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    Retail Executives Believe Bush Will Win Election

    More than 500 retailers and suppliers gather at ALEx.

    ARLINGTON, Va. -- In an unscientific poll taken last week at the Retail Industry Leaders Association's Annual Leaders Exchange (ALEx), 88 percent of participants believed that President Bush would retain the presidency in the 2004 election. When broken down between retailers and product or service suppliers, the percentages remained the same.

    "This is a capitalistic bunch," quipped Stuart Varney, former host of CNBC's Wall Street Journal Editorial Board and moderator of Monday and Tuesday's CEO panels. On Monday's panel, Best Buy's Brad Anderson, PETCO Animal Supplies' Brian Devine, JoAnn Stores' Alan Rosskamm and Tractor Supply Co.'s Joe Scartlett answered questions from both Varney and the audience on issues ranging from the executives' confidence in their companies' revenue growth compared to last year to what is the most important driver for today's consumer.

    Tuesday's panel, with Mike Duke of Wal-Mart Stores, David Perdue of Dollar General and Stan Sheetz of Sheetz Inc., covered additional questions on issues from employee recruitment and retention to globalization. When asked what the top three challenges were that retailers faced, a common response was mentioned. "People, people and people," responded chairman and CEO of Dollar General David Perdue, concurring with Sheetz and Duke.

    ALEx hosted about 570 retail executives from across the industry, including retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers. With six summits taking place during the two-and-a-half-day event, executives chose sessions on technology, marketing, supply chain, finance, human resources and customer knowledge.

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