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Wildfires slow in San Diego

BY CSA STAFF

SAN DIEGO A change in the weather is helping fire fighters contain a dozen blazes still burning in Southern California that have destroyed more than 1,500 homes and displaced close to 1 million residents, prompting retailers to step up relief efforts.

Safeway spokeswoman Teena Massingill said the company has been shipping products to local relief agencies to help displaced residents. “We’re working with the San Diego Food Bank and sending them products they need to help firefighters and people in temporary shelters,” said Massingill. Supervalu spokeswoman Haley Meyer said Albertson’s stores have been doing the same and donating products like water, dust masks and diapers “to provide support to evacuation centers as well as on-site support.” Walgreen’s donated $60,000 worth of essential items on Tuesday that were shipped to Qualcomm Stadium near downtown San Diego, where 10,000 evacuees have taken up residence.

Surprisingly, retailers have been able to conduct business as usual despite the mass evacuations. Supervalu said it had to close two Albertson’s stores during the height of the fires Tuesday and Safeway reported that a “handful of stores” were forced to close but that most have re-opened. Walgreen’s said none of its stores had to close and others like Costco reported having to shut down one store for just a few hours. Best Buy and Circuit City also reported temporary closings during the worst fire days on Monday and Tuesday.

One manufacturer that was forced to shut down was Sony Electronics. It closed its campus in Rancho Bernardo on Monday but so far, it appears its buildings have not been damaged. Rancho Bernardo has been one of the hardest-hit areas in the county and has lost more than 300 homes to the fires.

Residents may be dealing with another problem later this week as they return home. Shifting winds are expected to blow much of the smoke and ash carried out over the Pacific Ocean on Monday and Tuesday back onshore. Emergency rooms across the county are already dealing with a growing number of patients reporting respiratory problems from smoke that’s been as thick as fog in some areas.

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Yahoo! chief to speak at CES

BY CSA STAFF

LAS VEGAS Yahoo! ceo Jerry Yang has been added to the list of high profile speakers who’ll appear at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) scheduled for Jan. 7 to 10 in Las Vegas.

Yang will kick off the Industry Insider Series with an address on Jan. 7 at 11 a.m. at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater. Yang co-created the Yahoo! Internet navigational guide in 1994 and co-founded the company in 1995.

“Jerry Yang co-founded and leads one of the most influential and ground-breaking Internet navigational sites in history, making information instantaneously accessible for consumers across the globe,” said CES president Gary Shapiro. “We look forward to hearing Yang’s views on the evolution of Internet technology and its impact on consumer technology products.”

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Tesco launches fashion networking site

BY CSA STAFF

LONDON Tesco has jumped on the social networking bandwagon with the launch of “fashionfile,” an online community that enables fashionistas to customize, store and share fashion tips with others.

According to reports, the actual social networking aspect of the program will be available in late November, when users will be able to share tips with friends via the site. Until then, users can upload pictures and information to their personal fashionfile page, which they can view on demand.

In order to promote its new fashion initiative, Tesco is offering vouchers to be used in stores to those who sign up for the program and recommend it to their friends.

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