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Wal-Mart plans first stores in Washington, D.C.

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores said Thursday it will open its first four stores in Washington, D.C., as part of the retailer’s effort to increase its urban expansion stride.

Wal-Mart said it plans to open the smaller-format urban stores in Washington, D.C. in late 2012, and said it has met little resistance from the area. The retailer said its poll of 800 locals found nearly three-quarters of Washingtonians favored Wal-Mart coming to the city.

A Wal-Mart spokesman told Reuters the retailer would need city permission to open one of the stores, but was free to open the other three.

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FINANCE

Report: Holiday spending growth to edge up Q4

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco — A report released Thursday by Kurt Salmon Associates said that, while consumer confidence remains shaky, retail sales should see a modest increase through the holiday season, boosted by broadened growth in personal consumption.

Specifically, the report predicts personal consumption expenditures to grow between 2.1% and 2.6% for the final quarter of 2010.

"Now, a year and a half into the recovery, we are seeing discretionary spending picking up," said Todd Hooper, Kurt Salmon partner and retail expert. "While high unemployment is preventing some consumers from taking part in the emerging recovery, we still expect the improved discretionary spending to translate into modest year-on-year gains for retailers."

High unemployment continues to drag down consumer confidence, which remains below pre-recession levels and which declined slightly in August and September. Kurt Salmon’s analysis also reveals that while consumers are ready to spend more, their new purchasing habits are not yet set.

"Consumers are still settling into their post-recession spending rhythm," Hooper said. "They know they have to adjust their spending, but they are still sorting out priorities. During this transition, they are not able to consistently anticipate how their spending will change for any given category."

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Staples Q3 profit rises on cost controls

BY CSA STAFF

Framingham, Mass. – Staples reported Thursday that profit for the third quarter rose 7% as the office supply retailer clamped down on expenses. Net income increased to $288.7 million, from $269.4 million.

Revenue edged up to $6.54 billion from $6.52 billion. Analysts expected $6.53 billion.

"We are seeing a steady improvement all areas of the business," CEO Ron Sargent said. "I don’t think we’re expecting a robust recovery next year, but I think we are expecting continuing progress with the national economy."

North American retail revenue rose 1% to $2.6 billion. However, same-store sales dipped 1%.

Staples, which bought Dutch office supply company Corporate Express NV, said international revenue fell 4% to $1.4 billion, mainly because of a 2% decrease in same-store sales.

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