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Report: Spending on positive trend

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Total retail sales grew 5.5% during the month of January, according to MasterCard Advisors’ "SpendingPulse" report.

The increase underscored that shopping and spending maintained its momentum, following a strong holiday season. The last two months, MasterCard Advisors noted, marked the strongest growth rate for total U.S. retail sales (excluding autos) since April 2010. Additionally, "year-to-year growth for three-month totals stood at 4.9% in January, the highest growth rate since August 2007," MasterCard Advisors reported.

Spending grew in every part of the country, with the best unadjusted year-over results in the South Central and Southeast regions, which posted 9.7% and 7.7% growth, respectively.

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Keeping kids moving with GeoPalz

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A line of kid-friendly pedometers is expanding to include two new water-resistant products.

Designed to motivate physical activity among children, GeoPalz are pedometers that can measure speed and distance of activity and store up to 21 days of data. Each pedometer flips open to reveal how much activity is exerted via the digital tracking display. The mode can be changed to toggle between displaying the steps or the time of day. Each GeoPalz product features kid-friendly designs.

New to the GeoPalz lineup are water-resistant pedometers that can be worn around the wrist or around one’s shoelaces. The original GeoPalz product, the company said, is worn around the waistband.

"With the heightened importance of children’s fitness, we wanted to supply children with even more motivation to be active," said Rich Schmelzer, CEO of GeoPalz. "These new pedometers give kids additional ways to wear their GeoPalz, letting them further express their personalities while having fun and being active."

The new GeoPalz wrist and foot pedometers retail for $24.99, while the original GeoPalz activity tracker for kids retails for $19.99. Additional GeoPalz products, including an optional slap-style bracelet and digital reader for the wireless pedometers retail for $9.99 and $24.99, respectively. GeoPalz products are available in more than 250 retailers nationwide, and on the GeoPalz website.

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Last-minute shoppers feel the love in Target’s greeting card aisle

BY DSN STAFF

TAMPA, Fla. — Happy Valentine’s Day!

The greeting card department at this Tampa, Fla.-area SuperTarget is prominently located near the store entrance, which contributed to the throng of last-minute love-birds who were drawn to the card assortment upon realizing it was late Sunday afternoon and they had yet to purchase a card to express their emotions.

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