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Holiday sales set record for dollars spent

BY Marianne Wilson

Retailers have plenty to cheer at the beginning of the new year.

Holiday sales increased 4.9% in 2017, setting a new record for dollars spent, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. It was the largest year-over-year increase since 2011. Online shopping saw large gains of 18.1% compared to 2016, boosted by a late-season rally. (The SpendingPulse report details holiday shopping from Nov.1 through Dec. 24 and covers retail sales across all payment types.)

In-store traffic saw a big rise on Super Saturday (Dec. 23), increasing 20% over year, according to data from Shoppertrak. (Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17, also performed exceptionally well, posting a 2.8% increase in traffic over last year, the company reported.)

“The drastic increase in shopper visits supports our data-backed assertion that Super Saturday’s impact increases based on its proximity to Christmas Day,” Shoppertrak stated.” Last year, with it being more than a week away from Christmas Day last year, the day had less urgency. This year, Super Saturday was only two days away from Christmas Day, and it served as the last full shopping day prior to Christmas, motivating shoppers to get out and hit the stores.” last year,

Although it was a winning holiday season for retail overall, the story was different category by category, according to Mastercard. Electronics and appliances increased 7.5%, the strongest growth of the last 10 years. The home furniture and furnishings category grew 5.1%, as did home improvement.

Specialty apparel and department stores, which both traditionally see the bulk of sales happen in-store, saw moderate gains. This is particularly impressive given recent store closings, Mastercard noted.

Additional findings of the Mastercard SpendingPulse report include:

  • Retailers’ heavy early-season promotions paid off, with the first three weeks of November seeing significant jumps.
  • In addition, shoppers were still spending late into the season, with Dec. 23 next to Black Friday in terms of single-day spending. This was a boon to certain categories, including jewelry. Jewelry grew 5.9%, largely driven by last-minute sales.

“Overall, this year was a big win for retail,” said Sarah Quinlan, senior VP of Market Insights, Mastercard. “The strong U.S. economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase.”

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Vitamin Packs introduces two new multis

BY Michael Johnsen

Vitamin Packs, a personalized vitamin subscription service, on Tuesday unveiled two new products — its Foundational Multi and Pre-Post Natal Multi.

“Our new multivitamins are truly the best that can be developed for absorption, effectiveness, quality and safety,” stated Jason Brown, CEO of Vitamin Packs. “Through our medical advisory board and the latest nutrition research, we identified what the body craves to help it run better — especially at times when we can’t eat perfectly. Whether you are a pregnant or nursing mother, or an adult looking for therapeutic levels of nutritional support, Vitamin Packs combines best-in-quality ingredients to create a unique recommendation made for your body’s needs.”

[quote-from-article] Vitamin Packs’ new multivitamins are available after completing a personalized nutritional assessment. Based on answers to the nutritional assessment, Vitamin Packs curates a custom combination of vitamins and nutritional supplements that meet an individual’s unique needs.

Vitamin Packs’ new multivitamin Foundational Multi is custom formulated to deliver therapeutic levels of essential nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin K2, an often overlooked essential vitamin, supports bone and artery health by clearing plaque formations that can impact heart health;
  • Vitamin B-6 in the form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate, which delivers a higher absorption level than other forms of B-6. By doing this the body receives the right level to support health;
  • Chromium helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is important as more Americans fight pre-diabetes; and
  • Methylated folate is a superior form of folate used because not every body can absorb folate, but they can absorb the methylated form.

Vitamin Packs’ pre-post natal multivitamin features a mix of nutrients to help pregnant and nursing women nourish their little ones. The new pre-post natal multivitamin contains nutrients with the highest levels of absorption, so the body can use more nutrients faster. The pre-post natal multivitamin, suitable for women trying to conceive, includes several essential nutrients needed for mom and baby, including:

  • Vitamin K2 helps to maintain mother’s health while supporting skeletal growth and development in the unborn child;
  • Methylated folate allows both bodies to process folate, an essential nutrient needed to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects; and
  • Organic ginger relieves upset stomachs in pregnant women.

Vitamin Packs’ pre-post natal multivitamin is free of parabens and phalates and does not contain soy, gluten, yeast, wheat or artificial flavors or colors. Its ingredients were selected because they have the highest rate of absorption compared to other prenatal multivitamins on the market.

“A healthy pregnancy starts before conception, and research shows that taking a prenatal three months prior to pregnancy and through pregnancy may help decrease the chances of birth defects and childhood cancers. I recommend that women who are planning to become pregnant begin a prenatal supplement routine right away,” said Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and Vitamin Packs medical advisory board member. "In fact, since 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, the best advice might be for all women with pregnancy potential to begin a prenatal multivitamin. Prenatal vitamins are designed to help mothers and their offspring be as healthy as possible. A prenatal multivitamin before and during pregnancy gives just what a new mother needs – peace of mind – as they grow and care for their little one.”

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One Bar launches Red Velvet Cake flavor in time for Valentine’s Day

BY Michael Johnsen

One Brands on Tuesday launched their newest flavor, Red Velvet Cake online and in specialty stores nationwide.

"Our fans have been asking for a Red Velvet Cake bar and we are thrilled to offer it as a seasonal flavor timed to Valentine's Day," stated Peter Burns, president and CEO of One Brands. "One Red Velvet Cake is especially fun not only because it tastes unbelievable, but because our bars provide a great alternative to traditional Valentine's Day mainstays like a box of chocolates. We're confident that our customers will fall in love with this new flavor."

ONE Red Velvet Cake also will be available at Amazon, at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and various retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of up to $2.79.

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