FINANCE

NRF: January retail sales up 0.3%

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington — Retail sales ticked up in January as consumers adjusted their spending in response to the increase in payroll taxes and rise in gasoline and energy prices. According to the National Retail Federation, January retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from December and increased 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

January retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7% adjusted year-over-year.

“With the return of healthy housing prices, stronger employment statistics combined with historic highs on Wall Street at the end of 2012 and 2013, consumers seem a bit more confident these days,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Even though retail sales were relatively modest in January, consumers seem to have adjusted accordingly to rising taxes and energy prices. Far from secure, consumer confidence continues to be shaky.”

Other findings from the January retail sales report include:

  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales decreased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 1.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 8.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
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FINANCE

Meijer investing $160 million in new stores and remodels

BY Staff Writer

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Meijer is investing more than $160 million in new store construction and remodeling.

The investment includes the construction of six new Meijer supercenters, and five major remodel projects. Michigan, Indiana and Illinois will each welcome two new Meijer supercenters. The remodels planned at an additional four Michigan stores and one Meijer location in Illinois.

"We are pleased to continue to invest in the Midwest communities that have supported us for so long," Hank Meijer, co-chairman and co-CEO said. "By keeping prices low and maintaining our focus on customer service, we have been able to continue to grow during a tough economic cycle."

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FINANCE

GE Capital renews private label card program with J.C. Penney

BY Staff Writer

Stamford, Conn. — GE Capital Retail Bank, a consumer lending unit of General Electric Company (GE), has renewed its private label credit card program with J.C. Penney Co.

The JCP consumer card program provides credit to millions of consumers who shop at more than 1,100 J.C. Penney stores in communities across the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as online at JCP.com.

“We are pleased to continue providing the card program to JCP customers and excited to extend what has been a very successful 13-year relationship. We look forward to working with the entire JCP team, helping to build their business and serving millions of customers across America,” said Margaret Keane, CEO of GE Capital Retail Bank.

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