Retail group, CNBC

debut sales tracker

A retail sales tracker created by the National Retail Federation and business news channel CNBC debuted Monday.

Using real-time debit and credit card data supplied by Affinity Solutions, the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor provides near real-time reports on retail sales across all U.S. sectors, categories and markets, the National Retail Federation said in a news release.

The Retail Monitor uses this data to prepare monthly reports that measure changes in U.S. retail sales. The reports are freely available on the National Retail Federation's website, but starting next year, the trade group's members will have access to more information for specific retail sectors.

The reports show month-over-month and year-over-year figures for nine retail sectors, and for total retail sales excluding cars and gasoline.

Affinity Solutions provides information from more than 140 million credit and debit cards, with nearly 9 billion transactions totaling more than $500 billion in annual spending. All data is anonymized and aggregated to eliminate all personal, identifiable information, the federation said.

-- Serenah McKay

LR tech firm cleared

for Arizona data jobs

The Arizona Risk and Authorization Management Program has authorized Mainstream Technologies, a Little Rock company that provides managed technology and cybersecurity services and software development, for its data hosting and software development security standards.

The authorization allows Mainstream Technologies to provide data hosting to Arizona government agencies, as it has demonstrated compliance in system and communications protection, risk assessment, audit and accountability, access control, system information integrity, program management and other categories.

Mainstream Technologies is currently providing the Arizona Department of Education with custom software for its teacher licensure and operations requirements. The company has also worked with the Arkansas and South Carolina departments of education.

"This authorization demonstrates an exceptional level of maturity unique among select custom software developers," Director of Strategy and Consulting J.D. Robinson said in a statement.

Founded in 1996, Mainstream Technologies maintains a second operations facility in Conway and a sales office in Bentonville.

-- Aaron Gettinger

Arkansas Index rises

by 1.05% to 840.31

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Monday at 840.31, up 8.71 points, or 1.05%.

"Stocks closed mixed on Monday as investors brace for a heavy week of announcements that include inflation figures, Federal Reserve speakers and earnings results from retailers,"said Chris Harkins, managing director at Raymond James & Associates.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

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