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Retail Roundup: Simmons' CEO Departs, Holiday Season Begins at Wal-Mart

Simmons Bedding rests under new leadership -- After eight years at the helm of retail giant Simmons Bedding, Charlie Eitel is stepping down from his post as the company's CEO, and Chief Operating Officer Steve Fendrich is taking over. Eitel will stay involved with the company by serving as the vice chairman of the board of directors, but no reason for his transition was given. [Source: Home Furnishings Business]

Wal-Mart lowers prices on toys for holidays -- Wal-Mart waited no later than Oct. 1 to jump-start its retail strategy for a holiday season predicted to be paled by economic woes. More than 3,000 stores across the nation reduced the price of 10 popular toys, including assorted Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels packages, to $10. The retailer also plans to open its annual Christmas Shops within its stores over the next 10 days. [Source: Wal-Mart News Room]

Halloween spending expected to reach $5.77 billion -- Americans are planning to forget the state of their frightening economy this Halloween by enjoying terrors and scares not quite as lasting, according to a National Retail Federation study. Not only do more consumers plan to celebrate the holiday this year than last year, but the average person plans to spend $66.54 on Halloween-related goods -- up from $64.82 last year. "Though the economy is struggling, Halloween sales may be a bright spot for retailers this fall," said Tracy Mullin, president of the National Retail Federation. [Source: National Retail Federation]

Retailers report record theft -- Shoplifters stole more than $6.7 billion from just 24 of the nation's largest retailers last year, according to the newest survey by Jack L. Hayes International. The two dozen retailers surveyed reported apprehending a record 708,962 thieves, some of which were dishonest employees. More than $150 million was recovered from the shoplifters. [Source: Hayes International and Orlando Business Journal]

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