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Survey: More holiday shoppers looking to increase gift-giving this year

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN ANTONIO — Consumers plan to buy more gifts this year, according to a recent survey commissioned by USAA and released Monday. The fourth annual USAA holiday spending survey indicated that consumer sentiment toward holiday budgeting has become more positive in 2012 when compared to 2011 (53% vs. 45%).

“This year’s survey data aligns with recent reports that holiday sales growth is expected to remain above the 10-year growth rate,” stated JJ Montanaro, USAA spokesman. “Even with the current mixed economic picture, shoppers seem to have more optimism this holiday season, which may be encouraging them to open their wallets.”

For the third year in a row, fewer holiday shoppers plan on cutting their holiday spending and creating a budget. In 2010, 40% of shoppers reported plans to scale back, compared to 31% in 2011 and 24% in 2012. And 61% planned on budgeting for their holiday purchases in 2010, compared to 57% in 2011 and 55% in 2012.

This year’s survey findings underscore the growing trend of mobile shopping with 56% of respondents planning to use their mobile devices as a tool for comparison shopping, downloading coupons, searching for availability in stores and making purchases. According to a recent survey, consumers spent more than $20.7 billion shopping using mobile devices in 2012 and tend to spend an average of $10 more per purchase using their tablet.

USAA, a financial services provider with fully integrated solutions that focuses on serving military members and their families, commissioned the survey to determine how consumers plan to approach their holiday spending and budgeting activities this year compared to the previous years’ surveys on this topic.

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Sabra Dipping introduces Asian cuisine-inspired hummus

BY DSN STAFF

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Sabra Dipping Co., the country’s leading hummus manufacturer, has introduced a new flavor of its Garden Variety Hummus — Asian Fusion.

Inspired by Asian cuisine, the new flavor of hummus incorporates the flavors of ginger and sesame, and is topped with crunchy carrots and peppers.

"Asian fusion was inspired by the ingredients of our classic hummus recipe — which includes tahini, made from sesame seeds," said Greg Greene, senior manager at Sabra. "We thought, what flavors compliment sesame? Ginger and green veggies, of course. And so Asian Fusion was born."

The Asian Fusion hummus will be available this month in stores nationwide, joining the Tuscan Herb and Southwest flavors of Garden Variety hummus that were introduced earlier in 2012. Sabra offers nearly 20 hummus flavors, all of which are gluten-free and certified kosher.

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AmerisourceBergen fills new chief strategy officer post

BY Michael Johnsen

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — AmerisourceBergen on Monday named Lawrence Marsh, 52, to the new role of chief strategy officer and SVP new market development, effective Nov. 12, 2012. 

“I am thrilled that Larry Marsh has decided to join AmerisourceBergen,” statd Steven Collis, president and CEO. “I have respected his intellect and industry insights for many years, and I am very pleased to welcome him as part of our leadership team. His analytical expertise in both financial performance and market growth opportunities will strengthen our efforts to expand our existing businesses, both in the United States and beyond, and to increase our breadth of offerings and drive shareholder value with disciplined acquisitions.”

Marsh will be responsible for enhancing the Company’s long-term strategic plan, identifying new market opportunities and managing enterprisewide risk.

Most recently, Marsh was managing director of equity research at Barclays, where he covered the healthcare distribution and technology industries since 2008. Prior to joining Barclays, he held similar equity research positions at Lehman Brothers, Salomon Smith Brothers and Wheat First Butcher Singer. 

Marsh has served on the board of trustees at his alma mater, the University of Richmond, is currently trustee emeritus and has served as chairman of its $3 billion endowment arm, Spider Management.

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