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P&G targets teens with new media outlets

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Tide is giving teens drama.

They are not being plagued by doing their own laundry, but rather, are being introduced to a new soap opera sponsored by Tide called “Crescent Heights”, the New York Times reports.

“Crescent Heights,” which Tide is promoting on its television commercials, print ads and packaging, will be utilized to affect sales. By partnering up with GoTV Networks, a video production company based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., which developed technology to distribute shows online and on mobile phones, Procter & Gamble are putting the “soap” back in “soap opera”.

P&G, no newbie to the soap opera biz, has sponsored and produced long-running shows like “Guiding Light.” This time around, however, the detergent maker is reaching teens through what they have dubbed as “non-advertising.” Although the Tide logo makes occasional appearances, bright clothes are the true stars of the three-minute shows.

“We want to speak to people about more than just laundry,” said Kevin Crociata, Tide’s associate marketing director. “We provide benefits to the fabrics she wears on daily basis. They have much more meaning.”

“The product message is there, but it’s not as direct. If the content wasn’t entertaining, we wouldn’t be successful,” Crociata added. 

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Fred’s reports both monthly and quarterly record sales

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s Inc. reported record sales for the five-week and eight-month periods which ended Oct. 6, 2007.

The company said Friday that its total sales for the month increased 2 percent to $161.4 million compared to the same period last year. Total sales for the year-to-date period increased 5 percent to $1.157 billion.

Same store sales for the month rose 1 percent on top of a 5 percent increase in September last year. On a comparable store basis, sales increased 1.3 percent through the first eight months of fiscal 2007 compared with a 2.7 percent gain in the year-earlier period. Same-store sales are a key predictor of how well the company performs in stores that have been open for several years, and how well the newly open stores will do in the future.

“September sales came in at the low end of our forecasted range of a 1 percent to 3 percent increase, affected by unusually warm weather across our markets and the disruption caused by the updating of 98 stores under our refresher program,” said Fred’s Stores chief executive officer Michael J. Hayes. “We look forward to finishing our refresher program in October with the last 60 stores and to a better economic environment for our customers going forward, as the benefits of the minimum wage increase and the focus of Federal Reserve Board on the credit crunch take hold.”

Fred’s opened four stores at the end of September, bringing total store openings to 22 for the year-to-date period. These new store openings have been balanced by the company’s decision to close underperforming stores. In the remaining months, Fred’s Stores said that it plans to open 14 additional stores, with no further planned closings, which will result in a net increase in stores of 2 percent for the year.

Fred’s Inc. operates 702 discount general merchandise stores, including 24 franchised stores in the southeastern United States.

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Target to open another 61 stores nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will be opening an additional 61 Target stores, the company said Friday.

The stores, which will all open Oct. 14, will open in 22 different states. The majority of the stores are making their debut in Arizona, California, Ohio and Texas.

In addition to offering the latest in trend-right merchandise, Target also brings a 44-year tradition of community involvement. The retail chain commits itself to local communities donating more than $3 million each week to area nonprofit organizations, becoming involved in local volunteerism efforts through Target Volunteers, and orchestrating other special projects that help meet area social service, arts and education needs.

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