Consumer Sentiment Index falls more than estimated to 68.2
Ann Arbor, Mich. — A report released Friday by Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan showed that confidence among U.S. consumers fell more than forecast in March, precipitated by a surge in fuel prices.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 68.2, the lowest in five months, from 77.5 in February. The gauge was projected to decline to 76.3, according to a Bloomberg News survey. The index of expectations plunged to the lowest level since March 2009.
The nine-point drop in sentiment this month was the biggest since October 2008, the last time average gasoline prices topped $3.50 a gallon.
Estimates for the confidence measure ranged from 74 to 80, according to the Bloomberg survey. While the index averaged 89 in the five years leading up to the recession that began December 2007, it hasn’t reached that level since the recovery started in June 2009.
“Consumers are reacting to the run-up in gas prices, which accelerated in the middle of February,” Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA in New York, told Bloomberg. “It’s taking up a bigger portion of their wallet. If fuel prices rise even further, it could be a threat to consumer spending.”
JLL executive joins Corporate Solutions practice
Chicago — Jones Lang LaSalle said Friday that Cedric Thurman has joined the firm’s Corporate Retail Solutions practice. As senior VP, Thurman will focus on enhancing the firm’s ability to deliver profit-enhancing strategies to meet the retail industry’s growing demand for strategic outsourced real estate services.
Thurman is based out of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Chicago office, reporting to Lew Kornberg, managing director, Corporate Retail Solutions.
Joining Jones Lang LaSalle in 2000, Thurman most recently served as the firm’s chief diversity officer, advancing diversity and inclusion within the firm in the United States and Canada.
The CRS team provides an end-to-end suite of services, from strategic and market planning, site acquisition, project and asset management.
Veteran ad exec named to hall of fame
Tim White, SVP marketing at Fashion Bug, and a 30-year retail industry veteran, this week was inducted into the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association’s Advertising Hall of Fame. White is currently leading a team focused on building a brand identity at Fashion Bug that satisfies the clothing wants and needs of today value conscious woman. White spent the early part of his career with Kmart, ascending the ranks to become the lead marketing executive for Kmart’s launch of the super center initiative. White’s compelling branding and advertising programs for the Super Kmart Centers won acclaim from numerous marketing institutions, including the Effie Award for Kmart’s groundbreaking radio campaign.
After leaving Kmart, White briefly served as director of marketing for Tandy Corporation’s Computer City Stores before moving on to become a key executive member of the team that launched The Great Indoors retail concept, a unit of Sears. White also served as SVP marketing for Linens ‘n’ Things, where he directed strategic marketing, brand management and customer research to aid in the company’s national expansion efforts.