FINANCE

NRF: June sales mark 12 consecutive months of growth

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — A report released Thursday by the National Retail Federation, which expanded on earlier news by the U.S. Commerce Department, showed that warm weather, reduced gas prices and strong Father’s Day promotions helped power retail sales for the 12th consecutive month and past Wall Street expectations.

According to the NRF, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) in June increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from May and 5.5% unadjusted year-over-year.

“A solid year of growth in sales provides further evidence that retailers continue to lead the charge in the economic recovery,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “While spending continues to surpass expectations, sustained growth in the retail sector depends on a strong labor market.”

Commerce Department data showed that total retail sales in June (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

Specific sales results, said NRF, include: Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 0.7% seasonally adjusted over May and a solid 7.6% unadjusted year-over-year. Sales at building material and garden equipment stores increased 1.3% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8.5% unadjusted over last year.

Sales at electronic and appliance stores decreased 0.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 2.3% unadjusted from last year. Home furnishings stores sales decreased 0.8% seasonally adjusted over May and increased 0.2% unadjusted year-over-year.

Health and personal care stores sales decreased 0.2% seasonally adjusted over May but increased 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

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FINANCE

Build-A-Bear president resigns

BY Katherine Boccaccio

St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. president John Haugh said Thursday that he will resign as the company’s president, as reported by the St. Louis Business Journal.

Haugh’s resignation is effective July 22, according to an SEC filing. His successor hasn’t been named, but current duties will be filled in the interim by Chief Financial and Operations Officer Tina Klocke, Chief Entertainment Officer Teresa Kroll and Chief Executive Maxine Clark.

Haugh has been at the helm since 2009.

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OPERATIONS

Naartjie Kids expands into Middle East

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Saudi Arabia — Children’s retailer Naartjie Kids said Thursday it opened its first Saudi Arabia flagship store on July 9 in the Riyadh Gallery Mall. The company said six additional Saudi Arabia stores are slated to open this month.

It is the retailer’s first foray into franchising, and will expand its global retail presence beyond the U.S. and South Africa into the Middle East and North Africa. The initial opening of seven Saudi Arabia stores is part of an exclusive multiyear licensing agreement with Fawaz Alhokair & Co. based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Alhokair partnership includes the opening of an additional 50 plus retail stores by 2015 in the greater Middle East and North Africa regions.

Naartjie Kids will operate 52 wholly owned retail stores in the USA by year end 2011 with an additional 25 stores in South Africa.

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