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Crayola launches product line for toddlers

BY Allison Cerra

EASTON, Pa. In an effort to make toy shopping easier for new parents, Crayola has launched a new product line to enhance a child’s sense of art.

Crayola Beginnings, the first art tools made just for toddlers’ tiny hands, are designed to fit toddlers’ hands like a glove. The egg-shaped Crayola Beginnings TaDoodles washable crayons, markers and paints let children 12 to 36 months scribble and paint up a colorful storm with shades like “please pink,” “oopsie orange” and “pattycake purple.”

The most radical change to Crayola crayons and markers in 104 years, toddlers can now explore art at a much earlier age using the playful egg-shaped characters, while building confidence, language and writing abilities, and important motor skills.

Toy Wishes magazine awarded TaDoodles First Marks markers, Crayon Buddies and All-in-One Paints a “2007 Fab 5 Award,” an honor bestowed on five innovative new toys that need only a child’s imagination to charge them up.

“The best play puts children in full control of the experience, giving them an outlet for personal expression and discovery,” said Chris Byrne, toy and children’s lifestyle expert. “Crayola Beginnings encourages parents to celebrate their toddlers’ carefree creations because by nurturing children’s art, we nurture their imagination.”

For the young-at-art and children who enjoy creating with the latest in surprising, creative activities, Crayola has something to please girls and boys of all ages this holiday season, including products like mess-free paint, sculpture-making products and even glowing board that illuminates with specific markers.

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Target sees disappointing Q3 sales

BY Drew Buono

MINNEAPOLIS Target has released its third quarter results for the period ended Nov. 3, 2007. The net earnings were $483 million compared to the third quarter of 2006, which saw earnings of $506 million.

Total revenues in the third quarter increased 9.3 percent to $14.8 billion from $13.6 billion in 2006, reflecting a 3.7 percent increase in comparable-store sales combined with the contribution from new stores and credit card operations. The contribution from the company’s credit card operations to the third-quarter earnings before taxes was $157 million, an increase of $23 million, or 17.1 percent, from the same period in 2006.

“Our third-quarter earnings were disappointing due to soft sales in our higher margin categories, leading to lower-than-expected gross margin in our core retail operations,” said Bob Ulrich, chairman and chief executive officer. “However, we have not observed any meaningful change in the intensity of the competitive environment and continue to believe that we are well-positioned to operate in a variety of sales environments going forward.”

The company also announced that its board of directors has authorized a new $10 billion share repurchase program, replacing the previous authorization.

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Kroger to build DC on former brownfield site

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI Cincinnati-based Kroger has signed a $207 million lease for a 552,000 square-foot warehouse and distribution center in Paramount, Calif., the Cincinnati Busines Courier reported this week.

Two Kroger divisions, Ralphs and Food 4 Less, will use the location, a former brownfield site, as a hub to serve more than 360 locations in California. The center is expected to begin operations in the third quarter of 2008.

Kroger operates more than 2,400 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 31 states.

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