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Business picking up in RV industry

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The RV industry’s recovery from the Great Recession has picked up speed.

Recreational vehicle makers are churning out higher numbers of travel trailers bound for dealers’ lots and, ultimately, campgrounds.

Overall shipments from manufacturers to dealers – a key measure of consumer demand – are expected to rise 10 percent in 2012 and could gain another 4.5 percent next year, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association said Tuesday.

Through September, shipments were up nearly 11 percent from the same period last year, the group said.

“We made up a lot of ground this year,” said Jeffrey Pastore, owner of Hartville RV Center in northeastern Ohio.

“We’re seeing a lot more buyers walking in the door, and we’re seeing those buyers with more money in hand.”

ConAgra buying private label company

NEW YORK – ConAgra Foods is set to become the nation’s biggest maker of store-brand foods, with a $5 billion purchase of Ralcorp that expands its stake in the growing market for packaged foods sold under private labels.

The bid for Ralcorp comes at a time when private-label brands – also known as store brands or house brands – are gaining popularity with price-conscious shoppers.

ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin said that private-label products are growing at twice the rate of name brands and now account for 18 percent of the overall packaged food market.

Rather than merely mimicking name brands, Rodkin said that retailers increasingly want to cultivate customer loyalty by offering unique products.

“The private-label industry for the most part has been more emulation oriented,” Rodkin said. He said ConAgra would use its experience with name brands to innovate private label products.


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