ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The U.S. housewares industry hit $54.8 billion in sales in 1997, up from $53.8 billion in 1996, according to the National Housewares Manufacturers Association, based here. Consumers spent $560 per household on the category last year -- more than they spent on essential foods such as fruits and vegetables, or on education. Supermarkets, classified under the "middle five" retail formats, turned in flat sales of $3.2 billion in 1997. These are just some of the findings of ...

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