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NRF shares findings from February sales report

BY Vivian Gomez

WASHINGTON — Many retailers have pointed to a persistent and severe winter for weak holiday and fourth-quarter sales. But according to the National Retail Federation, retail sales rebounded in February.

The NRF said that February retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.2% adjusted month-to-month and 2.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

“Today’s positive retail sales report indicates that the economy is primed for growth,” said president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers and consumers endured the harsh winter and they’re hoping both the natural and man-made obstacles to growth will leave with the snow.”

Shay went on to say that retailers are facing “serious” headwinds placed on them by policymakers in Washington who are pushing for new overtime mandates and a higher minimum wage. According to Shay, for the economy to fully recover, the administration and Congress need to “quit politicking and focus on growth and job creation.”

“Despite a long and cold winter, consumers continued to persevere and spend in February,” added chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “This month’s retail sales data is encouraging and above expectations. However neither the jobs nor retail data reflect the fundamental health of the economy. While the weather continues to play tricks on economic forecasts and figures, we expect much-needed clarity come spring as consumers release pent-up demand.”

Additional NRF findings from the February retail sales report include the following:

  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores sales increased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 3.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and remained unchanged unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores sales decreased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 0.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores sales increased 1.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Nonstore retailers sales increased 1.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 6.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales increased 2.5% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

 

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Target to celebrate its first from-the-ground-up build in Toronto

BY Antoinette Alexander

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Target is celebrating on March 14 the official grand opening of its Toronto Stockyards store. This is its first from-the-ground-up build in Toronto, which marks a major milestone for the retailer as it continues its expansion across the country through 2014.

“This Stockyards location was built from the ground up, providing us with the opportunity to build a prototypical Target store in terms of design and layout,” said Tony Fisher, president, Target Canada.  “We look forward to celebrating the grand opening of this brand new store, which further reinforces our continued investment in the Canadian market and our commitment to bringing the Target brand experience to guests across the country.”

Two other Target store locations, including a store at Kingsway Mall in Edmonton, Alberta and one at Hillside Centre in Victoria, B.C., will also be hosting grand opening celebrations on March 14.

The stores will feature a licensed Starbucks, as well as in-store pharmacies.
 

 

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Study examines azithromycin, levofloxacin use and risks of cardiac arrhythmia and death

BY Antoinette Alexander

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Using azithromycin and levofloxacin increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmia and death, according to a study of U.S. veterans.

The research was published in the March/April issue of Annals of Family Medicine.

Azithromycin use has been associated with increased risk of death among patients at high baseline risk, but not for younger and middle-aged adults, researchers stated. The Food and Drug Administration issued a public warning on azithromycin, including a statement that the risks were similar for levofloxacin. This prompted researchers to conduct a study among U.S. veterans to test the hypothesis that taking azithromycin or levofloxacin would increase the risk of cardiovascular death and cardiac arrhythmia compared with those taking amoxicillin.

Researchers studied a cohort of U.S. veterans (mean age 56.8 years) who received an exclusive outpatient dispensation of either amoxicillin, azithromycin or levofloxacin at the Department of Veterans Affairs between September 1999 and April 2012. Azithromycin was dispensed mostly for five days, whereas amoxicillin and levofloxacin were dispensed mostly for at least 10 days.

According to researchers, they found that, compared with amoxicillin, azithromycin resulted in a statistically significant increase in mortality and arrhythmia risks on days one to five, but not six to 10. Levofloxacin, which was predominantly dispensed for a minimum of 10 days, resulted in an increased risk throughout the 10-day period.

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