NRF: Consumer spending surged 0.4% in September
The National Retail Federation reported Monday that September retail sales — excluding autos, fuel and restaurants — increased a seasonally adjusted 0.4%, thanks to strong showings from clothing and electronics stores.
“In spite of the uncertainty and unease surrounding our nation’s high unemployment and long-term fiscal challenges, consumers continue to spend and shop,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Robust back-to-school spending combined with a series of new, technology-led product launches certainly helped retailers in September. The American consumer is holding their own in this economic environment but the question remains, for how long?”
September retail sales, also released Monday by the Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 1.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
“With recent data painting a more optimistic view of consumer confidence, we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “While the latest retail sales data indicates continued improvement for the economy, increasing gas prices and the looming fiscal cliff still pose serious challenges to the momentum we’ve seen in consumer spending.”
Other findings from the September retail sales report include:
• Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increase 0.6% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 4.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 2.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
• General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted month-to-month but decreased 1.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet decreased 2.0% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 1.8% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.8% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
NRF said it is now projecting year-over-year retail sales growth of 4.5%.
Major surgery on rollback at Walmart
Walmart is introducing a first-of-its-kind Centers of Excellence program that will offer its associates quality health care with no out-of-pocket cost for heart, spine and transplant surgeries at six of the leading hospital and health systems in the United States.
The six designated health care organizations include the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland; Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.; Mayo Clinic sites in Rochester, Minn., Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla.; Mercy Hospital Springfield in Springfield, Mo; Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas; and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.
"We devoted extensive time developing Centers of Excellence in order to improve the quality of care our associates’ receive," said Sally Welborn, SVP global benefits at Walmart. "We have identified six renowned healthcare systems that meet the highest quality standards for heart, spine and transplant surgery. Through these hospital systems, our associates will have no out-of-pocket expenses and a greater peace of mind knowing they are receiving exceptional care from a facility that specializes in the procedure they require. This is the first time a retailer has offered a comprehensive, nationwide program for heart, spine and transplant surgery."
The new Centers of Excellence program is being expanded from covering transplants, which began with the Mayo Clinic in 1996, to include treatment for certain heart and spine surgeries. Walmart’s associates and their dependents who are enrolled in the company’s medical plans will receive consultations and care covered at 100% without deductible or coinsurance, plus travel, lodging and food for the patient and a caregiver.
In providing this service at no cost to its enrolled associates, Walmart has worked with these Centers of Excellence health systems to provide exclusive and unique bundled pricing arrangements for these types of procedures. Through Centers of Excellence, Walmart is working with all the healthcare organizations to collectively share best practices that will allow collaboration around best measures of service and new industry findings in comparison with industry practices.
Lowe’s embarked on a similar venture with the Cleveland Clinic, which provides major heart surgery for any full-time employee or dependent enrolled in the company’s self-insured medical plan. Those needing the procedure travel to Cleveland with a companion, and Lowe’s covers all co-pays, deductibles and travel expenses, according to a report on FoxNews.com.
Lowe’s has negotiated a flat rate for various procedures with the Cleveland Clinic, which ranks among the top cardiac care centers in the United States. At the time of the report, Lowe’s and the Cleveland Clinic may consider expanding their partnership to include back and spine treatments.
Canadian Solar, PetersenDean partner on new roofing program
Canadian Solar Inc. will partner with privately held roofing company PetersenDean on a new roofing program. PetersenDean has launched a solar division and will promote the new roofing program.
"Canadian Solar is proud to partner with PetersenDean, a leader in bringing solar to the residential market and well known for quality workmanship and materials," said, Alan King , general manager of Canadian Solar USA. "We are pleased to support this award-winning company in an important new program that will help make clean, renewable energy a reality for consumers nationwide."
Canadian Solar’s modules have been tested and awarded international certifications for their quality, reliability and performance. The company’s modules are ranked among the top of the California Energy Commission’s Solar Electric Incentive Program for their high PTC efficiency ratings.
PetersenDean will kick off the new program at Santana Row, Oct. 19 to 21.
Canadian Solar designs, manufactures and delivers solar products and solar system solutions for on-grid and off-grid use to customers worldwide, with operations in North America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia.
Headquartered in Fremont, Calif., PetersenDean operates in 15 regional offices across the United States.