SpendingPulse: August sales strong despite hurricane and Wall Street volatility
Purchase, N.Y. — The apparel, e-commerce, grocery, and luxury segments all showed continued growth in August, as the hardware, restaurant, and automotive repair sectors returned to positive territory, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales.
Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, noted that while some of the growth was helped by easy comparisons with the year-ago period, the results still demonstrated continued consumer spending patterns in spite of the debt debate in Washington, the volatility on Wall Street, or Hurricane Irene.
“Even taken together, these factors have not been able to derail the U.S. consumer,” he said.
McNamara added that while certain sectors of discretionary spending with a heavy concentration on the Eastern seaboard were impacted by Irene, on a national scale, the hurricane did not throw the American consumer off course in August.
“On the east coast, Hurricane Irene primarily impacted the last Saturday of the month. This last Saturday in August typically accounts for about 4% – 4.5 % of the total sales for the month,” he said. “The hurricane also benefitted some sectors such as groceries and building materials. Finally the hurricane may have shifted some discretionary sector sales from August to September.”
The SpendingPulse Back-to-School sales index shows a year-over-year increase of 3.0% compared with the July-August time period in 2010. This index aggregates the sales performance for children’s apparel, family apparel, department stores, office supplies and drug stores. The 3.0% increase is the largest year-over-year increase since 2006 when sales increased by 6.2%.
Walmart U.S. CEO rallies veterans to lead ‘American Renewal’
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon addressed attendees at the American Legion’s 93rd National Convention on Wednesday, telling fellow Americans, veterans and Legionnaires that Walmart would create jobs in the U.S. by hiring more than 15,000 people to work in about 100 new and expanded Walmart stores by fiscal year’s end.
Simon also said the world’s largest retailer would support military veterans by doubling the company’s commitment for veterans programs to $20 million over five years, and would set a national agenda to get the economy back on track.
Simon, who served 25 years in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves, reminded the audience that veterans have helped lead economic growth in the past and can do so again. “Everyone is hoping the cavalry will ride in and save the day,” he said. “But you don’t need to wait for that.”
Simon reminded attendees that Walmart is a big military supporter, and its Military Family Promise program guarantees a job at a nearby store or club for all military personnel, and military spouses, employed at Walmart or Sam’s Club who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the U.S. military.
Simon also addressed the national agenda, outlining key steps the country’s government leaders should take to help get the economy back on track, including taking care of veterans upon their return home, promoting American exports and passing free trade agreements that are ready, passing a comprehensive reform of the corporate tax code to broaden the tax base and lower the overall tax rate, and working together to bring back American manufacturing.
Hot Topic appoints two executives: CIO, and senior VP planning and allocation
City of Industry, Calif. — Hot Topic announced that two new executives have joined the company, Don Hendricks as CIO and Jeff Allison as senior VP planning and allocation.
Hendricks, who will lead all information technology for Hot Topic, most recently served as CIO at Gymboree Corp.
Allison, will lead the merchandise planning and allocation teams for both the Hot Topic and Torrid brands, most recently served as senior VP planning and allocation for Chico’s FAS.