Spring off to good start as March retail sales increase
WASHINGTON — An earlier Easter holiday and unseasonably warmer weather prompted U.S. retail sales to steadily climb in March, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday.
U.S. retail and food services sales for March, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $411.1 billion, an increase of 0.8% from the previous month and 6.5% above the year-ago period. Retail trade sales were up 0.8% from last month and 6.5% above last year.
Looking across retail categories, adjusted sales at grocery stores increased about 0.4% to roughly $46.8 billion. Health and personal care stores saw a slight decline to nearly $23.2 billion. Retail sales for drug stores and pharmacies were not recorded; however, sales experienced a slight drop from January to February (about $19.2 billion).
Commenting on the results, the National Retail Federation said consumers are continuing to "hold their own," although it’s too soon to tell if the spring shopping season is a successful one.
"Consumers have demonstrated the desire and ability to spend on discretionary items, further helping to spur economic and retail sales growth in the first quarter of 2012," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "While retailers will wait until the end of April to gauge the success of the spring shopping season, it’s evident that consumers are holding their own against rising gas prices and other economic concerns."
Emerson Group taps former Lansinoh executive to lead consulting group
WAYNE, Pa. — The Emerson Group has appointed a leader for its newly created consulting group.
The marketing and sales management company said that Diane Manwaring will serve as president of the Emerson Consulting Group, which will offer such services as strategic planning, due diligence, category assessments and feasibility studies to clients.
Manwaring brings more than 35 years of experience in the over-the-counter/health, beauty and consumables and baby categories to her new role. Prior to joining Emerson, she most recently served as president of Lansinoh Labs’ North America division.
Manwaring will report to Scott Emerson, Emerson Group CEO and president of Emerson Healthcare and Emerson Marketing.
Walmart board searches for right fit with Google exec
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced that Google’s VP local and maps Marissa Mayer will be up for election to the board at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on June 1. If elected, Mayer would become the 16th member of the board.
"At Walmart, we are focused on giving our millions of customers around the globe ‘anytime anywhere’ access whether it is through a mobile device, online or in a physical store," Walmart chairman Rob Walton said. "We are on the cusp of a massive transformation in the way people shop in our increasingly connected world. Marissa’s insights and expertise in the technology and consumer areas are valuable assets to Walmart as we move forward."
Mayer has served as VP local and maps for Google in Mountain View, Calif., since 2010. She leads the product management and engineering efforts of Google’s local, mobile, and local-based products. Mayer previously served as Google’s VP search products and user experience, beginning in 2005. Mayer began her career with Google in 1999 as its first female engineer and has launched hundreds of products and features during that time.