PriceSmart to open new store in Dominican Republic
San Diego PriceSmart announced that on Dec. 22, it acquired approximately 30,000 sq. meters of land in Northwest Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, upon which it plans to construct and operate a new PriceSmart Warehouse Club.
The announced location will be PriceSmart’s third in the Dominican Republic. It is currently anticipated that the new PriceSmart Club will open in the fall of 2010.
Big gain for existing home sales
Retailers in the home building space had reason to be optimistic as existing home sales rose 7.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million units for November, according to a report released today by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The figure is 44.1% higher than the 4.54 million-unit pace from November last year and shows existing home sales are at the highest level since February 2007 when they hit 6.55 million.
The NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said that the rise was expected.
“This clearly is a rush of first-time buyers not wanting to miss out on the tax credit, but there are many more potential buyers who can enter the market in the months ahead,” he said. “We expect a temporary sales drop while buying activity ramps up for another surge in the spring when buyers take advantage of the expanded tax credit, which hopefully will take us into a self-sustaining market in the second half of 2010. In all, 4.4 million households are expected to claim the tax credit before it expires and balance should be restored to the housing sector with inventories continuing to decline.”
The NAR also reported the national median existing-home price for all housing types was down 4.3% from November 2008 to $172,600. The price was up slightly over October’s average of $172,200.
The total housing inventory fell 1.3% to 3.52 million existing homes available for sale. That figure represents a 6.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 7-month supply in October. Raw unsold inventory is down 15.5% from last year, representing the lowest supply of homes on the market since April 2006 when it was at 6.1 million.
“Nearly all markets experienced a solid sales gain from one year ago,” Yun said. “The only markets with measurably lower sales were in San Diego, Riverside, and Sacramento, where inventory shortages for lower priced homes are limiting sales.”
Regionally, existing home sales in the Northeast rose 6.6% in November to an annual level of 1.13 million, up 52.7% from last year. Sales in the Midwest rose 8.4% to 1.55 million, up 53.5% from last year. In the South, sales rose 4.8% to 2.39 million, up 44.8 % from last year and the West saw sales up 10.6% to 1.46 million, up 4.1% from November 2008.
Kraft Foods names two new directors
NORTHFIELD, Ill. Kraft Foods announced the appointment of Jean-Francois van Boxmeer and Mackey McDonald to its board of directors. Their terms will begin Jan. 1, 2010. With these additions, Kraft Foods’ board will have 12 directors, 11 of whom are independent.
Van Boxmeer is the chairman of the executive board and CEOof Heineken N.V. McDonald is a senior advisor at Crestview Partners, L.P., and the retired chairman and CEO of VF Corporation.
“Jean-Francois and Mackey will be terrific additions to our board as we continue to build on our position as a global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals,” said Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO. “Jean-Francois is known as a builder of iconic, global brands with a strong track record for driving revenue growth and leading acquisitions and integrations. Mackey brings a deep knowledge of consumer products, retailing, marketing and brand-building, as well as deep experience in leading business transformation.”