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Michael Fleisher named CFO at IPO-imminent Wayfair

BY HBSDEALER Staff

As upstart home goods e-tailer Wayfair gears up for a likely IPO in 2014 or 2015, Michael Fleisher will step in as the company’s new CFO to help speed the process along.

Fleisher, who is leaving his post as Warner Music Group vice chairman, replaces Nicholas Malone, who is remaining at the company as chief administration officer.

"Following an extensive search process, it became very clear that Michael was the ideal person to help lead Wayfair.com through the next steps on our exciting path to becoming the world’s leading ecommerce player in the $400 billion home goods market," said Niraj Shah, CEO and co-founder of Wayfair.com. "In addition to bringing a strong and seasoned voice to our executive management team, we are confident that Michael’s impressive track record and unrivaled expertise in public markets, mergers and acquisitions, and strategy will help us achieve our long term goals."

In his new role, Fleisher will continue to build Wayfair’s relationships with investors — at $201 million in venture capital, the company is considering another financing round before its IPO — as well as steer the company through various acquisitions, Forbes reports

Fleisher has a robust background in public markets, mergers and acquisitions, as well as a strong background in strategic initiatives. He is credited with leading the sale of Warner Music Group to Access Industries in a more than $3 billion transaction, as well as helping the company achieve its highest operating margins since his appointment in 2005. He also had a major role in the company’s public transition in May 2005.

"Wayfair.com is on a stunning growth trajectory toward becoming the dominant global e-commerce player in a major market segment," added Fleisher. "My goal has been to join a company with amazing founders, a world class leadership team, passionate customers and an unbridled growth opportunity. Wayfair.com is that company. I could not be more honored to collaborate with Niraj, Steve, Nick and the entire team to keep building Wayfair.com and delivering for our customers. I am excited to draw from my past experiences and play an integral role in guiding Wayfair.com through its continued growth and evolution."

Wayfair has experienced a year of record growth — more than 50%, to be exact, reaching nearly $1 billion in sales.

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Existing-home sales back down from recent peak

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Although existing-home sales enjoyed a four-year peak in August, September saw a slight decline of 1.9% in the amount of homes sold, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Total existing-home sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.29 million, compared to a downwardly revised 5.39 million in August. However, September’s numbers still mark a 10.7% improvement over year-ago figures of 4.78 million.

Of these, single-family home sales were down 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million, compared to 4.75 million in August. 

Home prices managed to strengthen in September despite the downward progress, with tightened inventory driving prices up. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $199,200 in September, up 11.7% year-over-year.

“Affordability has fallen to a five-year low as home price increases easily outpaced income growth,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Expected rising mortgage interest rates will further lower affordability in upcoming months. Next month we may see some delays associated with the government shutdown.”

Nationally, the sharpest home price increases over 2012 were in Detroit, Las Vegas and Sacramento.

Distressed homes made up 14% of September sales, compared to 12% in August (a five-year low). The NAR reports that this is another contributing factor in median price growth.

Total housing inventory was virtually unchanged at 2.21 million existing homes available for sale — a 5.0-month supply compared to August’s 4.9-month supply.

NAR president Gary Thomas said that though the effects of the government shutdown were not apparent in September’s report, next month’s sales may suffer from the various impacts of the 16-day ordeal, including delays in tax transcripts needed for approval of mortgage loans.

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Unemployment hits five-year low, but jobs fall short

BY HBSDEALER Staff

At 7.2%, September’s unemployment figures were at a five-year low, but job growth came in lower than expected at 148,000.

The amount of long-term unemployed (27 weeks or more) was virtually the same at 4.1 million and made up 36.9% of unemployed Americans, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which had experienced a 16-day delay in releasing its figures due to the government shutdown.

The civilian labor force participation rate (63.2%) and the employment-population ratio (58.6%) were virtually unchanged as well.

Those marginally attached to the workforce (2.3 million, compared with last year’s 2.5 million) were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

In the construction sector, 20,000 jobs were added in September after minimal movement over the past six months. Manufacturing showed little change.

October’s jobs report is now scheduled to be released Nov. 8 at 8:30 a.m., as opposed to its original release date of Nov. 1.

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