NRF: Retail sales rebound in February
Washington, D.C. – Lingering bad weather in much of the country did not keep consumers from shopping during February 2014. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), February 2014 retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.2% adjusted month-to-month and 2.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
February retail sales results released by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted month-to-month ($472.2 billion). The Census also reported that retail sales increased 1.5% adjusted year-over-year.
Additional NRF findings from the February retail sales report include:
• Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 2.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 2.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and unchanged unadjusted year-over-year.
• General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 0.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 1.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 1.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 6.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 2.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
“Today’s positive retail sales report indicates that the economy is primed for growth,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers and consumers endured the harsh winter and they’re hoping both the natural and man-made obstacles to growth will leave with the snow.”
Williams-Sonoma Q4 tops estimates as online surges 11.5%; ups dividend
San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma reported a better-than-expected profit of $133.8 million in the fourth quarter, up slightly from $133.7 million in the year-ago period. The company also announced it is lifting its dividend 2 cents, or 6%, to 33 cents a share.
“Williams-Sonoma, Inc. outperformed the retail industry this holiday season, gaining market share and demonstrating the structural advantage of our multi-brand, multichannel platform,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO. “The strength of our brands across retail and e-commerce, in conjunction with disciplined execution, enabled our team to drive record operating results.”
Revenue for the quarter, which ended February 2, 2014, and had one less week than last year, rose 4.3% to $1.47 billion. Online sales surged 11.5% to $706.4 million. (E-commerce represented 44% of the company’s net revenues in fiscal 2013.)
“Our multichannel marketing, built from decades of data analytics experience, enables us to reach our customers and attract new ones in increasingly relevant ways,” Alber said.
Total same-store sales in the fourth quarter increased 10.4%. By brand, West Elm was on top, with 18.3% growth, while Pottery Barn’s sales were up 14.6%. Williams-Sonoma’s namesake stores posted a 2.3% increase. Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen were up 11.2% and 9.6%, respectively.
Sephora launches new social shopping platform
San Francisco — Sephora has launched a new social shopping platform, called Beauty Board, to engage customers through beauty images and allow them to post, share, browse and shop the company’s photo gallery directly on its web site, mobile site, iPhone and Android apps. Shoppers will be able to upload photos, tag the products they use, and give helpful tips on how they achieved the look.
"Our beauty lovers are gathering and sharing beauty tips across a variety of social properties like Instagram and Pinterest, as well as our blog and beauty community site," said Julie Bornstein, executive VP, chief marketing and digital officer at Sephora. "So we took what we admire as social users to the next level by developing and integrating our newest social site, Beauty Board, into our Sepora.com experience.”
Bornstein explained that Sephora shoppers can now share looks or hauls, and tag all of the products they used to make shopping easy for the entire beauty community.
“Best of all we designed Beauty Board to seamlessly connect with our clients’ other social platforms, providing an informative and social shopping experience for all," she said.
Using their current Sephora.com account information or signing up for a new account, customers will be able to create their own social accounts on Beauty Board that will allow them to upload and tag their own beauty images.
The new platform will simultaneously launch on desktop and mobile at the same time, making it easy for users to upload their photos via their mobile devices.