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U.S. retail sales rose 1.2% in October

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — A report released Monday by the Commerce Department said that retail sales beat expectations for October, climbing 1.2% and representing the biggest gain since March.

The 1.2% rise in October purchases followed a 0.7% gain in September, which also was larger than estimated.

Stock gains over the past two months and growing employment may give a boost to consumer spending in the coming months. “The 2010 holiday shopping season could prove a little bit brighter,” Zach Pandl, an economist at Nomura Securities International in New York, told Bloomberg. “Consumer spending is really the main factor leading to a little bit more optimistic views of where the economy is heading.”

Nine of 13 categories in Monday’s report showed an increase in demand, led by a 5% gain among auto dealers. Sales excluding automobiles advanced 0.4%. Non-store merchants, which include Internet retailers, sporting goods and building material stores, were among the other categories that showed increasing demand.

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JCPenney big-and-tall division to launch new retail concept

BY CSA STAFF

PLANO, Texas JCPenney announced that its new Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co. division will launch a new retail concept catering to the men’s big-and-tall customer. With plans to open 300 stores — as well as an ecommerce website — over the next five years, The Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co. will carry an extensive assortment of highly sought-after national men’s brands along with The Foundry Supply Co. private brand merchandise, offering an upscale, one-stop-shop for the big-and-tall customer, JCPenney reported.

“With big & tall customers making up over 50% of the male population and spending nearly $6 billion on apparel, footwear and accessories, we saw an opportunity to serve the fashionable and professional big & tall customer who is often frustrated by the lack of sizes and fits, availability of brands and the overall lack of customer service in their category,” said Myron Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer. “Offering an upscale environment and extensive assortments of apparel, footwear and furnishings created with them in mind, The Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co. is positioned to address all of the needs of the big & tall customer — one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the market place today.”

The Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co. plans to open 10 specialty stores in May 2011, following the April 2011 launch of its ecommerce website and aggressively expand nationwide to 150 stores by 2013, reaching a total of 300 stores over the next five years. The stand alone, specialty retail stores will be up to 6,000 sq. ft., and be staffed with dedicated associates.

Steve Lossing, a retail executive with over 20 years of menswear experience, including eight years with JCPenney, has been named president of The Foundry and will be responsible for the overall retail operations.

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Walmart helps fight hunger this holiday

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Walmart announced that it will donate more than $18 million in monetary and in-kind donations to help fight hunger in the United States this holiday season.

“We must face the fact that there are people who go hungry in this country every day. These are our neighbors and people we see throughout our daily lives,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “This issue has to be top of mind when we sit down at dinner and when we eat breakfast, and we all have to commit to doing something to help. If all of us give one can of food or volunteer one hour at a food bank, if we all do one thing, together we can end hunger in this country.”

From Nov. 15 through Nov. 22, each of Walmart’s 3,700 stores nationwide will participate in the company’s first in-store food drive, the company reported. From Nov. 15 through Dec. 31, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are encouraging people to visit Walmart’s Facebook page and help decide which cities should receive $1.5 million in grants to fight hunger. Participants will choose from a list of 100 communities where hunger rates are the highest — the city with the most support will receive $1 million in grants and the next five cities with the highest support will receive $100,000 each. 

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will give its 100th refrigerator food truck to Feeding America through a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio, the company reported. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are providing grants to organizations and nonprofits committed to fighting hunger in the United States, including a $1 million grant to The Salvation Army that will be used to purchase meals for families in-need and $4.6 million in funds to local food banks.

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