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Survey: More consumers budgeting for back-to-school shopping

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

WILMINGTON, Del. — A survey released by Chase Slate with Blueprint revealed that more back-to-school shoppers are carefully managing their spending and borrowing by creating a budget and sticking to it.

Thirty-eight percent reported that they have a set budget for school-related expenses; in 2011, only 26% of people had created a budget for their back-to-school shopping. In addition, 32% said they anticipate their spending on back-to-school shopping this year to reflect prerecession figures.

“Consumers have learned a lot of valuable lessons about mindful spending over the last few years, and shoppers will be keeping those lessons top of mind whether they’re buying for school-age kids or stocking up for a semester at college,” said Rachana Bhatt, marketing director for Chase Slate.

When asked what would be their biggest expense this year, clothing and apparel was the top category, as it was selected by 43% of back-to-school shoppers. Roughly one-quarter each said that either books or technology (such as computers, smartphones and tablets) would be their biggest expenses (24% versus 23%, respectively).

That being said, parents are putting their collective foot down this year when it comes to popular gadgets. Half said they will not be purchasing the smartphones or tablets their kids are asking for this season. Twenty-six percent are drawing the line at designer clothes or shoes.

The Chase survey also found that shoppers will use a variety of tactics to save money this season:

  • 39% said they purchase such necessities as books first and only buy discretionary items with remaining funds;

  • 34% make a list and stick to it;

  • 26% said they shop online to save time and money;

  • 17% said they begin shopping after school starts to take advantage of Columbus Day and other post-season sales; and

  • 7% leave kids at home when doing back-to-school shopping.

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HBA executive Gary Burns passes away

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — Gary J. Burns, 74, of Lake Forest, Ill., and Naples, Fla., passed away July 24. He was born Feb. 7, 1938, in Saginaw, Mich. Burns served in the U.S. Army and then embarked upon a long and successful career in the health and beauty aids industry.

Gary started his career with the Dr. Scholls Co., leaving to begin a master brokerage company, MDS, with Buck Prestidge, Joe Quinlan and a third partner. In 1975, he began Burns and Associates, a sales brokerage company in St. Louis specializing in health and beauty aid products. In 1985, he moved to Chicago and expanded the agency, selling consumer products and representing manufacturers in the 13 Midwestern states. In 1990, Gary also purchased Lake Pharmaceuticals, which later became Lake Consumer Products and ultimately sold that company to Wisconsin Pharmacal.

He hired Nick Christenson in 1993, who became his partner in 2000 to form Burns-Christenson & Associates. Gary eventually sold his share of the business to Christenson in 2007 and retired from the business. The company continues today as Christenson & Niwinski Inc., a successful Illinois regional brokerage.

Nick Christenson commented, "Gary was not only a mentor to me when I joined his agency, but also a true friend and the best man at my wedding. A brilliant businessman who built two very successful companies and did not believe the word ‘no’ existed … a true legend in the industry. I will miss our many conversations about the business, our love of golf and will always have fond memories of the many trips we experienced together. He will be missed dearly by his many friends."

Jay Forbes, president of The Forbes Connection reflected on the fact that, "Gary was one of the good guys in our business – a long time friend, respected business entrepreneur and real gentleman – he was among the leaders in the brokerage community."

Burns is survived by his wife, Georgia; his two children, Kelley (Robert) Fahey and Samuel Burns; his stepdaughter Kari Hoerchler and his stepfather Joseph Johnroe.

Memorial contributions in Gary’s name may be made to Northwestern Memorial Hospital / Lung Cancer Research, 251 East Huron St., Galter Pavilion, Suite 3-200, Chicago, Ill. 60611. Contributions also may be made to Rush University Medical Center / Lung Cancer Research, 1700 W. Van Buren St., Suite 250, Chicago, Ill. 60612.

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J.FITZGERALD says:
Aug-02-2012 02:17 pm

Take care, my friend. I'll miss you. Twenty-eight years of off and on. Sorry we didn't get the chance to play golf. Jeff

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Shopko gets new marketing chief

BY Allison Cerra

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Ulta Beauty’s former VP marketing has taken on a new role at Shopko.

The company said Nancy Altman has joined the retailer’s executive team as SVP and chief marketing officer. In her new role, Altman will be responsible for clearly communicating the Shopko brand to the company’s current and new customers and implementing cohesive marketing initiatives across multiple formats, including brick-and-mortar stores and the company’s e-commerce site. She also will be responsible for overseeing public relations efforts and the Shopko Foundation with the goal of uniting all of Shopko’s branding elements.

Shopko noted Altman is joining the company as it continues to convert more than 160 Pamida stores to its new Shopko Hometown format, as part of a merger with Pamida that was finalized earlier this year.

"Following our recent merger with Pamida, strategic marketing will be a vital element in our effort to seamlessly fold the two brands into one and clearly communicate the Shopko Hometown difference to current and new customers," Shopko chairman, president and CEO Paul Jones said. "Nancy brings high-level marketing experience, a proven track record of success and a fresh perspective to our team that will be invaluable as we work toward our vision to become America’s hometown retailer through expansion of our Shopko Hometown retail concept."

In addition to working at Ulta, Altman also previously served as SVP marketing at Toronto-based Premier Salons and SVP marketing for Younkers, a former division of Saks Department Store Group. Altman currently serves on the board of directors for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, a division of the National Retail Federation.

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