REAL ESTATE

Guess opens Fifth Avenue flagship

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Guess announced Thursday that its North American flagship location has opened at 575 Fifth Avenue, at 47th St., in New York City.

The new store, the retailer’s largest to date, spans 13,000 sq. ft. over two floors and is inspired by the brand’s new global flagship concept launched in Milan last year.

Custom design features include hand-applied Venetian plaster and silver leaf wall coverings, custom-made chandeliers and an elevator draped in faceted black chain mesh made by Hudson Furniture in New York City. High gloss black and white fixtures, distressed steel and black wood make up the store’s materials palette.

The first floor, housing the women’s collection, is highlighted by a 12-ft.-high LED screen playing behind-the-scenes videos from fashion shows and campaign shoots. Located in the center of the floor is an elevated runway showcasing an expanded assortment of Guess accessories categories.

This store is the fourth retail location in New York City for the company.

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FINANCE

Report: U.S. initial jobless claims rise to 410,000 last week

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — A report released Thursday by the Labor Department said that applications for jobless benefits increased by 25,000 to 410,000 in the week ended Feb. 12, exceeding the 400,000 median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

The filings increase indicates that labor market will take time to develop.

The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance was little changed, while those collecting extended payments decreased.

According to a report by Bloomberg, a reduction in firings by U.S. firms is needed to keep unemployment going down. Bigger job gains are needed to boost consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the world’s largest economy.

“Conditions in the labor market will continue to be tenuous as firms look for a sustained pickup in sales,” Maxwell Clarke, chief U.S. economist at IDEAglobal in New York, said before the report. “Claims should remain at an elevated level for some time but should continue along a gradual downward path in the months to come.”

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FINANCE

NRF forecast: 2011 retail sales to rise 4%

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The National Retail Federation said Thursday that it expects retail sales growth of 4% this year, the biggest increase since 2006.

However, the group warned that shoppers are likely to remain cautious as they cope with slow job growth and rising prices.

The NRF said it expects retail sales to reach $2.47 trillion in 2011, up from $2.37 trillion in 2010, excluding automobiles, fuel and restaurants.

That increase would be higher than the past decade’s average annual growth rate of 3.1% and 2010’s increase of 3.7%. Retail sales rose 4.7% in 2006, which is still under the 5% rate that indicates a robust economy.

"Consumers will continue to be thoughtful about what they’re spending, but they’re certainly feeling better," said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist.

NRF’s forecast is not adjusted for inflation, and the figures include online sales from physical stores but not from such companies as Amazon.com that operate only on the web.

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