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September retail sales jump 1.1%, beating forecasts

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

NEW YORK — U.S. retail sales in September grew at their fastest pace in six months, beating forecasts and rising 1.1%, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Excluding the auto sector, sales rose 0.6%, also better than expected. The increase gave retailers renewed hope for the upcoming holiday season.

The Commerce Department also reported that sales for August, which originally were reported as unchanged, were revised up to a 0.3% increase.

“Consumers remain relatively resilient,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pa., in a Bloomberg report. “It’s evident they don’t want to cut back on spending. It’s going to be a decent but not spectacular holiday shopping season.”

The September increase came amid higher purchases of autos, clothing and home furnishings. Ten-of-13 major categories showed increases last month. Apparel sales rose 1.3%, the largest increase in seven months. Sales of home furnishings also were strong, up 1.1%. Purchases at automobile dealers climbed 3.6%, the most since March 2010.

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Target announces departure of Target.com president

BY Mike Troy

MINNEAPOLIS  — Target announced that Steve Eastman, president of Target.com, left the retailer to pursue other opportunities. Eastman’s departure follows a late August relaunch of Target.com.

The relaunch process did not go smoothly as Target brought its online operations in-house after a lengthy relationship with Amazon.com. Target’s goal was to reinvent the online environment and create a user-friendly and reliable experience, but that proved not to be the case initially as critics panned the site design and there were difficulties with functionality.

Target involved 20 technology partners in the two-year development process.

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P&G, Firehouse Subs partner in support of national Fire Safety month

BY Rozanne Gelbinovich

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble Professional, the away-from-home division of P&G, on Thursday announced a partnership with Firehouse Subs in support of national Fire Safety month.

Consumers who buy a $5 medallion at any of Firehouse Subs’ 453 restaurants will receive a Duracell 9-volt battery for their home smoke detector. Smoke alarms can become desensitized over time, and the goal of the partnership is to encourage consumers to replace their current smoke alarm battery with a new Duracell 9-volt battery. All proceeds raised through purchases of medallions will go toward the equipment, education and funding of public safety entities through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

"We’re pleased to partner with Firehouse Subs to help shine a light on the need for fire prevention while simultaneously offering consumers with a simple solution — a 9-volt Duracell battery — for home fire safety," said Eric Hetrick, P&G Professional North America commercial director. "This partnership is one example of P&G Professional’s ongoing commitment to work closely with our customers to help improve their business, and the lives of their employees and customers."

Robin Peters, executive director of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, added, "We are fired up for Fire Safety Month and want to raise awareness, as well as funds, for deserving first responders. Through donations raised in our restaurants, we have given more than $3.1 million in lifesaving equipment to fire departments, police departments and EMS across the country. We hope to raise a record amount this October, and are thrilled to partner with P&G Professional in distributing Duracell 9-volt batteries for use in home smoke detectors to further help the life-saving efforts of first responders."

For more information, visit FirehouseSubs.com, Facebook.com/FirehouseSubs or Twitter at @firehousesubs.

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