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Unclear Sales Trends

BY CSA STAFF

Few months have provided more unclear sales data than November 2007. One reason is the shift in the reporting calendar by one week from last year. The second reason is the wide array of large-scale distractions and pressures consumers face, including increasing fuel prices, continuing war, sub-prime mortgages and the uncertainty of the presidential campaign. Thirdly, retailers found themselves with over-plan inventories, particularly in apparel, the much over-hyped Black Friday and the unknown threat of competitive reaction in the weeks ahead.

All of these factors make it virtually impossible to determine who is serving their customers well and who is not. For example, Target reported a 10.8% comp-store increase for November. On a calendar-adjusted basis, the increase was only 1.1%. Until the year-end tallies are in, it will be very difficult to determine who the winners and losers actually are.

Buried in all of this confusion are some continuing trends. Customer-focused retailers like Nordstrom, Saks and The Buckle are powering ahead. The large-scale factors seem to have a very limited effect on their continued profitable growth. In contrast, retailers such as Sears, Kmart and Chico’s are paying an ever-increasing price for their lack of understanding the customer they are trying to serve. To view the entire Trending Report, go to www.gordmangroup.com .

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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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