Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside Retail

Inside Retail (May 15th, 2017)

U.S. retail sales increased 0.4 percent to $474.9 million in April from March, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department. Compared to April 2016, U.S. retail sales increased 4.5 percent. E-commerce sales were up 1.4 percent from March and up 11.9 percent from the year prior. “There is no sign that retail spending is slowing down by any significant degree,” said GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders in an email to RetailDive. In specific segments, sales declined in department stores, furniture stores, clothing stores and grocery stores, while sales rose for retailers in electronic and appliances, sporting goods, and health and personal care. – U.S. COMMERCE DEPARTMENT

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Aldi is planning to continue its aggressive pricing strategy to help it compete against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), said CEO Jason Hart. “We have not seen anything like this in the grocery sector in the United States before,” said Scott Mushkin, Wolfe Research managing director. Hart said Aldi, with 1,600 stores in the U.S., has conducted a study that suggests its prices are 21 percent lower than rivals like Wal-Mart, and he plans to maintain that gap with flexible pricing. Aldi will spend about $1.6 billion to expand and remodel 1,300 stores and will open 400 new ones by the end of next year. – REUTERS

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Nordstrom Inc.’s (JWN) first-quarter, same-store sales declined 0.8 percent from a year prior, sending shares down nearly 11 percent in Friday’s session. Nordstrom is among the mall-based retailers struggling amid waning foot traffic as more consumers turn to online shopping and increasingly favor spending on recreation instead of clothes and accessories. The retail giant’s bright spot in recent month is Nordstrom Rack, which offers its products at a discount. Nordstrom’s off-price sales, including Nordstrom Rack and Haute Look, increased 2.3 percent. The Seattle-based retailer said it expects same-store sales to remain mainly flat for the rest of the year. – MARKETWATCH

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

J.C. Penney Inc. Co. (JCP) stock plunged to an all-time low after it reported a widening net loss and declining comparable store sales in the first quarter. “Admittedly we have a lot of work to do,” said CEO Marvin Ellison in an earnings call. Net sales were $2.71 billion, short of the Street view of $2.77 billion as comparable store sales fell 3.5 percent. J.C. Penney said it is seeing improvement in women’s apparel as it revamps its strategy to include a bigger focus on appliance sales and its partnership with Sephora. – THE STREET

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Retailers like Wayfair Inc. and Williams-Sonoma Inc. are about to see more heated competition as Amazon.com Inc. ramps up its investment in the fast-growing furniture niche. The Seattle-based online retail giant is constructing four massive warehouses to better compete in furniture, one of the fastest growing online retail segments. About 15 percent of the furniture business in the U.S. has shifted to online, according to IBSWorld. Amazon has been selling furniture online but now it's broadening its brand selection to include Ashley Furniture, Jonathan Adler and others. The retailer already claims about 17 percent of the market share in broader home-furnishings. – WSJ

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

While U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers are closing at a rapid pace, some European brands are expanding in America. H&M, Primark, Reiss and Zara are among the retailers that are growing their U.S. footprint this year. “We’re not in all the malls we want to be in yet,” said H&M’s head of investor relations, Nils Vinge. The Swedish fast-fashion retailer opened 16 new stores from December to February, bringing the total to 484 H&M stores in the U.S. Zara, a Spain-based fast-fashion chain, opened 10 stores last year and now has 78 stores in the U.S. Meanwhile U.S-based companies are filing for bankruptcy at a rapid clip and have planned an estimated 8,600 locations this year. – WSJ

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Subscribe to Inside Retail