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Survey Expects Boost in Gift Spending

BY CSA STAFF

St. Louis, Retailers can expect to benefit from a slight boost in sales as shoppers hit the aisles this holiday season. According to a recent Maritz Poll, consumers plan on spending an average of $50 more on gifts this season than in 2003.

The survey forecasts that the average consumer will spend more than $820 on gifts, up from last year’s average of $775, but still less than 2001’s estimated holiday spending of $845.

“Despite recent slips in the Consumer Confidence Index, our studies are showing a slow, steady increase in planned holiday spending,” said Gloria Park Bartolone, vice president of the Retail Research Group at Maritz Research. “The increase in anticipated gift spending is complemented by another Maritz Poll that shows consumers also are planning to spend more on holiday travel.”

Retailers could start seeing the benefits of holiday shopping sooner this year. More than one in 10 shoppers who took part in the Maritz Poll (13%) plan to start earlier this year than last year. The top three reasons for shopping earlier include: taking advantage of sales, having more money to spend and avoiding the crowds.

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HSN Division Acquires Direct Merchant

BY CSA STAFF

St. Petersburg, Fla., HSN Improvements, a direct marketing subsidiary of TV and Web retailer HSN, is spending an undisclosed sum to acquire direct merchant Alsto, a catalog and Web retailer. Alsto, owned by Dick Blick Holdings, sells outdoor decor and furnishings.

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Nordstrom Names Board Member

BY CSA STAFF

Seattle, Nordstrom, Inc. has elected Phyllis Campbell, chief executive and president of The Seattle Foundation, to its board of directors. From 1993 until 2001, she served as president of U.S. Bank of Washington. Campbell also serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards, including Safeco, Alaska Air Group and Seattle University.

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