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NRF: July retail sales up 5% over year-ago period

BY Jason Owen

WASHINGTON — July retail sales saw gains in many back-to-school categories like clothing and sporting goods, but surprising declines in home-based categories, including building materials and furniture stores. Still, according to the National Retail Federation, July retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from June and increased 5% unadjusted year-over-year.

"Consumers continue to grind forward in July, marking 13 consecutive months of retail sales gains," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. "However, consumers alone can’t be expected to shoulder the burden of the economy. Fiscal and monetary policy uncertainties combined with stagnant economic and employment conditions continue to breed a volatile market with extreme swings in consumer spending. The economy can’t seem to maintain any amount of momentum. We just can’t seem to pull ourselves up."

July retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, showed that total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories, such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.4% adjusted year-over-year.

"Spending has stalled, and the economy is stuck in neutral," said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. "Even with modest employment gains and steady consumer confidence, Americans remain in a cautiously-positive spending pattern. While clothing and sporting goods retailers saw modest gains with early back-to-school shopping, home-based retailers saw marked decreases, possibly indicating the end of the year-long housing boom. This month’s retail sales report will make any decision on tapering that much harder for policymakers in D.C."

Other findings from the July retail sales report include:

  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales decreased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted yet increased 9.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 0.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales decreased 1.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 5.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.7% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 11.3% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales increased 1.0% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

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Former Campbell Soup exec named EVP sales at Pharmavite

BY Vivian Gomez

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — Pharmavite, a U.S. manufacturer of vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements, announced on Tuesday Timothy Toll as its new EVP sales.

“We are honored to have Mr. Toll join our Pharmavite team, as he has deep and relevant experience delivering impressive growth through strategic business transformation,” said Mark Walsh, COO of Pharmavite. “As a well-rounded, thoughtful and respected business leader, he comes to us with an impressive track record and personal values that make him a terrific fit for our company.”

Toll comes to Pharmavite with nearly 30 years of experience within the consumer packaged goods industry. Most recently, Toll served as global VP of customer strategy for Campbell Soup Co., where he led the sales function for Campbell’s international division, and developed the international sales strategy across 16 markets.

In addition, he was responsible for the joint business plan development for key international markets and global customers, international shopper insights capability, category management, trade spend evaluation, revenue management department design, talent development and emerging market business development focusing on China, Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil.

Prior to his work at Campbell Soup Co., Toll held sales and leadership positions with H.J. Heinz Co. and Proctor & Gamble.

Toll’s strategic priorities will include accelerating the growth of new products in the United States in conjunction with Pharmavite’s parent company, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., and maintaining a continued focus on the financial health and effectiveness of Pharmavite’s overall business.

Pharmavite brands portfolio includes Nature Made, Voots Veggie Fruit Tarts and SoyJoy brand names. Based in Northridge, Calif., Pharmavite operates as a subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.


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Walgreens reports increase in July sales

BY Antoinette Alexander

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens posted an 8% boost in July sales as comp-store sales also enjoyed an increase for the month.

July sales totaled $6.03 billion, an increase of 8% from $5.59 billion for the same month in fiscal 2012. Sales in comparable stores increased by 6.3% in July. Calendar day shifts positively impacted total comparable sales by 1.4 percentage points, while generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 1.8 percentage points.

Total front-end sales increased 3.6% compared with the same month in fiscal 2012, while comparable store front-end sales increased 2.3%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 1.2% while basket size increased 3.5%.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 9.5% in July and increased 7.3% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. This year’s July had one additional Wednesday and one fewer Sunday compared with July 2012. These calendar shifts positively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 2.2 percentage points. The company noted that the percentage of Express Scripts prescriptions returning to its pharmacies continued to increase in July.

July pharmacy sales increased by 9.9%, while comparable store pharmacy sales increased 8.8% and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 6.6%. Calendar day shifts positively impacted pharmacy sales in comparable stores by 2.2 percentage points. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 2.8 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months. Pharmacy sales accounted for 64.6% of total sales for the month.

The pharmacy retailer also stated that registrations for Walgreens Balance Rewards loyalty program, which launched in September 2012, totaled 79 million through July.

Calendar 2013 sales to date were $42.02 billion, an increase of 3.4% from $40.64 billion in 2012.

Fiscal 2013 year-to-date sales for the first 11 months were $66.05 billion, up 0.4% from $65.79 billion in the comparable period in fiscal 2012.

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