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Consumers plan to spend more this holiday season, NPD finds

BY Allison Cerra

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — It seems that consumers’ holiday spending intentions are more positive than last year, according to NPD’s 11th annual holiday retail study.

Among 3,618 respondents polled in September, 10% said they plan on spending more this holiday season, compared with 9% in 2011; 67% said they plan to spend about the same, compared with 64% last year; and 23% said they plan to spend less, compared with 27% in 2011. But as additional consumers are willing to spend more this holiday season, their shopping timeline differs from 2011: More consumers already started their holiday shopping by this time last year (16% this year versus 17% in 2011), while the number of consumers who said they would begin their shopping before Thanksgiving rose from 19% in 2011 to 21% in 2012.

"Looking at this year’s responses, I see a light at the end of the tunnel with more consumers telling us they plan to ‘spend about the same’ and less planning to ‘spend less,’" said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD. "While consumer confidence seems to be up retailers will still face some challenges. They will need to develop creative ways to lure shoppers into the stores."

So where will consumers head to when they start their holiday shopping? Half (50%) said they will shop at discount retailers (i.e., Kmart, Target and Walmart); 38% intend to shop online and 28% said they intend to shop national chains, such as Sears and Kohl’s, among others. However, NPD found that there is an increased emphasis on shopping at off-price stores, drug stores and specialty stores (rising 1% to 2%), compared with 2011.

"Retailers at all levels are likely to be challenged this year with the channel lines increasingly becoming blurred. Among the competition for traditional retailers this year are drug stores and supermarkets," Cohen said. "Now that consumers are less attracted to sale prices and more attracted to selection, as well as convenience, stocking the right items will be essential to drive foot traffic."

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Walmart testing same-day delivery for holidays

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart said Tuesday it is testing same-day delivery service in four markets over the holiday shopping season.

The service is being tested in northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and San Francisco/San Jose, Calif. Geared toward customers who buy popular items online during the holidays, the test includes about 5,000 items and builds on a same-day grocery delivery service the retailer launched in San Jose in April 2010 and tested in San Francisco in 2011.

According to Walmart spokeswoman Amy Lester, the company has no immediate plans to roll out the service to other stores. "This is truly to learn and better understand what our customers want," Lester said.

To use the service, customers can place orders up until noon and then choose a four-hour window to receive the delivery the same day. Walmart is using UPS delivery trucks to deliver the merchandise. For the San Francisco and San Jose markets, shoppers have to order by 7 a.m. that day to receive those items. Walmart is using its own delivery trucks in those two regions.

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Mylan settles suit over asthma, allergy drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Mylan has settled a patent infringement suit over a drug used to treat respiratory diseases, Mylan said.

The generic drug maker said it resolved a patent litigation suit filed by Shionogi and Cima Labs over prednisolone sodium phosphate orally disintegrating tablets, a generic version of Orapred ODT. Mylan is hoping to market its generic version of the drug in the 10-mg, 15-mg and 30-mg strengths. The drug is used to treat asthma and certain allergic conditions.

Under the settlement, Mylan will be able to launch its product starting in April 2014. The company said it was likely the first company to file a regulatory approval application containing a Paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the patent covering the branded drug is invalid, unenforceable or not at risk of being infringed.

Orapred ODT had sales of $33.1 million during the 12-month period ended in June, according to IMS Health.


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