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Report: U.S. consumer spending up in February, economy on ‘firmer footing’

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A report released Monday by the Commerce Department showed that consumer spending in the United States rose more than forecasted in February as incomes climbed.

Bloomberg News estimated spending would advance 0.5%.

Purchases increased 0.7% — the most since October 2010 — after advancing 0.3% the prior month. Incomes increased 0.3%, less than the 0.4% projected.

The report also showed that the United States added jobs for the sixth consecutive month in February, and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since April 2009.

Retail sales climbed in February by the most in four months, boosted by a jump in auto purchases. “The economic recovery is on a firmer footing,” federal officials said.

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Drug Store News launches mobile website

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Recognizing and responding to the changing U.S. digital media landscape, Drug Store News is making it even easier for online readers to quickly navigate the latest leading industry news via a newly launched mobile version.

The new mobile version of the site, m.DrugStoreNews.com, includes such categories as top retailers, supplier news, pharmacy, OTC, beauty, new products and insights. Now when accessing the DSN website via a mobile device, a message will appear giving users the option to access the easy-to-read mobile version.

"We recently conducted a study and learned that more than 85% of our readers use a smartphone, so clearly there was a need to create the mobile edition of our website to help our ‘on-the-go’ readers, suppliers and retailers alike gain access to Drug Store News content in a convenient, easy-to read format via their smartphone," said Wayne Bennett, publisher of The Drug Store News Group. "As the leading provider of retail pharmacy news, we are excited to offer our readers this new mobile format."

Further underscoring the importance of adapting to the fluid digital landscape is the findings of ComScore’s "2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review" report. The annual report by the provider of digital business analytics found that nearly half (47%) of mobile subscribers now are connected Internet media users (via browsers, applications or downloaded content), which is up eight percentage points from the previous year.

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Private-label implementation to eat up 50% of food share

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — The share of private-label brands and products will double to 50% by 2025, thanks to a continued emphasis made by retailers.

In a new report released by Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research division, author Sebastiaan Schreijen noted that national brands and smaller, secondary brands (referred to as "A" and "B" brands, respectively) will prompt an intense price competition and therefore will cause the private-label market to become chock-full of higher-quality "B"-brand products at lower prices.

Additionally, Schreijen said, U.S. retailers only have hit the tip of the private-label iceberg; continued industry consolidation will be fueled by such initiatives as private-label implementation, as well as scale in logistics, procurement, marketing and store opening strategies, since a larger operating scale provides more opportunities to launch private labels, he said.

Many U.S. retailers already have taken note of this. Both CVS and Walgreens have entered the private-label business. CVS continues to boost its private-label portfolio with the official unveiling of its Just the Basics line — announced at the company’s analyst meeting in October 2010 — while Walgreens highlighted its private-label line last month with an ad campaign and a new beer, sold under the name Big Flats 1901.

What’s more, U.S. consumers have weathered a tough economy by opting to purchase private-label products. Many also have continued their recession-proof purchases as the economy has recovered, and even recommend such products to others.

Click here to read the full report.

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