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Survey: Americans surprisingly upbeat about holiday season

BY CSA STAFF

New York City The Deloitte Holiday Survey released Wednesday found that fears about the recession are starting to subside, as 54% of those surveyed said that expect the economy will improve in 2010. That compares with 28% last year.

The 24th annual holiday survey of retail spending and trends also found that 51% of consumers hope to spend more or the same for the holidays, up from 41% last year.

Despite expectations for economic improvement, consumers continue to reduce their spending on gifts. The average number of gifts people plan to purchase declined to 18.2 from 21.5 last year and 23.1 in 2007. The amount consumers plan to spend on gifts is $452, compared with $532 in 2008, and $569 in 2007.

Consumers, however, plan to bump spending on non-gift items. These categories include socializing away from home, entertaining, non-gift clothing and home/holiday furnishings. These increases lift consumers’ total anticipated holiday spend to $1,145, which is a 16% increase over last year.

Frugality won’t disappear during the holidays. Two-thirds (66%) of those surveyed said their shopping will be impacted by the economy, as 74% plan to buy items on sale, 57% intend to buy lower-priced items and 54% plan to use more store coupons.

“Consumers appear to be revisiting shopping categories that they had put on the back burner for a while, and they may be returning because of the need to replenish,” said Stacy Janiak, vice chairman and Deloitte’s U.S. Retail leader. “Over the past several months, we have seen key economic indicators ease from their worst levels, helping to put more resources back into Americans’ pockets.  As a result, a cautious upturn in sentiment may draw consumers out of their bunkers, turn their focus away from saving and debt reduction, and encourage them to do some holiday shopping for their homes, family and friends.”

Other key findings include: Discount stores hold the top spot as a shopping destination, as 59% say they expect to shop discount/value department stores. Online shopping remains strong at 42%, and the combined electronics, office supply and computer store category ranks third at 26%.

Traditional department stores continue their downward trend, falling to 23%, a sharp drop from last year’s 35%. Some of the more popular shopping destinations include toy stores, outlet stores/centers and off-price stores.

Sixty-four percent of consumers plan to buy gift cards as presents.

For more information about Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey, visit deloitte.com/us/2009HolidaySurvey.

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PetSmart presents holiday gift list and deals

BY CSA STAFF

PHOENIX, Ariz. PetSmart announces its holiday gift list for their pets for this holiday season.

Homeless pets can also benefit this holiday season with Luv-A-Pet “Chance.” Chance is an overstuffed dog toy and collectable this season available for only $5. Ten% of the overall proceeds from Chance sales will go to PetSmart Charities, which has saved the lives of more than 3.6 million homeless pets.

Some items on this year’s gift list are toys and treats sold exclusively at PetSmart include: Safari Christmas animal print and jungle character toys, “Naughty” or “Nice” novelty tees, large 24″ knotted bone or the chicken-wrapped rawhide treat, squeaker mats and a large Heated Wellness Bed.

This holiday season, PetSmart are offering customers additional savings with seven consecutive weeks of discounted gifts, with a special sale on Black Friday that features hundreds of items up to 50% off.

Deals and discounts can be found at local PetSmart locations during limited-time sales on: Nov. 6-8, Nov. 13-15, Nov. 20-22, Dec. 4-6, Dec. 11-13 and Dec. 18-25.

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Azek hires former OC exec

BY CSA STAFF

Azek Building Products, a manufacturer of PVC decking, molding and trim, has hired Rick Corry as its new VP sales. Corry will be responsible for planning and directing sales strategies and brand building for the Scranton, Pa., firm. He will oversee Azek’s regional sales managers, the VP retail sales, the key account manager and the customer service manager.

Corry worked for Owens Corning for 18 years, where he started as a field sales rep and ultimately became national director of sales. He then went on to become CEO of BuildLinks, a construction management software company.

Most recently, Corry was general manager of the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C., a leadership training company.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my sales and two-step distribution experience to Azek Building Products,” said Corry. “I also plan to tap into my work force performance background to help the sales force maximize their strengths and continue to support our channel partners.”

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