Report: Consumer Confidence Plummets
New York City Reuters and the University of Michigan on Friday released the preliminary results of their survey of consumers for the month of October, showing that the consumer sentiment index fell by more than economists had been expecting.
The consumer sentiment index fell to 57.5 in October from a reading of 70.3 in September, according to the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers index. Economists had been expecting a more modest decrease by the index to a reading of about 65.0. With the decrease, which marked the biggest monthly drop on record, the consumer sentiment index fell to its lowest level since June.
According to the University of Michigan, there have been only four surveys that posted monthly declines of 10 index points or more.
The bigger-than-expected drop in consumer sentiment reflected a deterioration in both consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their expectations for the future.
Separately Friday, the Commerce Department reported that construction of new homes dwindled to the second-lowest level in 50 years last month, as home builders sought to reduce the number of unsold inventories in an elusive quest to find the bottom of the housing collapse.
Linens ‘N Things
NORTHBROOK, Ill. The remaining 371 Linens ‘N Things stores will begin closing their doors on Oct. 17. In conjunction with the closings, the stores will be selling off items at up to 30% off their regular price. The store closing sale is being conducted by a joint venture group comprised of Hilco Merchant Resources, Gordon Brothers Group, Hudson Capital, SB Capital Group LLC, Great American Group LLC and Tiger/Nassi Group.
Michael Keefe, president and ceo Hilco Merchant Resources, said, “Consumers will find great values on everything in the store. Many items will be discounted like never before. This sale comes at a perfect time for everyone to enjoy large savings on many of their holiday gift purchases. Consumers who arrive at the start of the sale will certainly have the best selection of products from which to choose. We don’t expect this sale to last very long.”
The end of LNT was in sight earlier this week when no buyer emerged to purchase the struggling housewares chain. An auction was scheduled for interested bidders on Oct. 14, but when no buyers submitted a qualified bid, the auction was canceled, according to court documents.
Steve & Barry’s appoints Kahn new ceo
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. Steve & Barry’s appointed Harold Kahn its ceo, effective immediately. Kahn has worked in the retail business for 35 years, including 10 years as chairman and ceo of Macy’s East division. In 2004, he left to launch a retail consulting business. Prior to that he served as ceo of Abraham and Straus, president of Montgomery Ward and ceo of Macy’s South and Macy’s West. He began his career in the training program at Macy’s in 1970.
“I am thrilled about the opportunity to help lead Steve & Barry’s, a retailer I believe offers a value proposition that’s second to none in the marketplace,” said Kahn. “I’ve been watching the company closely since it began launching amazing celebrity collections with Sarah Jessica Parker, Venus Williams, Amanda Bynes, Laird Hamilton and others. I’m looking forward to helping guide the company to ensure it reaches its full potential.”
Douglas Teitelbaum, managing principal of investment fund Bay Harbour Management, which together with York Capital Management purchased Steve & Barry’s out of bankruptcy this summer, said: “Hiring an extraordinary retail pro to lead Steve & Barry’s was our top priority in the strategic business plan we put together for getting the company on track to meet our profitability goals over the long term. We’re very fortunate that we were able to persuade Hal Kahn, one of the genuine greats in the field, to join the team. I think that’s testament to how big an impact Steve & Barry’s can make in retail over the next several years.”