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NPD: Still hope for video game spending

BY DSN STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON — NPD has some good news for retailers worried about weak video game sales this holiday season, according to a survey of spending habits in second quarter 2011.

In addition to the $1.44 billion spent in the United States by consumers on new physical video and personal computer game software in second quarter 2011, the total consumer spend on content via other monetization methods, including used games, game rentals, subscriptions, digital full-game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile games, is estimated at $1.74 billion. The total amount spent by consumers on hardware, content and accessories is estimated at $4.5 billion, an increase of 1%, versus the second quarter 2010.

"While the new physical retail channel still generates the majority of industry sales, our expanded research coverage allows us to assess the total consumer spend across the growing number of ways to acquire and experience gaming, including mobile apps and downloadable content," NPD industry analyst Anita Frazier said.

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Seasonal hiring up this year, survey finds

BY Allison Cerra

RICHMOND, Va. — The holiday hiring forecast is looking positive this year as more hourly hiring managers are slated to boost their seasonal staff, according to a survey commissioned by Snagajob.

According to the survey, 51% of hiring managers said they will hire seasonal workers this year, up eight points since 2008. Additionally, these managers plan to expand their staff by 5% (or 4.1 seasonal workers), compared with last year, and 32% above 2009.

Snagajob did note, however, that holiday hiring won’t reach prerecession levels. For instance, hiring managers don’t intend to hire as many temporary workers as they did in 2007 — a season during which they each recalled hiring 5.6 hourly, seasonal workers (including those who didn’t hire any).

According to the National Retail Federation, retail employment grew by 483,500 workers over the course of November and December 2010.

Snagajob’s survey results arrive at the heels of several reports on projected holiday retail sales. Deloitte projected sales to increase by 2.5% to 3%. ShopperTrak had similar results, projecting that national retail sales will increase 3% during November and December, adding that foot traffic will drop 2.2%. Research from Nielsen and PriceGrabber, however, echoed more of a "Bah, Humbug!" sentiment — both said consumers plan to spend less this year due to a negative outlook on the economy.

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Max-Wellness opens latest location in Columbus, Ohio

BY Michael Johnsen

CLEVELAND — Max-Wellness on Wednesday announced the opening of its latest store in Columbus, Ohio, with a 5,000-sq.-ft. location positioned between Gramercy and New Bond by hhgregg. Grand opening celebrations are slated for Oct. 12.

“The country is in the midst of a lifestyle evolution," Max-Wellness CEO Michael Feuer said. "There are more than 100 million Americans over the age of 50, and these baby boomers are dedicated to living a healthier, more active lifestyle than their parents did,” he said. “Max-Wellness offers a comprehensive approach toward better health at better prices to provide consumers with the answers and products they’re seeking.”

Feuer, who cofounded OfficeMax and served as its CEO for 15 years, has positioned Max-Wellness to be a destination focused on wellness, vitality and value with more than 7,000 SKUs on display. “Most retail experiences are not created from the customer’s perspective and viewed through their eyes,” Feuer said. “An inviting and interactive retail atmosphere will help customers feel more comfortable and empowered to seek solutions.” The assortment includes many unique products that may not be available in a typical drug or discount setting. Next month Max-Wellness will launch an e-commerce store (MaxWellness.com) extending its brand nationally for consumers in search of hard to find products.

Feuer plans to open additional Max-Wellness stores in major markets across the country. Max-Wellness announced its phase-2 expansion in 2011, with initiatives to broaden the company’s scope of services and evolve its concept. Recently, Max-Wellness opened a "smaller version" hospital prototype store designed specifically to provide health and wellness products for patients being discharged from the hospital as well as serve hospital visitors and staff. The first hospital prototype store is in Lake Medical Center in Northeast Ohio, and additional stores are planned for hospitals in other states beginning in 2012.

In January, Max-Wellness plans to introduce “Wellness-in-a-Box,” an automated dispensing device located in a variety of unique venues featuring health and wellness products that customers can purchase at any time using a debit or credit card. According to Feuer, Wellness-in-a-Box is slated to be positioned in airports, urgent care centers, senior living facilities, hotels, casinos and fitness centers. “I believe in giving people something before they know they need it,” Feuer said. “Max-Wellness is not like anything people have seen before, because there has never been anything like it. Better health at better prices – that’s the Max-Wellness value of good health.”


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