Back-to-school boosts mass merchants’ August sales
Retailers reporting monthly sales for August were lifted by back-to-school shopping and posted a 2.9 percent gain year-over-year on a comparable-store basis, a according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
The performance was an improvement from the ICSC’s July tally — a 2.6 percent year-over-year increase.
“In August, sales picked-up a tad, but clearly the economic environment remains challenging for retailers,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “With continuing housing market problems, consumer spending trends will likely remain subdued in the foreseeable future,” Niemira added.
Wal-Mart Stores comp-store sales increased 3.0 percent in August, as rival Target posted a 6.1 percent gain.
Canadian Tire to delve further into financial services
Canadian Tire has announced the launch of its “One-and-Only” combined checking, savings and mortgage account for homeowners. The new product will allow users to fold all three into one financial product, according to the company.
The goal is to allow consumers to pay off debts faster, the company said, while consumers who open the account also will be able to earn bonus Candian Tire “money” for purchase of goods at the home improvement and automotive products retailer.
“We know from our consumer and market research that as the size of the average mortgage continues to grow, so does every Canadian’s desire to pay off that debt as quickly as possible,” said Marco Marrone, president of Canadian Tire Financial Services.
Canadian Tire jointly launched the Web site mortgageinyourway.com, to show consumers where and how they can save money with the One-and-Only account. The site includes a tool to help see how consumers can pay off their mortgages quicker, called the “Mortgage-Free Faster Tool.”
Canadian Tire operates more than 1,100 stores and gas stations in Canada. The company offers other financial services, including its “Canadian Tire Options MasterCard” and the Canadian Tire Auto Club, which offers emergency roadside assistance services.
Home Depot completes tender offer
Home Depot has reported the preliminary results of its tender offer, which closed on Aug. 31 with the repurchase of 289.6 million shares at a price of $37 per share. Excluding fees and expenses, the stock buyback will cost approximately $10.7 billion.
Most of the money — about $8 billion — will come from the proceeds of the sale of HD Supply, according to spokeswoman Paula Drake. Another $2.7 billion will be paid in cash, she said.
Originally, Home Depot announced it wanted to spend $22.5 billion on its recapitalization plan, offering $39 to $44 per share. But the company cut its offer price in mid-August to $37 to $42.
Drake said the company will continue buying back shares but gave no specific timeline for doing so. The 290 million shares being repurchased in the tender offer represent approximately 14.6 percent of the company’s outstanding stock, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.