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SymphonyIRI survey: Steadfast spending to carry through summer

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO Consumers are more cautious with their spending this summer season compared with years past, according to a new survey released by SymphonyIRI Group.

Compared with 2008 and 2009, SymphonyIRI’s Summer Rituals survey found that of 1,000 households polled, there was a shift in consumer spending behavior, which in turn affected consumers’ lifestyles. Approximately 75% of households earning less than $100,000 opted to cook meals at home to save money but also turned to healthier choices for cooking and eating. For those earning more than $100,000, 58% focused on cooking and eating to save money.

Other cash-strapped methods translated to the pollsters’ shopping habits. While shoppers continued to shop at such supercenters as Walmart supercenter and Super Target (25% in 2009 and 2010), consumers expected to increase shopping at such mass merchandisers as Walmart and Kmart, club stores and dollar stores. Other changes included:

  • About 56 to 67% of shoppers planned to continue their trips to mass merchandisers as they have in the past, with an average of 20% across income groups who said they plan to increase their shopping trips within this retail channel;
  • Across income segments, 12% to 18% of consumers planned to increase their trips to the club channel, with the lowest growth rate among shoppers earning $35,000 or less (12%) and the highest growth rate among shoppers earning $100,000 or more (18%);
  • Trips to dollar stores also increased across income segments. For this channel, higher-income shoppers showed stronger growth of 11 points versus the year-ago period (9% in 2009, 20% in 2010), compared with five points in the lowest income bracket (32% in 2009, 27% in 2010); and
  • Trips to grocery stores and drug stores showed a slight increase in expected shopper trips this summer, compared with 2009 across all income segments.

“Though the economy is beginning to show signs of improvement, consumers have hunkered down for the long haul and adopted savvy spending strategies to get them through what’s expected to be a long and potentially rocky economic recovery,” said Susan Viamari, editor of SymphonyIRI’s Times & Trends.

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Crown Crafts acquires Bibsters product from P&G

BY Allison Cerra

GONZALES, La. Crown Crafts has acquired a disposable bib product from Procter & Gamble, the company announced last week.

Crown Crafts said its subsidiary Hamco now will manufacture and distribute Bibsters products, a disposable bib that provides coverage for infants and toddlers while feeding, which was introduced by P&G in 2003. Hamco also acquired the inventory associated with the Bibsters product line and plans to integrate the distribution of the Bibsters product line into the Company’s facilities in Compton, Calif.

“We are thrilled to find an opportunity that will complement last year’s acquisition of Neat Solutions by expanding our business in the disposable products category,” said E. Randall Chestnut, chairman, president and CEO.  “Hamco already has the overwhelming market share in reusable bibs, and we are confident that the Bibsters line of disposable bibs will solidify Hamco’s position as the overall leader in infant and toddler bibs.”

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FDA to review Orexigen’s obesity treatment

BY Allison Cerra

SAN DIEGO The Food and Drug Administration has accepted a new drug application from a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of obesity.

Orexigen said its investigational obesity treatment Contrave (naltrexone SR/bupropion SR), which addresses both physiological and behavioral drivers of the disease, was accepted by the FDA, following its Contrave Obesity Research clinical program, which included more than 4,500 patients.

“We are pleased the FDA has accepted our NDA for filing and look forward to working with the agency during the review process,” said Michael Narachi, Orexigen president and CEO. “If approved, we believe Contrave will become an important therapeutic option for obese patients, making weight loss and weight maintenance an achievable cornerstone in the treatment of obesity and its common co-morbidities.”

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