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NPD: Consumers will cautiously spend this holiday season

BY Allison Cerra

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. Consumers will approach this holiday shopping season with care, according to the NPD Group.

According to NPD’s annual holiday survey, 9% of consumers surveyed planned to spend more this year, compared with 11% last year. The majority of consumers (61%, up two points from last year) said they planned to spend about the same as last year.

“Even though the recession is technically over, lingering concerns are keeping consumers in a cautious frame of mind,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD. “We are seeing what I call ‘calculated consumption,’ and I believe that it is a consumer mindset that will be around after holiday shopping is over. Again, this year the real challenge is the absence of newness and excitement,” Cohen added. “The more progressive brands will learn from mistakes of the recent past and ramp up the excitement in their product offerings. And in turn, retailers will be looking for those products to ignite consumers’ passion to spend this holiday.”

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Old Mother Hubbard releases new dog treats

BY Allison Cerra

TEWKSBURY, Mass. Old Mother Hubbard now is offering 15 new varieties of natural dog snacks.

All Old Mother Hubbard snacks are made with natural, nutrient-rich ingredients, such as chicken, cheddar cheese, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes and oatmeal, without any artificial colors or flavors. And each crunchy snack is slowly oven-baked to preserve the mouth-watering flavors that dogs love to catch, chew and eat.

 

Old Mother Hubbard now offers:

  • Two new lines of soft and chewy snacks, which includes three new soft and chewy flavors;
  • Four new crunch varieties for its Mother’s Solutions line;
  • PB hearts;
  • Fish’NWaves;
  • Liv’R’Wedges; and
  • Wheat-free Chick’N’Apples.

Old Mother Hubbard also makes snacks that target specific health issues:

  • Hip and joint;
  • Skin and coat;
  • Tartar control;
  • Minty fresh breath; and
  • Low fat.

 

Old Mother Hubbard natural dog snacks also now sport an updated look, so that dogs and their owners can take a peek at the delicious snacks right inside the bag through its characteristic see-through window.

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Costco does well in Q4, FY2010

BY Alaric DeArment

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco had a big pickup in sales during fourth quarter 2010 and the fiscal year as a whole, according to an earnings report released Wednesday.

The membership-based mass-merchandise retailer reported fourth-quarter sales of $23.59 billion, an 8% increase over $21.89 billion in last year’s fourth quarter. Sales for the entire fiscal year were $76.25 billion, a 9% increase over $69.89 billion in fiscal year 2009.

Profit for the quarter was $432 million, compared with $374 million in fourth quarter 2009. Profit for the fiscal year was $1.3 billion, compared with $1.09 billion in fiscal year 2009.

 

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