FINANCE

U.S. August Retail Sales in Slump

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. U.S. retail sales fell 0.3% in August, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists expected sales to rise by 0.3%.

Taking out auto sales, which were strong in August, sales at all other merchants fell by 0.7%, the worst showing since December. That figure also was sure to disappoint economists, who were calling for a smaller 0.2% dip.

Sales fell at electronics and appliance stores, clothing shops, building and garden stores, and department stores. Gasoline sales also dipped as prices retreated. Sales at furniture and home-furnishing stores were flat.

Those losses swamped gains elsewhere, including auto dealers, sporting goods, books and music stores, grocery stores and health-and-beauty shops.

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Report: Amazon to sell wine

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE Amazon.com, which now sells everything from electronics to furniture, will soon add wine to its list of available items. According to reports, customers will be able to purchase wine through Amazon.com as early as this month thanks to a partnership between the retailer and the Napa Valley Vintners Association.

The Napa Valley Vintners Association represents 315 vintners in the Napa Valley, it is not yet know if each winery will have its on storefront online, or if they would all operate under a single store.

In 1999, Amazon invested $30 million in Wineshopper.com in 1999. In 2000, the company was bought by Wine.com, which operates a storefront Amazon that sells gourmet food but not wine.

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Cost Plus names Stevens to board

BY CSA STAFF

OAKLAND, Calif. Cost Plus announced that Kenneth Stevens has been appointed by its board of directors, effective immediately, to serve as an independent outside director until the next annual meeting of shareholders. Stevens most recently served as president, coo and secretary of tween Brands and was a member of the board of directors.

Prior to joining Tween Brands in 2007, Stevens served in various executive positions at Limited Brands and some of its subsidiaries from 2002 to 2006, including ceo of Express and president and coo of Bath & Body Works. He also served as chairman and ceo of the Bank One Retail Group from 1996 to 2001.

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