FINANCE

Wal-Mart denies that it will open Chilean, Argentine banks

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores on Tuesday denied reports by a Santiago, Chile, newspaper that it would consider opening banks in Chile and Argentina.

The reports are “completely untrue,” Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner told Bloomberg in an e-mailed response to questions.

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FINANCE

S&P Equity Research sees consumer spending up 3% in 2011

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Consumer spending will rise 3% this year, according to retail analysts at S&P Equity Research. While the majority of publicly traded retailers were able to capture share in 2010 from smaller competitors or those that were forced to declare bankruptcy, and also increase profit margins, the S&P retail analysts see 2011 as another good year.

"The most important driver of retail sales is the trend in the labor market, and we think the employment situation will continue to stabilize with some slight improvement," said Marie Driscoll, group head of the Consumer Discretionary Retail analysts at S&P Equity Research. "We think this will be a slight positive for retail sales this year, although we admit that various aspects of the labor market are still extremely poor."

Perhaps the biggest catalyst for improving retail sales in 2011 will be the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and the 2% payroll tax cut for all workers one year, according to Driscoll.

"We think this ‘tax holiday’ will have a significant impact on spending, as the median income family earning about $50,000 per year will receive an additional $1,000 in its paychecks and those earning $106,800, the current limit of FICA taxes, and above will take home about $2,100 more this year," Driscoll said.

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OPERATIONS

Walmart chief named to RILA board

BY CSA STAFF

Sarasota, Fla. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association said Tuesday that Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart Stores, along with Steven Preston, president and CEO of OakLeaf Waste management, have joined the RILA board of directors.

Simon replaces Walmart vice chairman and president and CEO of global e-commerce and global sourcing Eduardo Castro-Wright on the board.

The RILA board meets twice a year to discuss the issues facing retailers and to offer insight into the opportunities and challenges confronting the industry.

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