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Tracking Santa

BY CSA STAFF

Santa Monica, Calif.-based The Macerich Co. kept close tabs on Santa Claus during the 2007 holiday season, as the mall owner introduced a “Santa Tracking Station” in seven of its shopping centers. Created by Baltimore-based Becker Group, the tracking station uses interactive elements to not only trace Santa’s annual journey around the globe, but also digitally put guests into an airborne sleigh flying over famous world landmarks—and photographs them en route. The exhibit provides education on the 52-year-old tradition of tracking Santa’s journey by the military’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

“The Santa Tracking Station is an innovative way to enhance our guests’ shopping experience during the holidays,” said Susan Valentine, senior VP, consumer experience for Macerich. “The customer satisfaction increases noticeably, and the positive word of mouth just can’t be replicated.”

By mid-December, Macerich was already reporting photo sales up more than 40% over last year at the company’s Westside Pavilion Center in Los Angeles, as compared to the traditional Santa photo area. In addition, an accompanying Web site ( www.santatrackingstation.com ) created a regenerating Web-on-Web shopping circle with Macerich centers, providing Web visitors further opportunity for engagement such as sending e-mail letters to Santa.

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Borders to offer free resolution workshops

BY CSA STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Borders said Thursday that it is offering customers free in store events throughout the month of January to help them kick start their new year’s resolutions and learn how to keep them through the year. Programs include wellness fairs, yoga classes and diet seminars.

Borders reported that local organizations and community groups will be featured in activities and events at its stores across the country ranging from fitness centers and hospitals to singles groups and retirement centers.

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Schulze sells 440K shares of company stock

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy chairman and founder Richard Schulze sold 440,000 shares of Best Buy stock last week valued at $22.4 million. Schulze sold the stock at prices ranging from $50.71 to $51.18 per share. Earlier this month, Schulze sold 2.35 million shares valued at more than $120 million.

While Schulze’s stock sales are considerable, they represent just a fraction of his holdings at Best Buy. He’s estimated to still hold more than 68 million shares of stock amassed during 41 years with the company.

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