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ThinkGeek introduces nostalgia-scented candles

BY Rebecca Haughey

FAIRFAX, Va. — ThinkGeek’s GeekLabs on Wednesday announced the launch of four votive candles scented to evoke special memories, from a pizza arcade to a high school locker room.

"You always see candles that take you on ‘exotic journeys’," staid Ty Liotta, chief of GeekLabs. "We wanted to create something more accessible. Something that every geek will relate to."

The four exclusive candle scents include: "Middle Earth," evoking grass, rolling farmland and bright blue sky; "Retro Arcade," scented like candy, pizza and a pocket full of quarters; "Teen Spirit," reminiscent of high school; and "Space," meant to smell like the ozone and neutral zone.

The GeekLabs department of ThinkGeek has been responsible for creations like the Annoy-a-tron and Mega Stomp Panic. This is their first work with the wax candles. ThinkGeek, a subsidiary of Geeknet, is a retailer for the global geek community.


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Small increase in January retail sales indicate ‘stable yet fragile economy,’ NRF says

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Retail sales were up slightly in January as the increases in payroll taxes and energy prices forced consumers to change spending habits, according to a new report by the National Retail Federation.

According to the NRF, retail sales for the month increased 0.3% compared with December and by 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year. When factoring in non-general merchandise such as automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, those figures were 0.1% and 4.7%, respectively. Health and personal care stores’ sales decreased 1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 0.7% unadjusted year-over-year. General merchandise stores sales increased by 1.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

"Today’s retail sales figures continue to indicate a stable yet fragile economy," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Consumers are continuing to hold back on spending just as our economy is held back by political brinkmanship in D.C. The failure to address the critical challenges confronting our economy will continue to dampen consumer confidence, which will in turn mute sales and growth. The economy will continue to limp along until our politicians finally address our tax and spending challenges and put forward a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda."

The NRF released its annual retail sales forecast for this year in late January, estimating that retail industry sales — excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants — will increase 3.4%, while online sales will grow by 9% to 12%.


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Shoppers Drug Mart, RBC Insurance launch co-branded travel insurance offering

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Canadian pharmacy retailer Shoppers Drug Mart and RBC Insurance have announced the launch of co-branded travel insurance product offerings to be sold exclusively online through the Shoppers Drug Mart website beginning Feb. 16.

"Many Canadians already turn to Shoppers Drug Mart for their travel needs, including passport photos, travel accessories and immunizations," stated Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. "With the introduction of this co-branded travel insurance, with a trusted provider like RBC Insurance, we are strengthening our total travel offering and improving access and choice for our customers."

The travel insurance lineup is the latest addition to the suite of co-branded products available since RBC and Shoppers Drug Mart announced an alliance in early 2012. The RBC Shoppers Optimum banking account was launched at that time and the co-branded MasterCard made its debut in the fall of 2012.

When Canadians visit the Shoppers Drug Mart Web site to purchase travel insurance and enter their Shoppers Optimum card number, they will earn 10 Shoppers Optimum Points per $1 of insurance premium. Shoppers Optimum Points will automatically be credited to their account. If the RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCard is used to purchase travel insurance online, another five points per $1 will be earned, through the credit card.

Travel insurance products available through the Shoppers Drug Mart Web site will include emergency travel medical, as well as trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
 

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