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February retail sales up 1.1%, exceeding expectations

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Retail spending in the United States rose a better-than-expected 1.1% in February, the highest increase since September, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Sales, excluding gasoline, building materials and autos, rose 0.4%. Industry experts said the rise indicates that consumer spending is holding up even in the face of the higher payroll tax.

“While gasoline prices helped lift the overall sales in February, core retail sales were also strong and demonstrate the resilience of consumers in a slowly recovering economy,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy. “Recognizing the continued challenges consumers face, retailers remain nimble, adjusting marketing, promotions and product assortments to earn their share of consumer spending.”

In addition to gasoline sales, home improvement and grocery retailers saw substantial gains in February, while sales at department stores, sporting goods retailers and home furnishing retailers slipped over the previous month.

Spending increased 0.2% at apparel stores, and 0.5% at general merchandise stores, the most in almost a year. Non-store retailers saw a 1.6%.

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Ulta Beauty names CFO

BY Staff Writer

Bolingbrook, Ill. — Ulta Beauty has appointed Scott Settersten as CFO and assistant secretary, effective immediately. Settersten will report to Dennis Eck, interim CEO.

Settersten has been acting CFO and assistant secretary since October 2012. He joined Ulta Beauty in January 2005 as director of financial reporting.

Prior to joining Ulta Beauty, Settersten spent 15 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a certified public accountant serving in various senior manager roles in the assurance and risk management practices.

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buangsila001 says:
Mar-14-2013 05:08 am

Ulta Cosmetics is a Beauty Products chain store. They also have a salon in the rear of the store. - J. Kale Flagg

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Express Q4 profit tops Street; outlook weak

BY Marianne Wilson

Columbus, Ohio — Express said its fourth-quarter net income rose a better-than-expected 6%, but its full-year projection for earnings came up short as the retailer provided a weak outlook.

Express, similar to many other retailers, had less traffic in February, as higher taxes and rising gas prices cut into shoppers’ discretionary spending.

For the period ended Feb. 2, Express Inc. earned $63.9 million, up from $60.4 million a year earlier.

Revenue increased 8% to $728.7 million from $673.2 million. Same-store sales rose 1.5%.

Full-year net income inched down 1% to $139.3 million, from $140.7 million in the previous year.

Annual revenue rose 4% to $2.15 billion from $2.07 billion. Same-store sales were flat.

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