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Bic improves its pens with new technology

BY Allison Cerra

SHELTON, Conn. Bic celebrated the official launch of its Easy-Glide System ink technology, which has been incorporated into its Velocity retractable, Atlantis retractable and Pro+ ball pens.

The technology provides up to 35% smoother writing compared with current Bic pen ink systems, the company said.

To help celebrate the event, Bic is kicking off its "Get a Clue" event Nov. 3 and 4 at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal, which invites consumers to help solve a gigantic crossword puzzle and learn more about how Bic ballpoint pens are made.

"This event is a fun way for commuters, many of whom do crossword puzzles during their train ride to Manhattan each day, to spend a few minutes to help us complete a gigantic crossword puzzle," said Joseph Franzino, senior brand manager at Bic Consumer Products USA, a division of Bic USA. "In addition to the crossword puzzle and free samples of the Bic Velocity retractable ball pen, commuters will also receive coupons for Bic stationery products and have the chance to receive free giveaways and participate in a fun sensory box activity to see how smooth they are at guessing what is in the boxes."

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Mintel forecasts consumer trends for 2011

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO A new report by Mintel noted retailers should be aware of certain consumer trends that may impact shopping behavior.

The research firm found that since the global economic crisis, the majority of U.S. consumers polled are using defensive thinking to shop, and seek brands that demonstrate how a product or service delivers long-term benefits for them, Mintel said. Additionally, 35% of respondents said their choice of store is determined by special offers or discounts.

Another key to driving sales next year is app technology, as the sales of smart phones grew 82% from 2008 to 2010, Mintel reported. Many retailers currently have apps readily available for customers. For instance, CVS/pharmacy earlier this month launched a free, downloadable application for mobile customers that seek to manage their prescriptions and shopping lists on the go.

“The effects of the global economic crisis have had long-reaching implications, and it is not just consumer behavior in the short term that was affected. Indeed, these consumer trends for 2011 are a legacy created by economics, but now are gathering their own momentum and are set to influence the global consumer mindset for a long time to come,” Alexandra Smith, global trends analyst at Mintel said.

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Four Canada Safeway stores to receive Tim Hortons coffee outlets

BY Michael Johnsen

CALGARY, Alberta Canada Safeway will be introducing four store-within-a-store Tim Hortons coffee outlets in December here and across Western Canada, the Calgary Herald reported Wednesday morning. The new outlets mark a new partnership with Tim Hortons, a Canada Safeway spokeswoman told the Herald, and should not impede Canada Safeway’s existing partnership with rival Starbucks.

“In this market and in many markets, Starbucks has multiple locations in very close proximity to each other,” Betty Kellsey, public affairs manager at Canada Safeway, told the paper. “What we’ve learned in many cases where there’s multiple Starbucks locations: You tend to share the business between the Starbucks,” she said. “We remain committed to our relationship with Starbucks … and we are looking forward to offering coffee alternatives to Safeway customers in markets where Starbucks is already well-represented.”

There presently are 27 Starbucks within Calgary Safeway stores.

 

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