SpendingPulse: Specialty apparel and luxury up in July
Purchase, N.Y. — Apparel continued to show gains in July, while housing-related sectors such as electronics, appliances, and furniture remained sluggish, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales. (The data estimates total U.S. retail sales across all payment forms including cash and check.)
In other findings, auto parts and service posted its first decline after five months of growth.
“Sector weaknesses are the result of a variety of drivers,” said Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “The sluggish housing market is reflected in a sixth consecutive month of losses in furniture and furnishings.”
McNamara added that consumers were paying about $1.00 more per gallon of gasoline in July 2011 than they were in the same period a year ago.
“At about 10.9 billion gallons pumped this July, that price increase is redirecting almost $11 billion per month towards gasoline spending and away from other areas of consumer spending, or savings,” he said.
In other SpendingPulse findings:
- Online sales were up 14% over the year-ago period, the 24th straight month of year-over-year growth, and ninth consecutive month of double-digit growth, with improvement in every subcategory except for electronics. The 14% year-over-year growth for the overall category was the smallest increase for e-commerce since February 2011, and is an expected seasonal slowing, the report noted.
- Specialty apparel continued to do well, and was up 6.2% over July 2010. It was slightly better than the year-over-year results for May and June.
- The SpendingPulse Luxury Index (excluding Jewelry) showed particularly robust growth. Up 11.6% year over year, the largest increase since April 2010. The SpendingPulse Luxury category includes luxury sales at high-end restaurants, food stores, department stores and general apparel categories.
Report: Sears names online expert as new CMO
New York City — Sears Holdings Corp has named former FreshDirect executive Monica Woo to be VP and CMO, effective Aug. 15, according to Reuters. The post has been vacant since January 2010.
Woo will be responsible for the overall marketing, brand and advertising programs for Sears, according to the report. She most recently was the chief marketing and strategy officer of online grocer FreshDirect.
CVS Caremark Q1 profit slips 1%
New York City — CVS Caremark said Thursday its profit dipped 1% in the second quarter to $816 million as its pharmacy benefits management business weathered lower prices on contract renewals. Revenue rose 11% to $26.63 billion from $24.01 billion.
Revenue from CVS drugstores increased 3.6% to $14.83 billion. Same-store sales were up 2%, with pharmacy sales up 2.6% and front-end revenue up 0.8%.
CVS opened 41 stores during the second quarter and operated 7,266 retail drugstores at the end of the period.
In other news, MinuteClinic, the walk-in health clinic division of CVS, plans to add 100 new clinics per year for the next five years.