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Consumer Cellular gains distribution through Florida-area Walgreens

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTLAND, Ore. — Consumer Cellular, the exclusive wireless provider for AARP members, on Tuesday announced a distribution agreement for its line of contract-free cellular phones and plans at 826 Walgreens locations throughout Florida.

The line of phones includes a Motorola WX345, which features a digital camera, MP3 player and FM radio for $34.99 and the Doro PhoneEasy 410, which features an easy-to-read color display, large buttons, backlit keypad, vibrating ringer and Bluetooth technology for $59.99.

According to the company, Consumer Cellular devices and plans begin as low as $10 per month without roaming or long distance charges.
 

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Kroger’s streamlined checkout process to be introduced in Ohio

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati’s ABC affiliate station on Monday featured Kroger’s Scan-Bag-Go system, a handheld device that customers use to scan bar codes as they shop. The device keeps a running tally of the purchase, and reduces the checkout process to a matter of seconds.

Kroger is testing the system at its Cold Spring, Ky. location. Later this week, the system is going into its Loveland, Ohio store, at the Kroger on Loveland-Madeira Road, ABC reported. 

ABC also noted that East Coast chains Stop and Shop and Giant Food are testing a similar system called "Scan It" in some stores. They plan to roll that out into more stores soon.

For the full story, click here.
 

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ShopperTrak outlines days retailers should expect holiday sales boost this season

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — The week before Christmas will be especially important for retailers looking to come out on top this holiday season, according to new ShopperTrak research released Tuesday.

Five of the top sales and foot traffic days will occur between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24, according to ShopperTrak, which noted in a recent report that holiday sales are projected to increase this year despite a drop in foot traffic.

“Since Christmas falls on different calendar days each year, the shift impacts which days are the busiest. Some change in ranking or drop off completely,” ShopperTrak co-founder Bill Martin said. “Retailers can’t assume historical patterns will completely repeat themselves, and only by tracking in-store traffic can they understand the trends and prepare to capture business this holiday season.”

Prior to Christmas, however, ShopperTrak said it expects Black Friday (Friday, Nov. 25) to remain the top performing sales and foot traffic day for the eighth year in a row, followed by Super Saturday on Dec. 17. In 2010, Black Friday showed an increase in both sales and foot traffic over 2009, with foot traffic rising 2.2% and sales rising 0.3%, representing nearly $10.7 billion in consumer spending and the largest dollar amount ever spent on the day.

ShopperTake also said that Black Saturday, the day after Black Friday, typically presents a decline in sales from the previous day; however, the day still remains one of the season’s top performers. ShopperTrak said expects Black Saturday to rank sixth in both sales and foot traffic.

“Annually, Black Friday weekend’s strong start is one bookend to the season and the week leading into Christmas is the other,” Martin said. “Successful retailers will prepare for these critical top ten days, track their traffic internally and make adjustments to capitalize on shopper opportunities walking through their doors.”

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