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NRF: August retail sales disappoint with tepid 0.1% increase from July

BY Marianne Wilson

WASHINGTON — According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales increased in the month of August, but came in at a much slower pace than had been anticipated.

According to data released Friday by the U.S. Census Bureau, total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) in August increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7% adjusted year-over-year.

“Retail sales gains continue to be tepid,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Retail sales and employment, while measurably positive, have been disappointing over the last few months, and have been difficult to reconcile with consumer confidence. The data suggests that consumers remain cautious with their pocketbooks and purchases.”

Other findings from the August retail sales report include:

  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales decreased 0.9% seasonally adjusted yet increased 5.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales decreased 0.8% seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.0% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.8% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 0.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Non-store retailers’ sales increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 8.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales decreased 0.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

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Omron offering activity rewards through Earndit

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Omron on Friday announced it is partnering with Earndit to offer users of its Omron Activity Monitor and Weight Loss Tracker rewards for being active. 

Users link their Omron Fitness account to Earndit, and track their activity to earn points that can be redeemed for prizes or charity donations. 

The company is also hosting a Twitter party to help promote the offer Sept. 2 at 9 p.m. EST by using the hashtag #fitwithOmron.


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Whole Foods to open store in low-income Chicago neighborhood

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO — Better known as an upmarket grocer, Whole Foods Market is opening a store in a low-income neighborhood in Chicago, the retailer said. The opening, slated for 2016, is part of a broader effort by mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration to reduce the city’s "food desert" problem.

The 18,000-sq. ft. store will open in the neighborhood of Englewood, serving it and the South Side neighborhood. The new store is part of Emanuel’s economic development and food access programs, meant to expand access to healthy and fresh food to underserved neighborhoods in the city, which have in recent years suffered from the problem of food deserts. The program also includes efforts to develop the areas surrounding the new store, part of a 13-acre development near Kennedy King Community College.

"I have worked with Whole Foods Market for the last year and a half to invest in one of our oldest neighborhoods, and address a pressing need for fresh, healthy food, and I’m proud to announce this wonderful new facility that will help meet this need while creating a strong economic anchor in this community," Emanuel said. "I am completely committed to ensuring that all Chicagoans have access to fresh, quality and affordable food in their neighborhoods. This store will not only provide these important resources, but it will also create jobs and spur economic growth — a true win-win."

Englewood is one of seven neighborhoods that are part of Emanuel’s Chicago Neighborhoods Now program, and there are more than $363 million in public and private investments in store for the neighborhood. When the store opens, 2,648 more residents of Englewood will be within a mile of a grocery store, translating into a 3.3% reduction in the total residents living in low-income areas who are more than a mile from a large grocery store. Whole Foods already operates 18 stores in Chicago, with three under development.

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