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Waynedale Kroger gets a makeover

Kroger Co. will unveil its latest remodeled store Thursday in Waynedale.

The outlet at 7008 Bluffton Road was formerly a Scott’s but will debut as a Kroger store, officials said in a Tuesday statement. Kroger, based in Cincinnati, has invested $105 million in the Fort Wayne area since 2009, including buying shopping centers to expand and upgrade stores.

The retailer built two Kroger Marketplace stores locally. Kroger Marketplace at Coventry on the city’s southwest side opened in the fall. The other debuted in fall 2011 at 601 E. Dupont Road. In addition to the usual grocery items, Marketplace stores sell linens, furniture, jewelry, toys and other merchandise.

Fort Wayne is the first city in the state with the concept stores.

US retail sales rise 0.5% in December

U.S. consumers increased their spending at retail businesses in December, buying more autos, furniture and clothing. Steady job growth and lower gas prices kept consumers shopping for the holidays, despite worries about potentially tax increases.

Retail sales rose 0.5 percent in December from November, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That’s slightly better than November’s 0.4 percent increase and the best showing since September.

Sales of autos and auto parts rose 1.6 percent to lead all categories. Car companies closed out their best sales year since 2007.

Falling food, gas costs lower wholesale prices

U.S. wholesale prices fell for the third month in a row last month, pushed down by falling food and gas costs. The drop is the latest evidence inflation remains in check.

The producer price index dropped 0.2 percent in December, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That follows a decline of 0.8 percent in November.

The index measures price changes before they reach the consumer. Wholesale prices rose 1.3 percent in 2012, lower than the 4.7 percent increase in 2011.

Sweetwater Sound recognized by mag

Sweetwater Sound was recently selected “Retailer of the Year” by Music Inc. magazine.

Sweetwater said in an email Tuesday that this is the second time the company has received the honor; the first was in 2005. The article in the December magazine highlights the company’s growth.

Sweetwater, 5501 U.S. 30 W., broke ground in November on a $23.5 million expansion announced last summer. The addition will house warehouse, sales and marketing operations, and the company has said it plans to create up to 316 more jobs by 2016. The company said last year it was seeing strong demand for in-home recording equipment.

Gold forecasters split on bull market’s peak

Danske Bank and Credit Suisse, the most accurate gold forecasters, say prices will probably peak this year while their nearest rival, UniCredit, sees no end in sight to the 12-year bull market.

Gold will average $1,720 an ounce this year and $1,600 in 2014, said Christin Tuxen of Danske Bank in Copenhagen, who came closest to predicting moves in the past eight quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Tom Kendall at Credit Suisse in London expects $1,740 and $1,720 and Jochen Hitzfeld of UniCredit in Munich predicts $1,700 and $1,800.