Friday, April 26, 2019

Best Retail Sales Since 2017

The Best Retail Sales Since 2017 Brighten US Growth Outlook

With first-quarter gross domestic product figures due April 26, the surprisingly strong retail report spurred economists to further increase projections.   
By Reade Pickert | April 19, 2019

Photo by Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) Retail sales in the U.S. jumped by the most since September 2017 and first-time filings for unemployment benefits dropped to a fresh 49-year low, as a strong labor market gives American consumers the wherewithal to keep the economy chugging along.

The value of overall sales in March rose 1.6 percent, boosted by gains in motor vehicles and gasoline stations, after an unrevised 0.2 percent decrease the prior month, according to Commerce Department figures released Thursday. That exceeded all forecasts in Bloomberg’s survey calling for a 1 percent gain.

A Labor Department report released at the same time showed initial jobless claims fell last week to 192,000, the lowest since September 1969. Economists had projected an increase.

“The labor market is alive and well,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC. Income gains support consumer spending and “as long as the labor market is doing well there is good reason to expect consumer spending should do fine.”

With first-quarter gross domestic product figures due April 26, the surprisingly strong retail report spurred economists to further increase projections. Analysts raised economic growth forecasts for the period Wednesday after a report showing the trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in February. The economy had showed signs of slowing heading into 2019, before the U.S. central bank put rate hikes on indefinite hold and a government shutdown clouded the outlook.

(To read the rest of the article, go to  Link to Full Article )

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Outlandish Story Of Ollie’s

A $5 Billion Retail Empire That Sells Nothing Online (But Is Beating Amazon)

Abram Brown, Forbes Magazine                                                                                                            Photo by Harry Fellows
April 1, 2019

Ollie’s is very possibly the only company in America whose brick-and-mortar stores are not just surviving but thriving. It focuses exclusively on traditional retailing, selling not a thing online. Read that again: nothing sold online.

Nonetheless, Ollie’s sales have doubled in four years. It moves more than $1 billion a year of low-priced goods from its large (30,000 square feet or so), no-frills stores like the one in Sterling. Profits are at a high, nearly $130 million.

Abram Brown's article in this month's Forbes Magazine retails the success story that is Ollie's, in an era when retailers are retrenching and retooling their market strategies. Retail companies announced 3,400 store closures last year, with plans to shutter a record 155 million square feet of shops. Those numbers will skyrocket in 2019: Retailers announced 4,300 store closures in just the first nine weeks of the year.

As Abram's points out, Ollie’s is the exception to the rule. Not only is it opening new locations, shares in Ollie’s have quintupled since its IPO in 2015. And every Ollie’s store has been profitable within a year of opening.

To read more about how Ollie's is thriving in today's competitive marketplace, click here to read the full article...