Michelle Obama shops at Target
New York City — The nation’s first lady did some shopping Thursday at a Target store in Alexandria, Va.
Mrs. Obama was casually dressed and virtually incognito with a baseball cap and sunglasses. She spent about 30 to 40 minutes in the store, according to reports, and was accompanied by an assistant.
Leonard Green and CVC complete acquisition of BJ’s
Westborough, N.H. — Private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners and CVC Capital Partners on Friday completed their $2.8 billion acquisition of BJ’s Wholesale Club. The move, which takes the chain private, sets the stage for a stock delisting, effective Monday before the markets open.
The deal was announced in late June after months of speculation. BJ’s shareholders approved the buyout on Sept. 9. The chain currently operates 190 warehouse clubs in 15 states.
Consumer spending lagged in August
Washington, D.C. — Consumer spending in the United States slowed in August, impacted by falling incomes and sporadic hiring, according to a report released Friday by the Commerce Dept. The report came amid news that incomes unexpectedly dropped for the first time in almost two years.
Commerce Dept. figures showed that purchases edged up 0.2% after a 0.7% increase in July. However, a 0.2% increase in prices wiped out the slight spending gain. Incomes dipped 0.1%, the first decline since October 2009.
“Consumers right now have extremely low confidence,” Carl Riccadona, senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, told Bloomberg. “They have a sour assessment of economic conditions and they are facing a lot of uncertainty about future earnings and employment prospects, and because of that there is a degree of hesitancy with respect to big ticket purchases.”
The median estimate of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.2% increase in nominal sales. Projections ranged from decreases of 0.2% to increases of 0.4%. The Commerce Department revised the July spending figure from a previously reported 0.8% gain.
In related news, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment climbed to 59.4 in September, higher than forecast, from 55.7 in August.