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PRSM Weekly
March 27, 2009  
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Consumer Spending Up for Second Straight Month
from The Associated Press via Forbes
The government says consumers increased spending for a second straight month in February even though their incomes slipped due to continuing massive layoffs. The Commerce Department reported Friday that consumer spending edged up 0.2 percent in February, in line with expectations. That follows a huge 1 percent jump in January that was even better than the 0.6 percent rise originally reported. More

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Best Buy Tops Estimates, Leads Retail Sector Higher
from The Wall Street Journal
Retail stocks opened higher yesterday, led by Best Buy Co., after the largest U.S. electronics retailer posted a smaller-than-expected decline in its fourth-quarter profit and gave an outlook that topped Wall Street expectations. Best Buy shares surged 14 percent to $37.97. More

Sears, Safeway Make Stock Market Moves
from The Chicago Sun-Times
Two retailers with Chicago ties were the subject of stock-market moves Monday. Moody's Investors Service lowered its credit ratings on Sears Holdings Corp. due to concerns that the Hoffman Estates-based retailer will continue to struggle with slow sales as the recession lingers. Sears, which operates Sears and Kmart department stores, has already closed stores and indicated more closings could come in the future. Moody's said that Sears maintains its leadership in market share with its exclusive Kenmore and Craftsman brands. More

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Jewelry, Drugs Boost Retail
from Forbes
Jewelry and drugs seem to be doing well these days, even though the broader economy continues to struggle. Retailers Tiffany and Walgreen posted better-than-expected result, reversing recent declines among the nation's sellers of goods. The retail sector has been experiencing somewhat of a thaw recently, but uncertainty remains regarding how long the warming trend will last. More

Credit Card Reform Comes Back to Congress
from Consumer Affairs
The call to reform the most abusive and restrictive practices of the credit card industry was once again heard on Capitol Hill this week, as two separate hearings emphasized both the need for more oversight and new legislation to protect consumers. More

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America's Fastest-Shrinking Stores
from Forbes
Circuit City: gone. Fortunoff: gone. Ritz Camera: gone. For retailers, 2009 is a game of survival, and already more than a few haven't made it. American retailers could shutter 73,000 stores in the first half of 2009, according to the New York-based trade group International Council of Shopping Centers. More

Retailers Cutting Energy Use in Stores
from Supermarket News
Nearly three-quarters of food retailers surveyed by SN said they have reduced the consumption of electrical energy in their stores in the past year, suggesting continued progress toward greener retailing in the supermarket business. A significant percentage of retailers indicated that they’ve adopted new technologies designed to conserve energy, such as energy management systems (49 percent), LED lighting (51 percent) and skylights (33 percent). More

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America's Favorite Foreign Retailers
from Forbes
As the recession deepens and consumers tighten their belts, mid-priced U.S. clothing retailers like The Gap and Ann Taylor are suffering, while European stores like H&M and Zara continue to make inroads with American buyers. On April 2, Topshop, owned by British billionaire Philip Green's Arcadia Group, will open its first U.S. store in downtown Manhattan. More

Johnson Controls to Cut Jobs, Close 10 Plants
from The Associated Press via Forbes
Johnson Controls Inc. said it will cut jobs and close 10 manufacturing plants as part of a restructuring effort that it said will cost between $200 million and $215 million. The company, whose products include automotive parts, batteries and building systems, did not say how many employees will be affected or which plants it will close. The announcement marks the second recent restructuring effort at Johnson Controls, which has been hit hard by the downturn in global vehicle production. More

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Wal-Mart Launches "Your Zone" Home Furnishing Line
from Reuters
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said that it is launching "Your Zone," a new line of home furnishings aimed at teenagers. The collection, which includes bedding, rugs, curtains, pillows and bulletin boards, is arriving in its U.S. Wal-Mart discount stores and is now being sold on its Web site, The retailer said the bedding includes comforter sets that are priced from $28 to $40, and sheet sets that are priced from $12 to $24. Furniture and lounge seating will arrive in stores in late spring. More

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Blockbuster and TiVo Join to Deliver Digital Movies
from The New York Times
With its lingering debt problems resolved for now, Blockbuster is pinning some of its hopes on a digital future. The struggling video rental chain is expected to announce a partnership with TiVo to deliver Blockbuster's digital movie library over the Internet directly to the televisions of people with TiVo digital video recorders. More

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E-Book Market Heats Up
from The Wall Street Journal
Barnes & Noble Inc. has launched a free electronic-reader application for Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry as general book sales flag and the e-book market heats up. The launch, by the bookseller's Fictionwise e-book retailing unit, comes as consumers are increasingly using mobile devices as e-book readers. BlackBerry is releasing larger-screen devices that make reading easier. Inc. reignited interest in e-books in November 2007 when it launched the Kindle, a dedicated e-book reader. Subscription required.

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