Hardware store sales ahead of last year
The latest tally from the U.S. Census shows hardware stores saw a sales decline in June compared with the previous month, but a sales increase from the previous year.
The Census Bureau’s Monthly Retail Trade Report shows the unadjusted sales for NAICS code 44413 dealers — or hardware stores — in July was $1.756 billion on an unadjusted basis. That’s a decline of 8.4% from $1.197 billion reported in June.
However, unadjusted 44413 sales in July were up 5.3% compared with the same month last year.
July is the latest month of available data for the 44413 stores.
Swap shop nets seven arrests
A two-month investigation into “swap shops” that sell discounted merchandise resulted in seven arrests and charges against five stores for receiving stolen property, according to an article in the Middletown Journal.
Undercover agents, along with security personnel from Lowe’s and Sears, visited five swap shops on Sept. 8 to make “one final sale” of reportedly stolen merchandise, according to the report. After the sales, the officers immediately served a search warrant and found multiple power tools with the serial numbers removed, several GPS units, gas trimmers and electronic devices such as TVs and Blu-ray players.
In one incident, a spokesman for the Middletown Police said an undercover officer took merchandise into a shop with security tags, saying it was stolen property. The officer was told the shop could not accept merchandise with security tags, so the officer took the merchandise into the parking lot, removed the tag and returned to the shop to complete the transaction.
Swap shop employees were charged with various felonies and misdemeanors connected to receiving stolen property and violations of swap-shop regulations. One suspect, 28-year-old Wendell Wilson, allegedly warned some of the other establishments after the police served the first search warrant. Wilson was arrested for obstructing justice, a fifth-degree felony.
Compared with last year, retail sales are rising
The U.S. Census Bureau announced Wednesday that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August were virtually unchanged from the previous month, and up 7.2% from the month last year.
Adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, August sales were an estimated $389.5 billion. Total sales for the June through August 2011 period were up 7.9% from the same period a year ago.
In the building material & garden equipment and supplies business — NAICS 444 dealers — adjusted sales in August were $25.019 billion, an increase of 0.2% over last month, and an increase of 6.7% over the same month last year.
Also interesting: nonstore retailers sales were up 10.4% from last year.