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Top 10 Stories of the First Half of 2012

BY CSA STAFF

Having past the calendar’s mid-point, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the most viewed stories of the year to date on Chainstoreage.com. (Based on the results, it’s clear that J.C. Penney is shaping up as THE story of 2012.) Here are the Top 10 stories of the first six months:

1. Walgreens executives outline growth strategies at annual meeting | January 11, 2012
Walgreens’ chairman Alan G. McNally, president and CEO Gregory D. Wasson and executive VP and CFO Wade D. Miquelon outlined the company’s strategies for growth and value creation for shareholders at the chain’s annual shareholders meeting. Read More

2. J.C. Penney pins future on new, three-tiered pricing strategy and in-store shops | January 25, 2012
Ron Johnson, CEO of J.C. Penney, unveiled his ambitious vision for the chain’s future. Read More

3. Retail Store of the Year: And the winners are… | February 9, 2012
The latest jewel in the portfolio of Mexican department store operator Liverpool took top honors in Chain Store Age’s 30th annual Retail Store of the Year design competition. Here is a complete list of the winning projects: Read More

4. Supreme Court rules healthcare mandate can stay; retailers upset | June 28, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled that, while the individual mandate to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, this key part of President Obama’s signature healthcare law can stay as part of Congress’s power under a taxing clause. Read More

5. Walgreens in $6.7 billion deal to acquire 45% stake in Alliance Boots | June 19, 2012
Walgreen Co. said it will pay $6.7 billion for a 45% stake in European health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots, which is based in Nottingham, England, with an option to buy the rest of the company in about three years. Read More

6. J.C. Penney to announce big changes on Jan. 25 | January 19, 2012
J.C. Penney Co. will host a two-part launch event where senior management will outline its much-anticipated plan of transformation on the mornings of Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 in New York City. Read More

7. Avenue Stores closing 96 stores as part of restructuring | May 29, 2012
Avenue Stores announced it has begun the process to close 96 stores over the next three months. Read More

8. Visual merchandising firm sues J.C. Penney | April 27, 2012
Hudson + Broad, a New York City-based visual merchandising firm, is suing J.C. Penney Co. for $40 million. Read More

9. J.C. Penney Transformation: Two Months In | April 2, 2012
J.C. Penney is in the very beginning of its transformation. But the first component of the strategy — a new pricing model that jettisoned hundreds of promotions in favor a three-tier model — in already in place. And not surprisingly, experts are weighing in. Read More

10. Ellen DeGeneres addresses J.C. Penney controversy | February 8, 2012
The popular television talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres said she was “proud and happy” that J.C. Penney remained committed to her after One Million Moms asked the retailer to dump her as a spokesperson because she is gay. Read More

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BTS to boost sales in August

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — Retail sales and foot traffic will see a boost in late summer as the back-to-school season looms, according to the latest ShopperTrak report.

After a sharp decline in 2009, year-over-year back-to-school sales improved only 1.8% in 2010 before increasing 4.5% in 2011, ShopperTrak noted. Year-over-year retail foot traffic percentages also have declined during the past four back-to-school shopping seasons. When compared with the same period last year, however, 2012 sales will rise 4% in August, and retail foot traffic will increase 1.5%.

"This is an important shopping period, and retailers have struggled during back-to-school seasons the past few years," ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said. "The tide will turn for retailers this year as we forecast a 4% increase in back-to-school sales. This increase will follow year-over-year U.S. retail sales growth in 28 of the last 29 months. August will present retailers with a tremendous opportunity to take all steps possible to maximize their shopper opportunity and increase conversion rates."

ShopperTrak also said that falling gas prices in recent weeks may encourage customers to make more car trips and visit more stores than they did last year, while lower prices at the pump also may translate into additional disposable income that parents can spend on their children.

"For the last couple of years, traffic data indicated a trend toward very targeted shopping. This year, back-to-school shoppers will visit more stores and browse for the best value," Martin added. "Stores that plan ahead and keep a close eye on their foot traffic and conversion rates will be pleased with their performance this season. Those who depend on last year’s shopper turnout and behavior as a guide for their staffing and inventory plans are, however, at risk of losing out on business this year."

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Report: Abercrombie planning big share buyback; cutting back on expansion in Europe

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Abercrombie & Fitch plans a big share buyback to appease investors, the New York Post reported, and is also likely to cut back on its aggressive expansion plans in Europe.

The report, which quoted unnamed “insiders,” said the chain is likely to announce its plans on or before its next quarterly earnings report in mid-August.

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