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First season of ‘Smash’ arrives on DVD with UltraViolet

BY Allison Cerra

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Critically acclaimed television series "Smash" is coming to DVD with UltraViolet this winter.

Featuring all 15 episodes on a four-disc set, "Smash" follows the story of talented newcomer Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee from "American Idol"), who auditions for a new Broadway musical based on Marilyn Monroe. The only thing standing in her way is Ivy Lynn (Broadway star Megan Hilty), a seasoned theater veteran who is determined to land the part herself and will stop at nothing to realize her own dreams of fame. Bonus features included in the set are deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, featurettes and more.

"Smash: Season One" officially makes its way to retail on Jan. 8, 2013.

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Survey finds more consumers to research holiday purchases online before buying

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

LOS ANGELES — Survey results released Tuesday by online shopping site PriceGrabber found that 88% of shoppers plan to research their holiday gift purchases in advance to find the best deals.

Of those, 38% plan to spend three to six hours researching holiday gift purchases, 29% plan to spend up to two hours, 19% said they plan to spend over 10 hours and 14% indicated between seven and 10 hours.

The results of PriceGrabber’s holiday shopping survey — which polled 2,235 U.S. online shoppers between Aug. 31 and Sept. 12 — also revealed that 50% of consumers plan to spend the same amount that they spent last year — up slightly from 48% in 2011 — and 12% plan to spend more.

For those who are spending less, the reason most given (62%) was due to increased prices for food, gas and other necessities.

Forty-one percent indicated that they are earning less money this year and 39% said they planned to spend less due to an increased acceptance of giving less-expensive gifts. The state of the economy also continues to impact consumers’ holiday shopping decisions, with PriceGrabber’s survey finding that 64% of shoppers say the economic climate will affect their overall spending.

Shoppers appear to be confident in their ability to find a holiday bargain this season. According to PriceGrabber’s survey, 67% of consumers said they believe retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year. When asked what retailer tactics will entice consumers to buy a product this holiday season, 77% indicated free shipping, 74% noted price cuts, 55% said coupons, and 44% indicated blow out sales.

"Our survey data found that shoppers are not only expecting to find great prices and bargains this holiday season, but 59% of consumers plan to start shopping even earlier this year to spread out the impact of purchases, compared to 53% in 2011," said Rojeh Avanesian, VP marketing and analytics for PriceGrabber. "Our data indicates that 17% of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping in September and 31% plan to begin in October this year."

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Stop & Shop offers no-fee Coinstar gift card loading

BY DSN STAFF

PURCHASE, N.Y., and QUINCY, Mass. — Coinstar announced that customers utilizing its service at Stop & Shop stores now have the option of placing the full value of their coins, without fees, onto a Stop & Shop gift card.

In addition, customers also have the option to select a gift card from a variety of national retailers and e-retailers. The gift cards are immediately activated and can be used the same day.

"We’ve based our business on finding solutions to the ongoing economic challenges facing both retailers and consumers, and believe that the retailer gift card option stands out as a game-changer in the industry," said Mike Skinner, president of Coinstar’s coin business. "The latest among our broad range of no fee offerings, the retailer card product guarantees greater consumer flexibility. We are pleased that Stop & Shop is among the first grocery retailers to offer this fee free option for customers redeeming their coins."

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