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Retail Roundup: L.L. Bean's duck boots, McDonald's mobile, Lowe's

December 31, 2011 |  6:00 am

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-- Maine retailer L.L. Bean says the duck boot is back in style, at least among fashion-conscious, trend-hungry college students around the country. This year, the nearly century-old outdoor apparel company sold about 400,000 pairs of the hunting boots -- which have hardy rubber soles -- up from 150,00 just four years ago, the Associated Press reported.

The boot is benefiting from a vintage fashion sense prevalent among college students, the AP said, and also new styles that updated the classic boot with bright pops of color (such as pink) for the spring. This would be the same sartorial flair that pushes flocks of teenagers to granny sweaters and thick, black-rimmed glasses.

-- Fast-food purveyor McDonald's is pushing more into the mobile space with a geo-targeted ad campaign touting its hot drinks. Inside the iPhone app for the music service Pandora, McDonald's put ads that can register the user's location and give information on the nearest McDonald's restaurant, along with photos of its hot chocolate and McCafe offerings. The ads also offer free holiday wallpapers downloads for the phone.

-- Home-improvement giant Lowe's Cos. acquired online home improvement retailer ATG Stores for an undisclosed amount. ATG will remain an independent subsidiary of Lowe's, with separate branding and merchandising, Lowe's said in a statement. No jobs are expected to be cut as a result of the acquisition.

"The addition of ATG Stores is a strategic fit, providing more opportunities for Lowe’s to be a relevant partner at every stage of the home improvement process and deliver better customer experiences from inspiration to planning to enjoyment,” Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chief executive and chairman, said in a statement.

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-- Shan Li

Photo: Rows of boots at the facility where L.L. Bean boots are assembled in Brunswick, Maine. Credit: Pat Wellenbach / Associated Press

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