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NRF: Consumer spending surged 0.4% in September

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation reported Monday that September retail sales – excluding autos, fuel and restaurants – increased a seasonally adjusted 0.4%, thanks to strong showings from clothing and electronics stores.

Unadjusted, retail sales gained 2.1% year over year.

“In spite of the uncertainty and unease surrounding our nation’s high unemployment and long-term fiscal challenges, consumers continue to spend and shop,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Robust back-to-school spending combined with a series of new, technology-led product launches certainly helped retailers in September. The American consumer is holding their own in this economic environment but the question remains, for how long?”

September retail sales, also released Monday by the Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 1.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

“With recent data painting a more optimistic view of consumer confidence, we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “While the latest retail sales data indicates continued improvement for the economy, increasing gas prices and the looming fiscal cliff still pose serious challenges to the momentum we’ve seen in consumer spending.”

Other findings from the September retail sales report include:

  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increase 0.6% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 4.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 2.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted month-to-month but decreased 1.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 2.0% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 1.8% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.8% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF said it is now projecting year-over-year retail sales growth of 4.5%.

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Scotts Miracle-Gro names SVP independent channel

BY CSA STAFF

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has appointed Phil Jones, formerly president of its west coast region, to lead its retail channel for independent garden centers and hardware co-op stores as SVP independent channel.

"We continue to refine our business model to build key capabilities and improve our competitiveness to meet our long-term goal of driving category growth and enhancing our industry leadership," said Barry Sanders, president and chief operating officer. "While independent garden centers and hardware co-ops were the initial drivers of growth for our business, our performance in this channel has not met expectations in recent years.

Jones was named regional president in June 2009, responsible for leading the company’s business development, marketing and sales efforts in the western United States. Jones’ focus on independent garden centers and hardware co-op stores resulted in the top sales growth for the region within this channel for the past several years. Previously, Jones was VP consumer roundup.

Reporting to Jones will be Stephen Markert, VP channel sales, who will oversee independent garden center sales and marketing strategies. Josh Meihls, director of national accounts will oversee hardware co-op sales and marketing.

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PacSun upgrades e-commerce, mobile sites

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — PacSun has partnered with Lyons Consulting Group to upgrade both their e-commerce and mobile sites.

Lyons Consulting Group migrated the site onto the more robust Demandware platform and added several custom features, including thirteen third party integrations such as Gigya Social Sign in and Visa V.Me. Through this process, lyonscg produced a more flexible front-end, improved content manageability, all while creating a fun, engaging, and intuitive shopping experience when browsing either the ecommerce or mobile sites.

In addition to updating their online presence, PacSun improved their in-store presence as well. Lyons Consulting Group created a customized iPad website that allows sales associates in the stores to purchase merchandise for customers when the desired product is not available in the store.

"Because our target demographic is extremely tech-savvy, our ecommerce and mobile channels are critical to our overall business strategy," said Mondy Beller, VP e-commerce. "We couldn’t be happier with selecting Lyons as our ecommerce integration partner. Lyons has exceeded our expectations in terms of speed, accuracy and overall partnership."

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