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PRSM Weekly
May 1, 2009  
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Businesses Work to Keep Swine Flu at Bay
from USA Today
Companies small and large are taking steps to protect their workers, and their bottom lines, as swine flu nears pandemic stage. Retail stores, for example, are communicating with employees and customers to "help allay fears, dispel rumors and let them know what's being done as a company," says Joe LaRocca, the National Retail Federation's senior asset protection adviser. After all, as consumers shop for masks and other preventive products, they need to be assured the stores are safe once they are there. This week, the National Restaurant Association set up a special swine flu-focused Website that has a definition of the disease, government updates and details on swine flu scams. More    E-mail article
Related story: The Business of Germ Warfare (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Roof Connect

Starbucks and the Resurrection of the Middle Class
from Time magazine
Consumer spending by America's large middle class is an important indicator of economic recovery. GDP numbers from last quarter and opinions from the Federal Open Market Committee may not be as accurate an indicator of the health of the middle class economy as are the results of Starbucks last quarter. Starbucks, where a cup of coffee can cost over $4, is still a luxury, albeit a modest one. But, if the company is doing relatively well. More    E-mail article

Consumer Spending Slows as Job Losses Mount
from Bloomberg
Consumer spending in the U.S. fell more than forecast at the end of the first quarter as mounting job losses threatened to weigh on a projected economic recovery later this year. Purchases decreased 0.2 percent in March, the first drop this year, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Other reports showed wages and benefits rose at the slowest pace on record and firings continued, straining American workers. More    E-mail article

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CVS Rises as Goldman Sachs Predicts Share Gains
from Forbes
Shares of CVS Caremark Corp. rose after a Goldman Sachs analyst put the stock on a list of recommended securities, saying several items should lift the company's share price over the next few months. John Heinbockel placed the stock on Goldman's "Conviction Buy List." He thinks the stock will rise to $34 over the next year. The drugstore operator and pharmacy benefits manager is scheduled to report its first-quarter results May 5. More    E-mail article

Reaching the Recession-Proof Consumer
from Gourmet Retailer
With the country's economy in the midst of a long-term recession, the behavior of American consumers is changing, notes Howard Shimmel, Nielsen's senior vice president, client insights, and the author of the report. The consumer confidence index reached an all-time low at the end of 2008, and spending is dropping rapidly. Although the downturn is seemingly affecting everyone, consumers actually respond in ways that vary significantly. And while almost everybody is cutting back, there are many different methods to trim costs. Looking at these differences can create opportunities for manufacturers and advertisers, even during a prolonged recession. More    E-mail article

Vortex Industries

Intel, PepsiCo, Kohl's Top EPA's List of Green Power Buyers
from GreenBiz via Reuters
In the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's latest list of top green energy buyers, Intel and PepsiCo maintain their top two spots as more companies make their way on the list and move up its ranks. Kohl's took the number three spot on this list by more than doubling its green power purchase to 600 billion kWh from biogas, biomass, small hydro, solar and wind. The EPA lists the top 50 companies participating in its Green Power Partnership program based on how much green energy they buy. More    E-mail article

Affluent Consumers Regain a Bit of Confidence
from Luxist
The overall consensus seems to be that hopes for better days are alive, they just remain off in the distance a bit. The most recent survey of affluent consumers from Unity Marketing shows results similar to the ones we saw recently in the Bain's "Luxury Goods Worldwide Market" study which is that recovery is coming, it's just not coming too quickly. More    E-mail article

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OfficeMax 1Q Profit Falls but Beats Expectations
from The Associated Press
Office-supply retailer OfficeMax Inc. said this week that profit fell 79 percent as weak demand from consumers and small businesses persisted. But cost-cutting efforts helped the retailer post results that sharply beat analyst expectations. That sent shares climbing as much as 24 percent to a four-month high. More    E-mail article

Toys "R" Us Playing House with Detergents, Food
from Business Courier of Cincinnati
Toys "R" Us Inc. is expanding its selection beyond Barbie and Tonka to include Pampers and Similac. The Wayne, N.J. chain has added store-within-store shops, called “R” Markets, to the front of 260 of its 585 stores, including three in Greater Cincinnati. It will roll the concept out to additional stores later this year. More    E-mail article

William Scotsman Inc.

Walgreens Moves Ahead with Store Redesign
from Drug Store News
Making good on its promise to overhaul and rejuvenate its store format and merchandise presentation, Walgreens shed new light on its store renovation program. That program will see its first large-scale test in the coming weeks, Walgreens' top financial officer told investment analysts, with the unveiling of some 35 new or redesigned drug stores by early summer. By this fall, some 400 of the company's more than 6,700 drug stores will sport the new, slimmed-down prototype, SVP and CFO Wade Miquelon told analysts at this week’s Barclays Capital Retail and Restaurants Conference. More    E-mail article

American Project & Repair

Improved Adhesive Products Make Life Smoother for Installers
from Floor Covering News
Whether it’s reducing callbacks, eliminating extra work or just general stress reduction, keeping life or work problem-free, or at least as close to it as possible, is a goal shared by many. For mechanics across the nation, a quick and easy installation job usually starts with using the right tools and products to get the job done, including adhesives. More    E-mail article

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from STORES Magazine
Some trends simply can’t be missed. Think Beanie Babies, Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo, and you know full well how obvious they can be. Hiding in the shadows thrown by these mega-fads, however, are thousands of other small trends, and retailers have long hoped to latch onto them before it’s too late. Enter richrelevance's personal recommendation technology, complete with a proprietary feedback loop. More    E-mail article

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