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ICSC: Consumers expect to spend $285 on back-to-school shopping

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — The average household expenditure on all types of back-to-school items is expected to be about $285 this year, with 39% of consumers planning to spend more than last year and 45% planning to spend about the same. According to a new study from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman-Sachs, 29% of households surveyed have started to shop for back-to-school items, which is lower than the 33% that had started at this time last year but more than in any other year since 2004.

In addition, of consumers who plan to increase spending, nearly three-fifths indicated that the bulk of their shopping will be to replace wardrobes and school supplies. The number one item that consumers need for the coming school year is school supplies (89%), followed by apparel (79%). Two-thirds of households reported that August is when they will do most of their back-to-school shopping.

“Consumers typically view back-to-school merchandise as an essential expenditure, which is likely a key reason that so many consumers plan to increase spending this year,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC VP of research and chief economist. “However, this year consumers plan to do considerably more of that shopping at discount stores (90% versus 83% in 2012) than anywhere else, followed by office supply (44%) and traditional department stores (41%).”

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Supervalu sees higher loss, sales in Q1; appoints two board members

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis – Supervalu Inc. reported a higher net loss and lower net income during the first quarter of fiscal 2014, compared to the first quarter of the prior fiscal year. Net loss totaled $105 million, up from $18 million year earlier, although one-time after-tax charges of $139 million pushed Supervalu into the red. Net sales were $5.16 billion, a 1.5% drop from $5.24 billion a year earlier.

The retailer said its year-over-year decline in net sales was primarily driven by same-store sales drops of 3% for its Retail Food banner, 1.9% for Save-A-Lot and 1.2% for corporate stores in the Save-A-Lot network. During the quarter, Supervalu closed a previously reached definitive agreement for the sale of the five retail grocery banners of Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market.

Sam Duncan, president and CEO of Supervalu, struck an optimistic tone based upon improvements from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.

“Our first quarter was highlighted by a renewed focus on driving sales and cash in all segments of our business and I’m pleased with the progress we made, especially the sequential improvement in sales trends from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 in each of our business segments,” said Duncan. “We have a good foundation, strong leadership team, improved debt maturity profile, and achievable goals across each operating segment.”

In other news, Supervalu appointed the final two members to its reconstituted board of directors: Eric G. Johnson, president and CEO of Baldwin Richardson Foods Company, and Sam Duncan.

“I am very pleased that Eric has joined the Supervalu board of directors,” said Bob Miller, Supervalu’s non-executive chairman. “He will bring a unique perspective to the group as both an entrepreneur and as a major producer of products and ingredients to the food industry.”

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Sherwin-Williams Paint Stores Group buoys Q2

BY CSA STAFF

Another sign of further improvement in the nation’s housing market were results from leading paints manufacturer and retailer Sherwin-Williams, whose net sales for the quarter ended June 30 were $2.71 billion, up 5.5% from the same quarter last year.

Net sales in the Paint Stores Group increased 8% to $1.61 billion. The company’s total net income for the quarter was $257.3 million, up 12.9% from the second quarter of 2013.

"The Paint Stores Group architectural volume growth was strong across all end-market segments," siad Christopher Connor, chairman and CEO. The group opened 22 net new stores in the first six months, and is on track to open 70 to 80 new stores for the fiscal year.

Sherwin-Williams brands include Dutch Boy, Krylon, Minwax and Thompson’s Water Seal.

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