FINANCE

Consumers regain some confidence in August

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Consumers felt a little more confidence in August, according to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index. The Index, which had retreated in July, rebounded in August, and now stands at 54.1, up from 47.4 in July.

The Present Situation Index increased slightly to 24.9 from 23.3 last month. The Expectations Index improved to 73.5 from 63.4 in July.

“Consumer confidence, which had posted back-to-back monthly declines, appears to be back on the mend,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “The Present Situation Index increased slightly, mainly the result of an improvement in consumers’ assessment of the job market. The Expectations Index improved considerably and is now at its highest level since December 2007 (Index, 75.8).”

Consumers were more upbeat in their short-term outlook for both the economy and the job market in August, but only slightly more upbeat in their income expectations, according to Franco.

“And, as long as earnings continue to weigh heavily on consumers’ minds, spending is likely to remain constrained,” he added.

Consumers’ short-term outlook was much improved from last month. Those expecting an improvement in business conditions over the next six months increased to 22.4% from 18.4%. Those anticipating conditions to worsen decreased to 15.8% from 19.0%.

The labor market outlook was also more upbeat. The percentage of consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 18.4% from 15.5%, while those expecting fewer jobs decreased to 23.3% from 26.1%.

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Michaels returns to profit in Q2

BY CSA STAFF

IRVING, Tex, Michaels Stores reported net income for the quarter ended Aug. 1 of $2 million compared with a $30 million loss for the quarter ended Aug. 2, 2008.

Net sales for the quarter ended Aug. 1 were $807 million, a 1.4% increase over last year’s net sales of $796 million. Same-store sales for the quarter declined 0.8%. According to Michael’s, this was due to a 7% decrease in average ticket and a 6.2% increase in transactions.

 

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Finish Line establishes e-commerce div. and new president

BY CSA STAFF

INDIANAPOLIS, Minn. Finish Line announced that it has established a division to focus exclusively on its growing e-commerce channel. The new e-commerce division will be headed by Donald Courtney, who has been named president, e-commerce, effective immediately, reporting to Finish Line CEO Glenn Lyon. Before being appointed to this new post, Courtney was CEO/EVP of information systems and distribution, a position he has held since 2003.

The new division unites the Finish Line e-commerce advertising, design and content team, which was based in the marketing department, with the technology and operations team that was formerly part of the information systems group. Among other focus areas, the new e-commerce division will enhance FinishLine.com to enrich the customer experience and continue to expand its sales and profitability contribution.

“We increased online sales by 14% in the first quarter and look forward to building on that growth by establishing a focused e-commerce division that integrates content with technology under the guidance of Don Courtney, an experienced and proven leader. Don built our technologically advanced distribution and information systems infrastructure, and we are confident he is the right leader to take our e-commerce business to the next level as well,” said Finish Line CEO Lyon.

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