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Leading retailers seek to deliver mobile wallet to consumers

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS — A new company formed by leading U.S. retailers is looking to offer consumers a mobile commerce experience that will combine the convenience of paying at the register with customizable offers.

The group, Merchant Customer Exchange, initially is focusing on developing and deploying an m-commerce solution that seamlessly integrates a range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs, which virtually would be available via any smartphone. Retailers participating in the MCX include such companies as CVS/pharmacy, Hy-Vee, Publix, Kmart parent company Sears Holdings, Target and Walmart, among others. Additional members are expected to be announced in the coming months.

"MCX will leverage mobile technology to give consumers a faster and more convenient shopping experience while eliminating unnecessary costs for all stakeholders," Walmart corporate VP and assistant treasurer Mike Cook said. "The MCX platform will employ secure technology to deliver an efficiency-enhancing mobile solution available to all merchant categories, including retail stores, casual dining, petroleum and e-commerce."

For additional information, visit MCX.com.

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Deloitte: Consumer spending slips for first time in five months

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

NEW YORK — The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index decreased slightly in July, marking the first decline since February 2012.

The index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.

“The Index slipped primarily due to a drop in real new home prices and a slight rise in jobless claims that offset improvements in real wages,” said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte’s chief economist and author of the monthly Index. “Consumers enjoyed lower energy costs during the first half of the summer, but a rapidly increasing savings rate suggests they have put some recouped funds away for a rainy day rather than spending it. However, gas prices have started to tick back up. If confidence remains under pressure due to stagnant job growth, a stumbling housing market and Europe’s financial crisis, consumer spending may begin to contract heading into autumn.”

Other factors impacting the decline, Deloitte said, included rising interest income and savings rate and lower gas prices since April.

“Consumers responded favorably to markdowns and promotions in July, and we anticipate retailers will finish the summer strong as families restock before sending their children off to school,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail and distribution sector leader. “However, that momentum may be seasonal and temporary if the Index’s decline is more than a blip on the radar.”

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Wheaties honors Phelps, May-Treanor with limited-edition boxes

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS — Wheaties is saluting two Olympic gold medalists by touting them on limited-edition boxes of the cereal.

The brand officially unveiled the boxes featuring swimmer Michael Phelps and professional beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor.

"Michael Phelps and Misty May-Treanor have inspired others to get out and achieve their own personal best," said Jim Wilson, Wheaties marketing. "Wheaties is proud to honor them and to fuel athletes everywhere."

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