FINANCE

NRF: Retail Sales Resilient in April

BY CSA STAFF

Washington D.C. Retail sales are still sluggish, however, chains saw their biggest month-to-month increase in April, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

April retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday revealed that total retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased by 2.3% over last year, and rose 0.6% on a month-to-month basis. (When including non-general merchandise like autos, gas stations and restaurants, sales increased 2.6% year-over-year, but declined 0.2% over last month.)

“While it’s apparent that consumers are still holding back, the spring season helped get people back into stores,” said NRF chief economist, Rosalind Wells. “The month-to-month sales increase was the largest we’ve seen since last November, a much welcomed reprieve.”

Necessity-type purchases are the strongest. That said, sales in health and beauty care stores increased 3.1% compared to last year. These sales were up 0.4% from last month.

The onset of spring-like weather is credited for sales increases across building material, garden equipment and supplies stores—the first increase this category has seen in months. Sales jumped 1.2% vs. last year; they increased 1.9% compared to March.

Sales across sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores rose 4.7% compared to 2007, and they were up 0.4% compared to last month.

Electronics and appliance stores sales increased 5.1% from last year and 1.4% since March. Clothing and accessories stores sales increased 0.5% compared to last year, and 0.7% from last month.

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Kanter to leave Michaels end of May

BY CSA STAFF

IRVING, Texas Michaels Stores has announced that Harvey Kanter, evp and managing director, has decided to leave the company effective May 25 to pursue a top leadership role at another company.

Brian Cornell, ceo, said, “Harvey has made significant contributions to Michaels by assisting in our transformation to a consumer-driven organization and we appreciate his service. He has developed a strong team and we are confident they will ensure a smooth transition.”

Until Kanter’s replacement is named, the merchandising organization will report to Brian Cornell.

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Fresh & Easy boosts own-brand foods

BY CSA STAFF

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market confirmed reports that it will be adding new products to its stores announcing a new selection of fresh&easy own-brand foods to cater to increasing demand.

Following a great customer response and encouraging sales of fresh&easy own-brand food, the company is expanding the range with 250 additional products. Some of the new products include fresh prepared ready meals, new juices and brewed teas, soy and goat yogurt, and a range of ready-to-grill meats. .

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