OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart’s Head of Outreach to Exit

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s head of outreach to environmental groups, Harriet Hentges, is leaving the company.

The former nun and conflict-resolution expert is leaving Wal-Mart just over a year after she was hired to help the world’s largest retailer rally support from environmental groups and other nonprofits in its battles with union-led critics.

Hentges, who was hired in July 2006 as Wal-Mart’s first “director of stakeholder engagement,” will leave Friday for personal reasons, Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said.

Tovar also said Wal-Mart is seeking a replacement for the same position and remains committed to working with outside groups on issues including the environment.

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CEA predicts 7% jump in holiday CE sales

BY CSA STAFF

ARLINGTON, Va. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is forecasting a 7% increase in holiday sales of consumer electronics with laptop computers and video games leading the way.

The CEA projects $48.1 billion in consumer electronics sales for the 2007 holiday season. “Consumer electronics will be the shining star of holiday retail sales, accounting for 22% of all gifts given,” said CEA economist Shawn DuBravac.

A CEA survey shows the top 5 wish list items for CE gifts this year include laptop computers, video game systems, digital cameras, MP3 players and big screen TVS. The 7% jump in sales forecast for this year would be less than half the 15% increase from 2006.

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Fortunoff ties the knot with celebrity wedding planner

BY CSA STAFF

UNIONDALE, N.Y. Fortunoff has hired a new bridal spokesperson to provide couples with bridal registry and event planning, the company said last month.

Mindy Weiss, dubbed the wedding planner to the stars, will use her expertise and provide customers with creative party planning ideas, interior decor tips and utilize her skills with in-store events, visual merchandise presentations and online interactions to make a client’s wedding as stress-free as possible.

Weiss made a guest appearance last month at the company’s White Plains and Westbury stores to provide her creative tips and knowledge of wedding trends for brides-to-be.

“Mindy will be an exciting new complement to Fortunoff’s 85 years experience… [as] one of the nation’s leading tabletop, housewares and jewelry merchants,” said Fortunoff ceo Arnie Orlick.

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