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Nation’s retailers call for economic stimulus

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK U.S. retailers are calling on the nation’s government to help stimulate the struggling economy and ease the strain on consumer spending, the National Retail Federation announced Tuesday.

Meeting at its annual convention in New York, the NRF Tuesday voted to adopt a resolution emphasizing that consumer spending represents 70 percent of the U.S. economy and calling on lawmakers to act quickly.

“This action shows how seriously the current economic situation is taken by the ceos of the nation’s major retail companies,” NRF president and ceo Tracy Mullin said. “Consumer spending and retail sales are the backbone of the nation’s economy. Stimulus that helps consumer spending will benefit all industries in the private sector.” 

Today’s vote came after the Commerce Department this morning announced that retail sales for December (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) rose 1.7%  unadjusted over 2006 and decreased 0.4% seasonally adjusted from November. Combined November-December holiday sales totaled $469.9 billion, a 3% increase that fell short of NRF’s earlier prediction of a 4%  increase. The increase was the lowest since 2002, when holiday sales rose 1.3%.

On Monday, NRF issued its 2008 economic forecast, calling for a 3.5% increase in retail sales over 2007. NRF expects the housing slump and slow job growth to restrain sales.

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RILA to hold conference on environmental sustainability and compliance

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. The Retail Industry Leaders Association on Monday announced its plan to hold the first-ever comprehensive retail conference devoted to issues of environmental sustainability and compliance, to be held Sept. 22 through 24 in Dallas.

“This exciting event will bring together America’s leading retailers who are committed to sustainable causes worldwide,” stated RILA president Sandy Kennedy. ”We are proud to be the first to bring the retail industry and its partners together to address an issue of great importance to both retailers and consumers.”

The event will feature representatives of all major retail segments and will include manufacturer and service supplier participants. The program will address the major operational aspects of sustainability and environmental compliance for retail, including supply chain, operations, real estate and development issues, through a series of general and breakout sessions featuring the industry’s leaders.

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Fred’s chosen as Mississippi Drug Card Program preferred pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. The Mississippi Drug Card Program selected Fred’s as the preferred pharmacy for its statewide discount prescription drug program, the Memphis Business Journal reported Tuesday. The preferred status enables state residents without Internet access to receive the program discounts simply by walking into a Fred’s pharmacy and mentioning the Mississippi Drug Card Program.

“This truly is the first program of its kind,” stated Mississippi Drug Card Program director, Lila Cedotal, in announcing the program last month. “This program can help every resident in Mississippi, even those with health coverage.”

Mississippi residents are able to redeem their prescription drug cards and receive savings of up to 75 percent at more than 50,000 national and regional pharmacies, the program states on its website www.mississippidrugcard.com, including Rite Aid, Walgreens, Winn-Dixie and K-Mart.

The Mississippi Drug Card was launched Dec. 12 to help the uninsured and under insured people of Mississippi afford their prescription medications, stated United Networks of America, which administers the program. However, the program can also be used by people who have health insurance coverage with no prescription benefits. Additionally, people who have prescription coverage can use this program for non-formulary or non-covered drugs.

The Mississippi Drug Card can also be used by those individuals who do not qualify for public funded programs and by people who receive their medicines through charity care providers.

The free prescription card is available online for everyone in Mississippi by simply going to eh Web site and printing a card. The card is also being given out by some hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics.

United Networks of America has set up similar programs in New York, California, Texas, New Jersey, Ohio, Utah, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Arizona, Colorado and Tennessee, UNA reported.

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