Gas Cuts Into June Sales
Washington, D.C. Retail sales increased only slightly in the month of June, as sharply rising gas station sales were offset by a record decline in auto sales, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday.
Auto sales fell 3.3% in the month, the largest decline since February 2006. Excluding autos, June retail sales rose 0.8%.
Gasoline station sales saw the largest gain in the month, helped by the rising cost of oil. Sales in the category rose 4.6%, the largest gain since November 2007.
Grocery store sales rose 0.7% in the month, boosted by the rising cost of food. Sales at general merchandise stores rose 0.4% in the month.
Housing-related and other big-ticket stores, including furniture, electronics and building materials, showed declines. Furniture and home-furnishing sales fell 1.4%, the largest decline since December. Electronics and appliance store sales fell 0.6%, also the largest decline since December.
Restaurant and bar sales dropped 0.2%, according to the Commerce Department.
Economists expected government tax rebate checks to give a bigger boost to retail sales in June, despite the weak overall U.S. economy. However, much of that spending seems to be reflected in May gains. Analysts said that soaring gasoline prices, housing market declines and mounting concern about the economy continue to cut into consumer spending.
Separately, chain-store sales for the week ended July 12 rose 2.2% from the year-ago period, according to a survey released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and UBS Securities. “While sales posted a moderate increase this week, sales were led by spending at grocery stores, drug stores and discounters, while electronics, jewelry and furniture stores were softer,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist, ICSC.
Sales in July are expected to increase by between 2% to 3%, Niemira said.
Wal-Mart, WWF team up to protect forests
WASHINGTON & BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores joined the Global Forest & Trade Network, the World Wildlife Fund’s initiative to save the world’s most valuable and threatened forests. By joining the GFTN, Wal-Mart has committed to phasing out illegal and unwanted wood sources from its supply chain and increasing its proportion of wood products originating from credibly certified sources–for Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Clubs in the United States.
“With nearly half of the world’s forests already gone, action is urgently needed,” said Suzanne Apple, WWF’s vp for business and industry. “Wal-Mart’s commitment to support responsible forestry answers that call to action. WWF welcomes the company to a global community committed to healthy business and healthy forests.”
The United States is the largest consumer of industrial timber, pulp and paper in the world. The United States is also among the top destinations for imports of wood from areas where illegal logging and trade are common, such as Indonesia, China and Brazil. Thus, the U.S. market is critical to protecting forests worldwide. Wal-Mart’s commitment includes the importation and sale of all wood-based products with an initial focus on wood-based furniture. Wal-Mart sources furniture from the Amazon, Russian Far East, northern China, Indonesia and the Mekong region of southeast Asia. These areas include some of the most biologically diverse places on earth, places that WWF is working to protect.
Within one year, Wal-Mart will complete an assessment of where its wood furniture is coming from and whether the wood is legal and well-managed. Once the assessment is completed, Wal-Mart has committed to eliminating wood from illegal and unknown sources within five years. The company will also eliminate wood from forests that are of critical importance due to their environmental, socio-economic, biodiversity or landscape values and that aren’t well-managed.
Michaels names Crowley new cfo
IRVING, Texas Michaels Stores has announced that Elaine D. Crowley has been named evp and cfo of the company, effective Aug. 18.
Crowley was most recently senior vp, cfo and treasurer for The Bombay Co. During her 18-year tenure with Bombay, she had direct responsibility for accounting and control, financial planning and analysis, tax, loss prevention, risk management, internal audit, SEC reporting, investor relations and treasury. She also initiated processes to strengthen sales and financial forecasts, expense control, inventory management and cash flow to respond to changing financial needs of the business. Crowley is a CPA with a B.B.A. in accounting from Texas Christian University.
“As the largest retailer of arts and crafts in North America, I believe that Michaels has tremendous opportunities ahead as it continues to expand its global sourcing network and increase market share,” noted Crowley. “I am looking forward to joining the Michaels team and to contributing to its future success.”
“We are very excited to have a chief financial officer with Elaine’s background and experience join our team,” said Michaels ceo Brian C. Cornell. “In addition to her financial acumen, her understanding of supply chain, sourcing, and extensive retail experience make her a great fit for Michaels.”