Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Confidence falls in July

NEW YORK - The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index slipped from 106.2 in June to 103.2 for July.

"This month's decline in consumer confidence is no cause for alarm," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "The overall state of the economy remains healthy, and consumers outlook suggests no storm clouds on the short-term horizon."

Luxury Pillows

The Present Situation Index decreased to 118.5 from 120.8, and the Expectations Index declined to 93 from 96.4.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Central Textiles implementing software

NEW YORK - Central Textiles (Hong Kong) Ltd. plans to implement Cotton Incorporated's suite of software called the Engineered Fiber Selection (EFS) Cotton Fiber Management System in August, becoming the first licensee in Hong Kong and China.

Arlee enters new categories

NEW YORK - Arlee Home Fashions is bringing its customers two new product categories at the August unofficial Mini-Market next week.

Pet beds and outdoor cushions and pads are being developed and about 95 percent of the lines will be ready for preview next month, said Bud Frankel, CEO.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Feizy Rugs takes space in Vegas

DALLAS - Feizy Rugs plans to open a permanent showroom in the Las Vegas World Market Center in 2007.

"...we feel that Las Vegas will give us new footing in the western part of the nation," said owner John Feizy. "We expect Las Vegas to become as important a market to Feizy as Atlanta and High Point."

Luxury Bedding

In the past, Feizy's focus had been mainly on merchandising centers in the eastern United States, according to the company.

Retail strong in June

WASHINGTON - Retail industry sales for June (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 7.5 percent unadjusted over last year and increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from May, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores rose 0.9 percent adjusted from the previous month and 4 percent over last year. Building materials and garden equipment and supplies dealers continued to see year-over-year growth with sales climbing 9.1 percent unadjusted over last June and rising 0.2 percent from May.

Growth was also seen in several other retail categories in June, including clothing and clothing accessories stores, which rose 1 percent adjusted from the previous month and climbed 9.3 percent unadjusted over last year. General merchandise stores, including department stores, also saw gains, with sales increasing 1.2 percent from May and rising 9.8 percent unadjusted over last June.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

May shareholders approve Federated merger

NEW YORK - May Department Store Company shareholders have approved the proposed merger with Federated Department Stores, Inc., according to May Chairman, President and CEO John Dunham, who relayed the news at the end of the company's brief annual meeting in New York this morning.

Before announcing the results, Dunham endorsed the merger, saying that the new company would be in a stronger position to deal with a broad range of competitors than either department store company would be on its own.

"Federated and May together will have the strength, presence, and economies of scale to succeed," he said, noting that the new entity will be a $30 billion organization, with stores in 49 states. "We will also be able to eliminate redundancies and implement the best practices of each company."

The new company, he continued, will be able to improve assortments and merchandising, expand proprietary offerings and customer loyalty programs and launch a national bridal gift registry.

Responding to an audience question, however, Dunham made it clear that Federated was in the driver's seat. That company, he said, would determine the fate of overlapping corporate executives, though no layoffs will take place before March 1 of next year.

Federated will also determine the fate of the Lord & Taylor store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, stated Dunham - a decision that has yet to be made.

According to the merger agreement, each share of May common stock will be converted into the right to receive $17.75 per share of cash and 0.3115 shares of Federated stock.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

No surprise: Wal-Mart leads retail ranking

WASHINGTON - Wal-Mart topped the list of the largest retailers with 2004 sales of $288.2 billion, according to the 2005 Triversity Top 100 Retailers ranking, released by Stores Magazine - the monthly magazine of the National Retail Federation.

Those purveying home textiles, among a litany of other items, peppered the list, with Target (number five at $46.8 billion), Sears (number nine at $36.1 billion), Kmart (number 14 at $19.7 billion) and JCPenney (number 16 at $18.4 billion) all landing within the top 20.

The two main specialty stores focused on home landed in the top 100, with Bed Bath & Beyond reaching number 48 at $5.1 billion in sales and Linens 'n Things making the cut at 82 with $2.7 billion.

Home improvement centers scored two of the top 10 slots - Home Depot coming in at number two with $73.1 billion in sales and Lowe's reaching number eight with $36.5 billion.