FINANCE

Retail sales beat expectations to edge up 0.1% in April

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Total retail sales increased 0.1% in April from March, according to figures released Monday by the U.S. Commerce Department. The increase, an improvement from a 0.5% decline in March, beat the 0.3% drop economists had predicted in a Bloomberg survey.

Excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, sales increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted from last month and increased 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.

“Today’s retail sales data is encouraging news,” said NRF chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz. “However positive, retail sales and consumer spending in April may not necessarily translate into a stronger or healthier second quarter. NRF continues to forecast moderate sales growth for the year.”

Other findings from the April retail sales report include:

  • Building material & garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 1.5% seasonally adjusted and increased 7.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 1.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.8% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home-furnishing stores’ sales were flat seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 6.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 1.0% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and decreased 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
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News

Toys ‘R’ Us shakes up its leadership

BY CSA STAFF

Toys “R” Us has made some changes to its executive leadership.

The company has announced that Michael D. Fascitelli and Michael Ward have resigned their spots on the company’s board of directors. Fascitelli has been a director of the board since 2005, while Ward has been a director since 2007.

According to Toys “R” Us, neither Fascitelli’s nor Ward’s resignation was brought on as a result of any disagreement with the company.

As a result of Fascitelli’s departure, the company has appointed Joseph Macnow to its board. Macnow has served as EVP of finance and administration and CFO of Vornado Realty Trust since January 1998. Meanwhile Greg Why has been appointed to the board to fill the spot left vacant by Ward. Why has served as an operating partner at Bain Capital since December 2009. From October 2006 until December 2009, Why served as an EVP at Bain.

Additionally, the board filled two vacancies with its appointments of Adam Waglay and Dan Guglielmone. Waglay has served as a principal at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. since July 2010. From July 2007 to July 2010, Waglay served as an associate at KKR. Guglielmone has served as SVP of Vornado since September 2003.

Antonio Urcelay has been appointed interim CEO of the company. Urcelay will also continue to serve in his current role as the president of Europe, which he has held since July 2010. Prior to this, he served as president of Continental Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain and Portugal) from August 2004 to July 2010. He replaces Gerald L. Storch, who will no longer serve as the company’s CEO, but who will continue to serve as chairman of the board.

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REAL ESTATE

Dillard’s to anchor Fremaux Town Center second phase

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Slidell, La. — Dillard’s will anchor the fashion-oriented Phase II of Fremaux Town Center in Slidell, La., according to co-developers CBL & Associates Properties, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Stirling Properties out of Covington, La. Phase I of the project is currently under construction with approximately 330,000 sq. ft. anchored by Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Michael’s, T.J. Maxx, and Best Buy. Phase II will include up to 320,000 sq. ft. of additional retail space.

The grand opening for Phase I is scheduled for March 2014, with construction on Phase II set to begin around that same time with an opening in spring 2015.

“The traction we are receiving from retailers for both phases is a testament to the strength of the market and its increasing demand for retail,” said Michael Lebovitz, executive VP development and administration, CBL.

“Fremaux Town Center has tremendous momentum at this stage,” added Townsend Underhill, Stirling Properties’ senior VP development.

Dillard’s will open a single-level, 126,000-sq.-ft. store featuring the retailer’s latest advances in store design and presentation. “We enjoy a strong relationship with our Slidell area customers and we are looking forward to serving them at an even higher level,” said William Dillard II, CEO, Dillard’s.

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