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Survey: Toy Safety a Big Concern

BY CSA STAFF

Fenton, Mo., Although more than half of U.S. consumers (53% percent) said they will buy toys this holiday season, the recent spate of toy recalls will impact buying decisions, according to a recent Maritz Poll.

More than eight out of 10 of those buying toys (82%) were aware of the toy recalls from China involving lead paint. Of those buying toys and aware of the recalls, 77% stated that the recalls will affect their holiday shopping this year.

“Toy safety is clearly a concern for consumers this holiday season and you wouldn’t know it by looking at American toy aisles,” said Gloria Park Bartolone, VP of Maritz Research’s Retail Group. “There’s little or no signage to restore customers’ confidence in toy safety, and most associates are not informed about the recalls. Retailers need to prepare … and fast.”

According to Bartolone, retailers could improve the customer experience in the toy aisle this holiday season by informing store associates about the recalls and training them to address questions and concerns from customers. She also said retailers should create signage to assure customers that shelves are regularly inspected to ensure toy aisles are “recall-free.” Keeping an updated list of toy recalls on hand for store associates to use as a reference is also advised, Bartolone added.

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Kroger, Union reach agreement, strive averted

BY CSA STAFF

CINNCINNATI (AP) Kroger reached a tentative three-year contract late Thursday with a union representing nearly 11,000 workers in the Cincinnati region, according to reports.

Kroger spokeswoman Meghan Glynn confirmed the agreement, although details were not disclosed.

The agreement, announced late Thursday, avoided a last-minute strike at 79 stores in the Cincinnati region. Kroger, the nation’s largest traditional grocer, hasn’t had a strike in its hometown since 1971.

The tentative contract must be approved by the Local 1099 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which last month authorized its leaders to call a strike. They continued working under a contract extension that was scheduled to end at midnight Thursday.

Kroger officials and leaders had made preparations for a strike. Kroger had said it would use managers and temporary workers to keep operating the 79 affected stores in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana.

“This is a very competitive market and it does happen to be our hometown,” Glynn said. “With any contract we negotiate, it has to make sense economically.”

This year, pay raises in the rejected proposal ranged from 10 cents an hour for baggers to 95 cents an hour for department heads. A top-rated clerk’s pay would increase 85 cents an hour from $14.61 an hour. Workers voted overwhelmingly last month to authorize their leadership to call a strike. Kroger, which had $66.1 billion in sales last year, operates 2,491 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local chains, including Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith’s, Fry’s, Dillons, QFC and City Market.

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Target offers charitable holiday collection

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced Thursday that it is offering an exclusive holiday product collection that gives shoppers the chance to support the company’s charitable partners.

When customers purchase items from Target’s “Gifts for Greater Good” holiday collection, funds will be directly donated to various causes such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Salvation Army.

“This year we are thrilled to offer an expanded holiday gift collection that benefits several special causes,” said Laysha Ward, vp of community relations for Target. “By purchasing items in this collection, our guests will have the opportunity to directly support nonprofit organizations and the people they serve, which we hope will make their holiday shopping more enjoyable and meaningful.”

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