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Whole Foods salutes military with free overseas shipping

BY Allison Cerra

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods is offering free overseas shipping of its holiday gift boxes to APO, FPO and DPO addresses.

Whole Foods Market offers five different gift boxes that range from $40 to $60 each that can be purchased online at WholeFoodsMarket.com/giftbox.

"We are thankful for the sacrifices made by families serving our country, so we are happy to offer this small token of our appreciation to them," said Jim Speirs, global VP purchasing for Whole Foods Market. "Families can send their loved ones a taste of home with any of our gift boxes, varying in theme from snacking to relaxation."

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Kodak extends Facebook relationship with social photo album creator

BY Allison Cerra

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Kodak’s latest social network innovation has arrived.

The social photo album creator for Facebook — which can be accessed at Apps.facebook.com/kodak-social and also is available on Kodak photo kiosks — allows consumers to easily combine photos from the social networking site with other photo albums, thereby taking the guesswork out of combining photos from multiple albums into one.

"Today, pictures on Facebook are only fleeting glimpses of an event; but now with our new app, consumers can tell their stories collaboratively, which leverages the real strength of Facebook," said Rolando Martinez, business manager of retail systems solutions Americas for Kodak. "We’re very proud to say that now consumers get the choice of easily making something permanent and special together — beyond simple online picture sharing — where their pictures are right on Facebook."

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Report projects drop in December spending

BY Allison Cerra

YONKERS, N.Y. — Despite strong November retail sales, consumers still worry about what lies ahead.

According to a projection by the Consumer Reports Index, planned December spending is slightly down (11.8), versus the year-ago period (12.2). The waning confidence may be because of consumer financial difficulties, whether anticipated or unexpected, the report noted. More optimistic customers are those ages 18 years to 34 years, and those with household incomes of $100,000 or more, while pessimistic customers are those ages 65 years and older and those who have a household income less than $50,000.

"Despite all the talk and media attention about positive economic growth, consumers are telling us that they are not seeing or, more importantly, not feeling the difference," said Ed Farrell, a director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center. "The consumer may not be confident enough to continue spending through the holiday season. It may require deep discounting from retailers to get consumers back to the store in the final weeks of December."

The full Consumer Reports Index report can be found here.

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