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Archive for Saturday, February 23, 2002

Briefcase

February 23, 2002

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Director hopes to spike sales at Kmart through new ads

Director Spike Lee is lending a hand to ailing Kmart Corp.

An advertising campaign that begins airing Sunday features three 30-second spots directed by the famed film director.

The ads show families discussing household tasks. The tagline is "Kmart. The Stuff of Life."

The goal of the campaign, which also features print ads, "is to build an emotional bond with the consumer by re-establishing the role Kmart plays in its shoppers' lives," said Steven Feuling, Kmart senior vice president of marketing.

Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month after struggling to compete with less expensive Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and trendier Target Corp. in the discount retail market.

Labor reports: Government to introduce new inflation measurement

The government will start a new way of measuring consumer prices this summer in an effort to address a long-standing criticism that the existing index overstates inflation.

The new measure, called a superlative or chain consumer price index, will not replace the current CPI. The CPI will continue to be published and will continue to be the focal point of the Labor Department's monthly reports, officials from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

However, the new index will become part of the monthly consumer inflation reports  in the form of a new table  starting Aug. 16.

The new measure, some five years in the making, is intended to better capture how consumers, reacting to rising prices for a specific product or service, may shift buying to a different, cheaper-priced product.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that annual inflation would be 0.1 percentage point to 0.2 percentage point lower if measured with the new index.

Lawsuit: Regulators, psychic hot line reach temporary agreement

The government and Miss Cleo's psychic hot line have reached a temporary meeting of the minds allowing the telephone service to keep predicting while an investigator looks into charges that it has defrauded customers.

U.S. Judge Alan Gold of the Southern District of Florida has approved a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission under which a court-appointed auditor will monitor all past, present and future activities of Access Resource Services Inc. and Psychic Readers Network.

The two Fort Lauderdale, Fla., companies have a national network of "psychic readers," led by Jamaican soothsayer "Miss Cleo," that promises insights in matters of love and money.

The FTC said the injunction will be in place until the court issues a final ruling on its allegations.

Earnings: Petco returns to market

Shares of Petco Animal Supplies Inc. posted a modest rise Friday as the pet supply retailer made its return as a publicly traded company.

Petco shares gained more than 5 percent to close at $20 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Petco, one of the nation's largest pet supply retailers, priced 14.5 million shares at $19 apiece Thursday evening, raising $275.5 million.

Petco was returning to the stock market, under the symbol PETC, for the first time since Oct. 2, 2000, when its board took the company private, believing its shares were undervalued. The company first went public in 1994.

Petco intends to use proceeds from the initial public offering to buy back preferred stock from two private investment firms, spokesman Don Cowan said.

Petco has a Lawrence store at 3115 Iowa.

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