EASTER RETAIL OUTLOOK: Consumers will celebrate Easter by spending more than last year, according to the National Retail Federation. NRF, in conjunction with BIGresearch, a market research firm, polled 8,801 consumers from March 7 to 14 and found they will spend $135.07 on average, up 11 percent. Total spending related to the holiday is estimated to reach $14.37 billion, compared with last year's projected $12.63 billion. "Retailers will be looking to the warmer weather to help stimulate the sale of spring apparel," NRF president and chief executive officer Tracy Mullin said in a statement. Shoppers will spend $26.03 on average for a new spring outfit. Discounters will see the most Easter traffic, capturing 57.2 percent of the consumer population this year, but less than last year's 59.6 percent, NRF said. Department stores should attract 36.8 percent of consumers shopping the sector, versus 30 percent last year.

ARNAULT, COLONY'S BOARD PLAY: France's Carrefour, the world's second biggest retailer after Wal-Mart, said Tuesday that it received a request from French tycoon Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and U.S. investment firm Colony Capital to name two representatives to the company's board. Carrefour said it would meet with the investors so they could "clarify their intentions." Carrefour said a board meeting then would convene to discuss the matter. Arnault and Colony bought 9.1 percent of Carrefour on March 7, giving them the second-largest stake in the hypermarket operator after France's Halley family.

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