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Blogger announces release of Walgreens Infant Care Booklet

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKE WORTH, Fla. — According to a post Monday from extreme couponer and Walgreens fan Christie Hardcastle, American Baby magazine is shipping out a Walgreens Infant Care Booklet mailer to subscribers.

“I wrote about these being mailed out in February but it looks like some of you might be getting this mailer again!” blogged Hardcastle. The mailer contains coupons for Nursery Water and Earth’s Best baby food, among other products, Hardcastle reported.

Hardcastle’s site — Wild for Wags — features “information … on stretching your dollar when shopping at my [Hardcastle’s] favorite pharmacy, Walgreens.”

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May a mixed bag for retail sales

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Retail spending for the month of May experienced a slight drop of 0.2% to $387.1 billion, though the advanced estimates noted that May sales were 7.7% higher than the year-ago period, the U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday.

The government agency also reported that total sales for the March through May period were up 7.5% from the same period a year ago.

Across retail sectors, grocery stores during May continued on an upward trend, rising 1.7% to nearly $46.7 million, up from $45.9 million in April. Health and personal care stores gained traction after seeing a decline last month of 0.3% — the U.S. Census Bureau said May sales rose 1.3% to $22.8 million.

Although advanced estimates for pharmacies and drug stores are not included in the report, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a decline in sales to about $18.6 million in April, down from nearly $19.9 million in March.

Commenting on the sales results, the National Retail Federation said that the industry isn’t immune to other economic factors, such as employment rates and housing, and that lackluster sales do not come as a surprise to retailers.

"After a string of disappointing government reports relating to economic activity and employment, May’s retail report supports the idea of the economy hitting a soft patch," NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "Though consumers are spending cautiously, we are not seeing them cut out new purchases completely, signaling there is a distinct appetite to spend if economic conditions let them."

NRF added that it expected sales to pick up again in time for the back-to-school season, which, according to a PriceGrabber survey, may start later this year.

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Consumer spending continues to take a hit, Deloitte Consumer Spending Index finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Rising unemployment claims, coupled with rising food and energy prices, prompted a decline in consumer spending outlook for May, according to Deloitte.

The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index, which is comprised of four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — fell to 2.66%, from an upwardly revised gain of 3.29% a month ago.

“The labor market indicators are the primary cause of weakness in the index; however, the economy is up against other temporary headwinds that suggest weak growth may persist for the near term,” Deloitte’s chief economist and author of the monthly index Carl Steidtmann said. “Rising food and energy prices continue to hurt real wages, which combined with Americans’ insecurities about the job market, compound the pressure on consumer spending.”

In April, the index experienced the sharpest single-month decline since November 2007.

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