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Walgreen recommends against unsolicited offer

BY CSA STAFF

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreen Co. said late Wednesday it is recommending that shareholders do not endorse an unsolicited offer from TRC Capital Corp. to buy up to 3 million shares of the drugstore chain.

The retailer said it received an offer from TRC on Nov. 3. The offer represents 0.3% of Walgreen’s outstanding stock.

Walgreen said it doesn’t endorse the "mini-tender offer," because it is set at a price below the current market price for the company’s shares and is subject to numerous conditions.

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SpendingPulse report: U.S. retail spending gains momentum in October

BY CSA STAFF

Purchase, N.Y. — A report release Thursday by MasterCard Advisors said that in October total retail sales, ex-auto, grew by 3.3% year-over-year, the strongest year-to-year pace since April.

Similarly, according to MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, a macro-economic report tracking national retail and service sales, seasonally adjusted month-to-month sales were up by 3.1%. Excluding both auto and gasoline, on a seasonally unadjusted basis, year-over-year sales in October grew by 2.7%, slightly more than double September’s 1.3% increase.

“Retail spending seems to have finally gained some momentum after several months of sluggishness, showing a year-over-year growth rate better than twice the average of the previous three months,” said Kamalesh Rao, director of economic research for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “On a seasonally adjusted month-to-month basis, October was up 3.1%, which was the third straight month of growth, following four months of decline. And while the rebound in gasoline spending has helped drive the retail number, the ex-auto, ex-gas numbers show a moderate resurgence as well.”

Sectors showing positive results included e-commerce and grocery, with apparel showing particular strength — its third consecutive month of year-over-year growth. Department store sales declined, as did electronics and appliances, despite earlier growth, and airlines posted their first decline since June 2009.

Spending grew in every part of the country, with the best unadjusted year-over-results in the Mid-Atlantic and South Central regions at close to or above 5.5%, according to the report. The Northeast, Pacific and Great Plains lagged, posting gains of between 1% and 2% on a seasonally unadjusted year-over-year basis.

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J.C. Penney launches new growth brands division

BY CSA STAFF

Plano, Texas — J.C. Penney Co. announced Thursday that it has launched a Growth Brands Division, created to pursue what the retailer sees as high-potential opportunities in the retail space, including both digital initiatives and retail store opportunities.

According to J.C. Penney, the new initiatives will be separate from the core brand and will start with two online programs slated to launch in summer 2011 under the direction of a new executive. Longtime magazine publisher Anne Sutherland Fuchs has joined the company as group president, digital ventures of the Growth Brands Division, and will oversee the launch of CLAD, an online menswear resource aimed at ages 25 to 54. Day-to-day operations of CLAD will be headed by Will Swillie, who has joined Growth Brands from Retail Convergence, a portfolio of e-commerce companies including Rue La La.

A second initiative, Gifting Grace, will be an online gifting resource. Effective Dec. 6, Mary Drolet, founder of Club Libby Lu, will join the Growth Brands Division to lead Gifting Grace.

“Our objective through this new division is to capitalize on our extraordinary retail expertise to strategically pursue untapped opportunities to serve key customer segments,” said Myron E. “Mike” Ullman, J.C. Penney CEO. “Our aim is to generate new revenue streams consistent with our Long Range Plan mission of being the growth leader in the retail industry.”

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