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Census Bureau: Retail sales rise for 10th straight month

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales rose for the 10th consecutive month in April, increasing 0.5% to $389.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.

The government agency also disclosed retail sales experienced a 7.6% jump above the year-ago period. Across retail sectors, grocery stores during April rose 1.5% to nearly $45.9 million, up from $45.3 million in March; while health and personal care stores, which have experienced positive numbers over the past several months, saw a surprise drop of 0.3% to nearly $22.7 million for the month.

Although advanced estimates for pharmacies and drug stores are not included in the report, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a surge in sales to about $19.9 million in March, up from nearly $18 million in February.

Commenting on the positive sales results, the National Retail Federation said that retailers are on the front lines of economic recovery, although increases in retail and gas prices are looming. “Positive economic indicators, such as increases in job openings and wage growth, are certainly helping boost consumers’ confidence and support spending,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “While there are reasons to be optimistic, plenty of other concerns exist [that] could very easily shift consumers’ spending habits, including decreasing home prices, high unemployment levels and rising costs at the pump.”

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Report: Target setting up three DCs in Canada

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — Target is setting up three distribution centers in Canada in preparation for its debut north of the border, according to a report in The Globe and Mail.

Although the retailer could have supplied the stores from its U.S. warehouses, it chose to set up a network specifically for its Canadian operations, the report said, with DCs planned for Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Target is set to open as many as 150 stores in Canada by 2013, the first leg of its expansion into Canada after its $1.8 billion deal to buy Zellers stores from Hudson’s Bay Co.

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Sunrise Greetings, Dena Designs to collaborate on new products

BY Allison Cerra

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Sunrise Greetings and Dena Designs are extending their partnership with a multi-year licensing deal that will include an expanded line of gifts and greeting cards.

The expansion marks the continuation of a relationship first established in 2005 with the launch of an exclusive line of embellished cards for Sunrise Greetings. Sunrise and Dena currently offer more than 100 everyday and season-specific cards in grocery stores, pharmacies, bookstores and independent card shops throughout the United States and Canada, the companies said.

The new offerings bearing Dena’s designs will be available from Sunrise Greetings’ sister company and Hallmark subsidiary, DaySpring.

"We are excited to continue working with Dena as her penchant for artistry adds an additional layer of beauty and emotion to our cards," Sunrise Greetings creative director Rebecca Ryan. "Our consumers will find these new products to be both aesthetically stimulating and useful in connecting with their loved ones."

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