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Belkin launches new protective sleeves for latest Amazon Kindle

BY Allison Cerra

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — Belkin has unveiled a new collection of sleeves for the latest Amazon Kindle.

Featuring a mix of fabrics, patterns and features, Belkin’s 12 new designs offer maximum style, functionality and protection on the go for the 7-in. Amazon Kindle Fire HD.

"As a ‘Made for Kindle’ partner, we wanted to enhance the great features of the Kindle Fire HD 7" with a line of accessories that accommodates all tastes and lifestyles," said Patrick Sullivan, director of product management for Belkin. "Upgraded materials and finishes including genuine leather, chambray and metallic reflect a new emphasis on personal style, while innovative design components like a magnetic tab that easily tucks out of the way when open and a new slim, y-frame stand for viewing allow you to get the most out of your new device, whether you want to use it at home or on the go for reading, browsing, watching movies, listening to music or playing games."

The new collection carries a suggested retail price range from $19.99 to $49.99.

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Hay Group: Retailers project boost in holiday sales, hiring seasonal workers

BY Allison Cerra

PHILADELPHIA — Retailers are boosting their holiday sales projections and hiring plans, a sign that companies have more confidence in the economy, according to a new survey.

Consulting firm Hay Group found that among 14 major U.S. retailers surveyed, 75% forecast an increase in holiday sales this year. And while 57% plan to hire seasonal workers, 36% said they plan to hire more, a shift from 2011 when just 10% planned to hire more seasonal workers than the year prior.

"Retailers are betting that 2012 is going to be a great holiday season," said Craig Rowley, VP and global practice Leader for Hay Group’s retail practice. "After four years of economic turbulence, they have figured out how to operate in an uncertain business environment and are calm and cool, knowing that they are ready, as they head into the holidays."

Hay Group also found that promotional and inventory strategies are fine-tuned this holiday season. For instance, the survey found that 31% reported that they will start promotions even earlier this year; 58% of retailers said they will wait until November to begin their promotion blitz, while 42% will start in October. Additionally, few retailers (18%) feel pressure to match online-only prices and 50% of retailers said they are looking to cut back on discounting overall this year. Interestingly, only 8% will staff stores to be open 24 hours on select dates throughout the holidays.

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Water brand debuts new packaging

BY Allison Cerra

OLFUS, Iceland — Icelandic Glacial has undergone a makeover.

The premium natural spring water brand has debuted a rebranded logo, bottle and outer box packaging. The company said the redesign — created by communications agency Team One, a division of Saatchi & Saatchi — embraces the brand’s native country of Iceland.

"After months of creative thought and development, Icelandic Glacial is proud to introduce the world to our new identity," Icelandic Glacial chairman and co-founder Jon Olafsson said. "Our distinguished partners at Team One captured the essence of Iceland and we’re confident it will be embraced by consumers around the globe."

New packaging for Icelandic Glacial will start rolling out in mid-September.

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