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Retail sales spring to life in March

BY Vivian Gomez

WASHINGTON — Warmer spring weather spurred continued consumer spending and activity this March. According to the National Retail Federation, March retail sales — which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants — increased 0.8% adjusted month-to-month and 1.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

“Consumers shed their winter coats last month for fresh, spring merchandise,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retail sales increased in most categories and sectors as consumers took to stores to purchase new spring attire and home furnishings in hopeful expectation of warmer weather. Sales should continue to remain positive this spring with the approach of Easter and expected tax refunds.”

Earlier this month, NRF’s Easter Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics reported that the average American consumer will spend $137.46 this Easter holiday on clothing, candy, gifts and more, with total spending reaching $15.9 billion.

March retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 1.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month ($433.9 billion). The Census also reported that retail sales increased 3.8% adjusted year-over-year.

“Improving economic conditions and consumer confidence should push consumers to return to spending habits this spring,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Consumers released some pent-up demand in March after two consecutive months of harsh winter weather that not only hampered employment opportunities, but also retail sales. We remain optimistic that retail sales will continue their positive march this spring.”

Additional findings from NRF’s retail sales report include:

  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 1.8% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 6.2% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 1.0% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month, yet decreased 2.3% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 1.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 1% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 1.9% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, yet decreased 0.2% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4% unadjusted year-over-year’
  • Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 1.7% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8% unadjusted year-over-year; and
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month, yet decreased 5.5% unadjusted year-over-year.

 

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Air Wick announces park-inspired scents

BY Ryan Chavis

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Air Wick’s partnership with the National Park Foundation continues with the return of the limited-edition spring collection, which celebrates the nation’s parks.

The collection’s four limited-edition scents inspired by celebrate parks like the Channel Islands, Yosemite, Biscayne and Gulf Islands. The scents were crafted by fragrance experts who spent time creating notes that were representative of the fruits and plants found in America’s national parks.

  • Channel Islands is inspired by the coastal waters and the rare silver lotus blossom of the Channel Islands, and is accented by soft touches of cedar wood, green moss and floral notes for a light scent;
  • Yosemite is inspired by the Yosemite waterfalls and features notes of wild strawberries fused with mists of mountain rain;
  • Gulf Islands evokes white sand beaches and seashores, thanks to its fragrant scent; and
  • Biscayne includes notes of citrus paired with wild orchids to create a bright scent reminiscent of Florida’s Biscayne.

"We’re so excited to bring the essence of Channels Islands to life in our new fragrance from the Pacific coast," said Domenick Tiziano, senior brand manager of Reckitt Benckiser. "Our new line of fragrances allow consumers to experience the one-of-a-kind scents inspired by a variety of parks, and we’re proud to partner again with the National Park Foundation to preserve and protect these treasures."

Air Wick’s line also includes signature everyday scents like American Samoa, Great Smoky Mountains, Virgin Islands and Hawaii. The full range of products is available in stores now and retails from $0.97 to $9.97.

 

 

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CRN: Dietary supplement use by U.S. adults more prevalent than indicated by NHNES

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Dietary supplement use by U.S. adults is more prevalent than indicated by published data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, according to a new article in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The review article is based on five consecutive years of online market research studies, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

According to Annette Dickinson, corresponding author and a consultant for CRN, “This new review adds to the literature about usage patterns of dietary supplement users. The NHANES data is, of course, invaluable, but it only asks respondents about their dietary supplement usage over a 30-day period. The CRN/Ipsos data included regular, occasional and seasonal use throughout the year, which more realistically captures the full scope of dietary supplement utilization.”

The review article noted that overall supplement use as reported by respondents to the CRN surveys in 2007–2011 ranged from 64% to 69%. “Regular” use of dietary supplements ranged from 48% to 53% — levels equivalent to the overall prevalence reported in NHANES. 

The CRN surveys asked regular users whether they used a variety of products or only a multivitamin. Over the five-year period, the percentage of regular users who reported they used a variety of supplements increased, while the percentage that said they used only a multivitamin declined. By 2011, the last of the five years, twice as many regular users said they used a variety of products, compared to those who used only a multivitamin. The primary reasons given for using dietary supplements were “overall health and wellness” and “to fill nutrient gaps in the diet.” 

In agreement with other research cited in a recent review, the CRN surveys documented the fact that users of dietary supplements are more likely than non-users to adopt a variety of healthy habits.

“What the data tells us,” stated Judy Blatman, SVP communications for CRN and one of the study’s co-authors, “is that dietary supplement usage is a mainstream practice, and, contrary to some assertions, supplement users do not use these products as a license to slack off on eating right or exercising, but instead are health-conscious individuals trying to do all the right things to be healthy. They are more likely than non-users to try to eat a balanced diet, visit their doctor regularly, get a good night’s sleep, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.”  

The CRN data and NHANES data both indicate that half to two-thirds of American adults use dietary supplements and that their motivation comes from a desire to stay healthy, Blatman said. "The evidence suggests that supplement use is viewed as one component of an overall wellness strategy.”

 

 

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