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Gift cards and cash top graduate gift survey

BY Doug Desjardins

WASHINGTON The National Retail Federation says that gift cards and cash are going to remain the most popular gifts for graduates this June.

According to the 2008 Graduation Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, cash is the most popular gift item again this year with 56.8 percent of respondents saying that will be their gift of choice. Gift cards are next with 35.6 percent of respondents intending to take that route followed by electronics (11.6 percent) and apparel (10.8 percent).

Total spending on graduation gifts is expected to reach $4.4 billion next month with nearly one-third of Americans planning to buy at least one gift and spend an average of $52.12 on each present.

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AAFES introduces reusable shopping bags to benefit environment

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS As part of a continuing effort to be a good steward of the environment, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is introducing reusable bags to military shoppers, AAFES announced recently.

Made of non-woven polypropylene mesh, the bags are now arriving in stores in the United States, with worldwide distribution expected by June.

“Military shoppers continue to express a strong desire for environmentally friendly products,” stated AAFES’ senior vice president of sales Maggie Burgess. “In fact, AAFES has seen Compact Fluorescent Lighting light bulb sales increase by 160 percent in 2008 compared to the same time period last year. With that said, we anticipate exchange customers will enthusiastically embrace AAFES’ new, environmentally friendly shopping bag options.”

The AAFES recycled-reusable bag line, capable of carrying up to 35 pounds, will consist of a small shopping bag and wine bag for $0.99 each, a large shopping bag for $1.49 and a thermal bag is available for $1.99.

In addition to the bags, AAFES is implementing “green initiatives” at exchange facilities across the globe to include ENERGY STAR vending machines, inventive “pollution solutions” in fast food restaurants, CFL options within the stores as well as real estate efforts that focus on energy and water reduction and the incorporation of earth friendly materials into building design.

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Wegmans considers expansion into Massachusetts

BY Michael Johnsen

SYRACUSE, N.Y. According to a weekend report in The Post-Standard, a Syracuse daily, Wegmans is considering the expansion of its grocery business into Westwood, Mass., a Boston suburb.

“We have not yet committed to the project … but it is under consideration,” Jo Natale, director of media relations for Wegmans, told the paper. “At the moment, there are no other sites in Massachusetts under consideration, but if we go forward with this one, we will likely look for others.”

According to the report, the project hinges on whether the grocer can obtain a liquor license.

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