and flexible credit options to our customers," said Alan Zimmer, owner and president of Reeds Jewelers.

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