NRF: April sales figures ‘weaker than anticipated’
WASHINGTON — Retail sales rose ever so slightly in April, putting a damper on hopes of a sharp uptick in economic growth in the second quarter. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, retail sales — which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants — rose 0.1% in April, following a revised 1.5% increase in March that ranked as the biggest since March 2010.
According to the National Retail Federation, April retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were unchanged seasonally-adjusted month-to-month, yet increased 4.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
“Even though retail sales were weaker than anticipated, the fundamentals of the economy, including improving job growth and income gains, remain positive,” said chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “While the shift in Easter played into the seasonal figures, NRF remains optimistic that retail sales will keep their positive trajectory, albeit in fits-and-starts, in the second quarter.”
Additional findings from NRF’s retail sales analysis include:
• Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year;
• Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 1.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.2% unadjusted year-over-year;
• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 2.3% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 1.8% unadjusted year-over-year;
• Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.6% unadjusted year-over-year;
• General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year;
• Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 6.6% unadjusted year-over-year;
• Nonstore retailers’ sales decreased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 5.8% unadjusted year-over-year; and
• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.7% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 0.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
“The shift in Easter to April did not provide enough bounce to retailers as retail sales struggled to keep their strong spring pace,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With consumer spending accounting for roughly 70% of total economic activity, NRF remains hopeful that the uninspiring April retail sales figures are just a temporary seasonal fluctuation.”
CVS Caremark, American Lung Association partner to fight lung cancer in women
NEW YORK CITY — In a move that is squarely in line with CVS Caremark’s continued commitment to healthy living and its bold move to pull tobacco products from its stores, the pharmacy retailer has signed on as the national presenting sponsor of Lung Force, a national public heath initiative to fight lung cancer in women.
On Tuesday, CVS Caremark teamed up with American Lung Association to unveil Lung Force to make lung cancer in women a public health priority, drive policy change and increase research funding.
“On Feb. 5, we made a very big announcement that we were going to get rid of all tobacco products across our 7,600 CVS pharmacy stores. We are so proud to be the first national pharmacy chain to make this move and I can’t tell you how much it has unleashed an emotion. … Our purpose is helping people on their path to better health. So, as we thought about this decision and we thought about this purpose, clearly the sales of cigarettes was quite inconsistent with that purpose,” Helena Foulkes, president of CVS/pharmacy, told attendees at the launch event Tuesday in New York City.
Foulkes added, “Now, we are focused on what we can do to help people live tobacco-free lives [and] raising awareness about tobacco-related illnesses and that is why we are so proud to be the presenting sponsor for American Lung Association’s Lung Force.”
She noted that about 5 million people shop CVS/pharmacy stores each day and 80% of them are women.
As the sponsor of the Lung Force, CVS/pharmacy will be working to spread the word of the women-focused initiative and will launch an in-store fundraising effort that will run from June 1 to June 29, giving shoppers the opportunity to donate to Lung Force.
“For us, the exciting part of this being involved in a fundraising efforts that can really make a difference because you have to believe that five or 10 years from now we will be making great strides in medicine. And the other part of it that I’ve learned is just how much more we can all do to educate women and essentially get many more people screened for lung cancer,” Foulkes told Drug Store News after the launch event.
In the coming weeks, CVS/pharmacy will work to further awareness of lung cancer in women through the unveiling of patient education programs and social media efforts.
With regard to MinuteClinic and the role that it can play in the initiative, Foulkes told Drug Store News, “It will be a very big part of our smoking cessation efforts because a nurse practitioner can take someone through a series of questions. And part of it too is the ongoing counseling that you can get. The most effective way that someone really quits smoking is they have face-to-face counseling combined with some form of a product, either pharmacy or over-the-counter along with other tools that allow them to remind themselves why they are quitting. If you can marry all of those forces you can really be much more effective in helping people stop smoking. So pharmacists and nurses play a big role in that.”
As previously reported by Drug Store News, CVS/pharmacy will launch a robust national smoking cessation program, which is slated to debut this fall.
Also attending Tuesday’s launch event was actress Valerie Harper, who was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in 2009, and country music star Kellie Pickler, who lost her grandmother to lung cancer just one day after she was diagnosed.
As part of the launch of Lung Force and the inaugural Lung Force Turquoise Takeover during National Women’s Lung Health Week (May 11 to 17), more than 90 landmarks, including Niagara Falls, will turn turquoise in support of the women’s lung health movement. At the same time, government officials will issue more than 50 proclamations.
Despite being the No. 1 cancer killer of women, the Lung Association’s inaugural Women’s Lung Health Barometer, a survey of more than 1,000 American adult women, found that only 1% cited lung cancer as a cancer that is top-of-mind for them. More than 108,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and, on average, less than half will be alive next year.
Meijer opens two new supercenters in Indianapolis suburbs
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer opened two new 190,000-sq.-ft. supercenters outside of Indianapolis on Tuesday, Meijer co-chairman Doug Meijer announced.
"Indianapolis is a very important growth area for us, and our new stores reinforce our commitment to serving the needs of families with great solutions to everyday needs,” Meijer said. “We’re excited to bring the Meijer difference to our new neighbors in Plainfield, Whitestown and their surrounding communities.”
In addition to the retailer’s traditional grocery and merchandise offerings, garden center and 24-hour gas station, the new Plainfield and Whitestown Meijer stores also feature full-service pharmacies. These pharmacies will provide free select prescriptions, as well as clinical services and immunizations designed to promote family health, Meijer stated. The Meijer free prescription program includes oral generic antibiotics with a special focus on prescriptions most often filled for children, as well as prenatal vitamins and medications for those with diabetes and high cholesterol.
Since its inception in 2006, the Meijer free prescription program has filled more than 19 million free prescriptions, saving Meijer customers more than $276 million, the grocer reported.