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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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Walmart Foundation, American Heart Association introduce Simple Cooking with Heart

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS — In an effort to encourage Americans to cook low-cost, heart-healthy meals at home, the charitable arm of Walmart and the American Heart Association have partnered on a new initiative.

The Simple Cooking with Heart program includes live demonstrations, online how-to videos, tips, recipes and free downloadable "host kits," which encourage people to host in-home parties to practice cooking simple, affordable and healthy meals with family, friends and neighbors, the Walmart Foundation and the American Heart Association said.

"At Walmart, we understand it’s vital to help families identify and purchase healthy foods and the American Heart Association is helping make that easier with its new program," Walmart senior director Joe Quinn said. "We are committed to bringing our customers healthier food in our stores at our everyday low price, and we are supporting innovative programs that support nutrition education. It will take both of these efforts to achieve real change."

Added Rachel Johnson, American Heart Association spokeswoman and Bickford professor of nutrition at the University at Vermont, "We must equip American families with basic culinary skills along with nutrition knowledge so they can know how to cook and eat at home. These changes will help the American Heart Association achieve its aggressive health impact goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20%, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20% by the year 2020," she said.

For more information about Simple Cooking with Heart, click here.

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