PRSM Weekly
Nov. 20, 2009

Retail sales figures point to subdued holidays
The Associated Press via Google News
Improved retail sales gave Wall Street a boost this week but provided little hope for a robust holiday shopping season that might invigorate the economic recovery. The October figures, driven by a surge in auto sales, exceeded economists' expectations. Yet consumers are so squeezed by tight credit and rising unemployment that economists don't expect to see significant spending until well after year's end. Even optimists predict scant improvement over last year's holiday season. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of total economic activity, so wary shoppers are a worrisome sign for retailers entering the crucial holiday season.More

Target considering smaller stores to expand in cities
Bloomberg
Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount chain, is considering opening smaller-format stores to expand in cities. The company is researching the option, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel said in an interview at Target's Minneapolis headquarters, adding that the retailer has no definitive plans or sites for such stores.More

By scaling back catalogs, J.C. Penney to save 30 percent on paper
Environmental Leader
J.C. Penney will cease publishing its twice-annual Big Book catalogs, instead focusing on its Christmas catalog and other niche catalogs. The move will save the retailer 25-30 percent in paper use, according to published reports. The company is not acting solely to save paper. Rather, consumers shopping on the Internet has made the giant, 1,000-page catalogs obsolete, said Mike Boylson, J.C. Penney’s Chief Marketing Officer, in an article at the Dallas Morning News. In 2006, J.C. Penney’s online sales topped $1 billion.More

Leasing demand improves for shopping center REITs in the third quarter
Retail Traffic
After months of scrambling for tenants, shopping center REITs reported a rise in leasing activity in the third quarter compared with earlier in the year. REIT executives were particularly encouraged to see greater interest in big-box spaces, one of the retail niches hardest hit by bankruptcies and liquidations. Prospective tenants are still driving hard bargains on rents, but at least they are finally showing an appetite for expansion, notes Robert McMillan, industry analyst with New York City-based Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services.More

Save-A-Lot to double store count, target Atlanta
Atlanta Business Chronicle
A discount grocery chain is planning to help metro Atlantans Save-A-Lot. St. Louis-based Save-A-Lot, a wholly owned subsidiary of Supervalu Inc., plans to double its 1,200 U.S. store count in five years, and metro Atlanta is one of the markets it will target, said Rick Meyer, vice president of market development.More

Some General Growth Properties may soon exit bankruptcy
Financier Worldwide
Mall operator General Growth Properties Inc. The company said it had reached an agreement with its lenders to restructure about $8.9 million in debt, allowing 170 of its entities to emerge from bankruptcy protection by the end of the year.More

FDA offers answers on food-handlers and H1N1 flu
the National Restaurant Association via Flu.gov
The federal government recently launched a new question-and-answer section at www.flu.gov to confirm proper food-handling procedures and reassure consumers during the current H1N1 influenza outbreak. The Food Handlers Frequently Asked Questions reinforce that flu viruses, including H1N1, are not transmitted through food and that no additional food-processing or equipment-cleaning safeguards are necessary. Although the food industry previously prepared for pandemic avian flu, the H1N1 virus is a vastly different strain.More

Nike tops annual climate action scores
Environmental Leader
Nike has topped Climate Counts' third annual corporate climate performance scorecard with 83 points (out of a possible 100) for the second year in a row. Stoneyfield Farm followed closely with 81 points. Unilever received 80 points. The climate performance scorecard ranks 90 companies in 12 sectors.More

'Midwestern mentality' propels Hy-Vee's growth
The Des Moines Register
Hy-Vee Inc., which started nearly 80 years ago with a single store in Beaconsfield, Ia., today logs annual revenues of roughly $6.4 billion, Jurgens said. The private, employee-owned chain now has 228 supermarkets in eight states following Tuesday's opening of the company's second grocery store in Columbia, Mo.More