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Whole Foods to reinstate quarterly dividend

BY CSA STAFF

Austin, Texas — Whole Foods Market said Wednesday that its board approved a quarterly cash dividend of 10 cents per share reinstating the quarterly payment after more than two years with none. The dividend will be payable Jan. 20 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 10.

John Elstrott, chairman of Whole Foods’ board, said in a statement that the decision to bring back the dividend stems from the company’s strong financial position and outlook.

The grocer suspended its dividend in August 2008 as it cut costs and faced a 30% drop in third-quarter net income.

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Whirlpool account managers receive green designations

BY CSA STAFF

Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool Corporation announced that Cyndi Smith and John Talman, account managers for the Southern States Contract Sales Division, have earned Certified Green Professional (CGP) designations from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Smith, a nine-year member of the Whirlpool Corporation team, serves as the liaison between the Earthcraft green building certification programs and Whirlpool Corporation. Talman is An eight-year Whirlpool Corporation employee and member of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Savannah.

“A large number of the builders I routinely work with have shifted their efforts to green building,” said Talman.

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ShopperTrak reports 2.3% rise in year-over-year sales

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago — Year-over-year GAFO retail sales increased a slight 2.3% or the week ending Dec. 4, according to ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE), while the company’s Retail Traffic Index (SRTI) reported foot traffic remained flat for the same period.

Annually in the week following the strong Black Friday weekend ($20.5 billion spent, 2.8% traffic increase), retailers experience a bit of a lull as consumers recover from the three-day spending frenzy and wait for the next big deal throughout the season. Because of this, ShopperTrak is reporting that even a minimal sales increase should be seen as positive.

“Our data shows that typically consumers have a bit of a shopping hangover following Black Friday weekend, which continues until a couple of weeks before Christmas as both deal-driven and procrastinating shoppers really bookend the holiday season,” said Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak. “So while last week’s sales increase was moderate, this is still relatively good news for retailers as it shows there may still be some dollars in the trough following a November where consumers spent throughout the month responding to early holiday sales.”

In analyzing traffic performance, ShopperTrak says the flat comparison versus last year is in line with what the company monitored over Black Friday weekend and highlights today’s economical consumer.

The NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.

The ShopperTrak Retail Traffic Index measures traffic across five separate retail segments including total U.S. retailing.

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