Levin’s mid-year survey reports optimism among retailers
North Plainfield, N.J. — Levin Management has released its annual June survey of store mangers within its 95-property, 13 million-sq. ft. shopping center portfolio.
According to the survey, 58.2% of respondents believe that adverse weather conditions during the first months of the year had a negative impact on sales. Even so, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that total retail sales for the period of March through May 2014 rose 4.3% from the same period a year ago.
Memorial Day weekend sales were up, with 49.5% of the store managers reporting sales the same or better than last year, up from 37.5% in the 2013 survey.
Looking forward, retailers report a positive outlook for the rest of 2014. More than half — 52% — of Levin’s respondents believe that sales will improve in the coming months. This represents a significant jump over last year’s survey, in which only 34.5% anticipated improving sales. Another 16.3% anticipate that sales will remain about the same during the second half of the year.
Hiring trends among the survey respondents mirror last year. Just over 33% in the mid-year 2014 and mid-year 2013 surveys indicated that they have increased store staff since January. Nearly 28% plan to add jobs during the second half of the year.
Store expansion plans are on the rise, too. At mid-year, 30.6% of respondents indicated that their company has or will open new stores in 2014, up significantly from 23.3% in 2013.
Technology has become important to Levin’s survey respondents. A vast majority — 86.5% — indicated active use of mobile apps, social media, email, texting and other tools to attract customers. That percentage is up slightly from the 85.1% of respondents in the 2013 survey. That said, a full 68.4% said they have increased technology use over the past year.
Levin will conduct its next retail sentiment survey in the fall, prior to the holiday shopping season.
New Sears Home Appliance Showroom opens in Colorado June 26
Hoffman Estates, Ill. – Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. will open its newest Colorado Sears Home Appliance Showroom on June 26, in Arvada. The Arvada location marks the fourth opening of a new Sears Home Appliance Showroom Store this year and the 14th opening of a new store across all of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores formats.
Through the company’s price-match policy, the Arvada Sears Home Appliance Showroom guarantees the lowest price on the top appliance brands, and is equipped with an Internet kiosk where customers are guided by sales staff to view similar products, price match with other retailers, and order products not available in the store.
Juicy Couture to expand U.S. stores, global brand
New York – A series of new concept Juicy Couture stores will be opened in the U.S. and Canada beginning in 2015. The new stores will be in key, high traffic locations such as New York City, Los Angeles and Vancouver, and will replace existing Juicy Couture stores in the U.S.
The brand will continue to expand upon its nearly 200 retail locations in key international markets, working with partners in Asia, Europe (FF Group) and the Middle East (MAF) and another 127 stores and shop-in-shops are expected to open during the next five years in major cities across the globe.
The Juicy Couture Black Label Collection, now available worldwide, is being expanded by new owner Authentic Brands Group LLC (ABG) with new offerings in intimates, kidswear and footwear, with a focus on opening girl’s and intimates free-standing shops internationally. The global Juicy Couture Black Label Collection also will be enhanced through partnerships with Elizabeth Arden (fragrance), Steve Madden (footwear), Movado (watches), Safilo (eyewear), Contour (tech accessories) and Swimwear Anywhere (swimwear).
In addition, ABG is re-launching JuicyCouture.com, the global e-commerce and brand site.