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Retail roundup: JCPenney, retail association for students, trends

October 8, 2011 |  6:05 am


-- It may become harder to control those impulse purchases at JCPenney. The department store chain is rolling out special grab-and-go areas in their stores called "Wrapt," which will be dedicated to holiday gifts, according to the Associated Press. The items range from $3 chocolate candy to $40 mini speakers that can plug into iPads or iPods. A JCPenney executive said the company wanted to give time-strapped customers easier access to quick, impulsive gifts. The in-store shops roll out at 1,100 stores Oct. 24.

-- The National Retail Federation is launching a student association aimed at giving college students the chance to learn about the industry and network with retail professionals. The association will enable retailers to post internships, mentor students and collaborate with top colleges and universities on research projects. Fifteen colleges -- including the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in L.A., the University of Arizona and the University of Wisconsin at Madison -- have signed on to participate. 

"Retail executives realize that in order to be competitive we need the brightest young talent, and we're making a conscious effort to entice the very best students," said Kip Tindell, chairman of the National Retail Federation Foundation and chief executive of the Container Store. The association will "offer students opportunities and face time with executives and recruiters that have been impossible until now."

-- Market research firm NPD Group surveyed adults for three weeks in September and asked them: "What would the kids you know say is the hottest new things these days? It might be a celebrity, movie TV show, toy, game, hobby, sport, website, brand or retail store." In the No. 1 spot? Justin Bieber. He was followed by the Cars franchise and the Xbox 360. 

-- Andrea Chang

Photo: A JCPenney store in New York. Credit: Associated Press