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Discounters are go-to destinations for BTS shopping, survey finds

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — Discount stores will continue to dominate as the destination for the majority of consumers’ back-to-school dollars this year, according to a survey by Accenture on parents’ back-to-school shopping plans.

The majority of parents (59%) will spend between $100 and $500 on back-to-school shopping this year, with 21% of consumers saying they plan to spend more than $500 this year. That’s down from 28% in 2010, indicating a decline in spending on the big-ticket items for school.

Indeed, the survey found that only one-quarter (25%) of parents plan to purchase computers, cell phones and other electronic items for their children, down from 36% in 2010. At the top of back-to-school shopping lists are school supplies (87%) — such as pens and paper — and clothing (80%), followed by shoes (67%), such accessories as backpacks (66%) and dorm/apartment furnishings (18%).

“Necessity, not desire, will drive this year’s back-to-school season purchases,” said Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture’s retail practice. “Parents will be spending less on themselves to fund these purchases, and they will spend their dollars where they find the right mix of discounts, quality and convenience. Spending will neither be penny-pinching nor excessive, so retailers will need to keep a keen focus on inventory levels and delivering a targeted offer that meets their customers’ needs.”

Parents said their top three priorities when choosing a retailer for back-to-school products are: pricing and discounts (91%); quality of the products (69); and in-stock product (49%). Store experiences, such as customer service and loyalty programs, once again ranked low on the list of priorities.

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Food Lion’s Dunn, N.C.-based distribution center to expand

BY Allison Cerra

SALISBURY, N.C. — Delhaize America announced that it is expanding its Food Lion distribution center in Dunn, N.C.

The company said the distribution center, which opened in 1987 and services 264 Food Lion stores in the area, will increase storage space by 54,000 sq. ft. to accomodate more than 4,000 refrigerated and frozen foods.

"Food Lion is proud to expand its business in North Carolina and in the Dunn community," Food Lion president Cathy Green Burns said. "Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to North Carolina and enables us to continue to serve our customers in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic states. We look forward to completing this project and establishing a greater presence in North Carolina."

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Publix reports Q2 results and stock price

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix on Monday reported sales of $6.6 billion for the second quarter, a 5.8% increase. Comparable-store sales for second quarter 2011 increased 4.2%.

Earnings per share for the second quarter increased to 48 cents for 2011, up from 44 cents per share in 2010.

Effective Aug. 1, 2011, Publix’s stock price increased from $21.65 per share to $22.05 per share. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.

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