U.S. retail sales continue to rise through February
WASHINGTON — Retail sales continue to rise for 2012 as the U.S. Census Bureau reported results of February sales on Tuesday.
U.S. retail and food services sales for February, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $407.8 billion, an increase of 1.1% from the previous month and 6.5% above the year-ago period. Retail trade sales were up 1.1% from last month and 6.3% above last year.
Looking across retail categories, adjusted sales at grocery stores increased 0.3% to roughly $52.3 billion. Health and personal care stores held steady at $23.2 billion. Retail sales for drug stores and pharmacies were not recorded; however, sales experienced a slight gain from December to January (about $19.3 billion).
Commenting on the results, the National Retail Federation said that demand is turning wants into needs, which has helped the economy experience an upswing, despite the uncertainty of how gas prices will influence spending in the coming months.
“Though February is typically a month for consumers to stay home and wait for spring, shoppers this year took advantage of mild weather to get a head start on outdoor projects and warm weather apparel,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “While February sales certainly present continued reason for optimism, retailers are paying close attention to rising gasoline prices, which are forcing millions of our customers to spend a significant portion of disposable income filling their gas tanks.”
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Survey: Most tablet owners use mobile devices to shop
LOS ANGELES — A survey released Monday by PriceGrabber said that 77% of consumers who own a tablet computer use either a tablet or a smartphone to shop.
The survey included responses from 1,829 U.S. online shopping consumers, 22% of whom indicated that they own a tablet computer.
When consumers who use their mobile devices for shopping were asked how often they make purchases from their mobile devices, 40% said a couple times a month, 23% said once a week, 20% said a few times a year, and 10% said daily.
"PriceGrabber continues to see a dramatic surge in mobile shopping, with more consumers making purchases from their mobile devices," said Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "With the use of smartphones and tablet computers becoming increasingly common, consumers appear to be more readily embracing mobile as a go-to platform for shopping that can be easily accessed anywhere, anytime."
When tablet owners were asked if they had downloaded applications onto their mobile devices, 84% indicated that they had done so. PriceGrabber’s survey found that on average, these consumers currently have 39 apps on their mobile devices, seven of which are shopping-related.
"Consumers are becoming savvier and approaching mobile shopping from every angle by downloading not just one, but a variety of shopping-related apps that can offer them everything from price drops to bar code scanning to coupons," Jones added.
He added that PriceGrabber expects mobile shopping to be game-changing as consumers increasingly enact various strategies to find the best prices and retailers inevitably expand their mobile presence.
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Safeway’s Steve Frisby to lead Seattle division
PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway announced Monday a management change in the retailer’s Seattle division.
The company said Steve Frisby, will assume added responsibility of the division after the exit of the current president, Greg Sparks. Frisby, who joined Safeway in 1972, currently serves as the president of its Portland, Ore., division.
"Taking on this dual role is well suited to Steve’s extensive knowledge of our Northwest markets and his considerable leadership skills," said Safeway chairman, president and CEO Steve Burd. "His demonstrated ability to get results across a variety of competitive environments will serve Safeway’s interest well in the region."