With sales uptick, RILA sees return to stores in general
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) weighed in the Commerce Department’s monthly sales figures, which showed a return to positive numbers.
Monthly retail sales figures for July totaled $403.9 billion, an increase of 0.8% over the previous month, and 4.1% over July 2011.
“Following three months of disappointing sales, skittish consumers returned to stores in July,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy. “Retailers adjustments to product assortments and pricing are paying off as budget-conscious consumers opened their wallets again last month.”
Remarkably, all retail segments reported gains in July. General merchandisers saw a 0.7% increase over June, while sporting goods and furniture retailers reported growth of 1.6% and 1.1% respectively.
Last week, RILA urged President Obama and Governor Romney to focus on the impending fiscal cliff and to advance policies in the coming months that will promote a robust and vibrant retail industry.
Earnings jump 12.4% at Home Depot
Home Depot today reported sales of $20.6 billion for the second quarter of 2012, a 1.7% increase from the second quarter of fiscal 2011. Comparable sales for U.S. stores were positive 2.6%, and overall same-store sales for the second quarter were positive 2.1%.
Net earnings for the world’s largest home improvement retailer were $1.53 billion for the second quarter, which ended July 29. This compares with net earnings of $1.36 billion in the same period a year ago, reflecting a 12.4% increase.
"As expected, second-quarter sales reflected the pull forward of seasonal activity into the first quarter,” said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. "But we saw continued demand for core products and delivered second-quarter earnings above our expectations.”
The Atlanta retailer expects fiscal 2012 sales will increase approximately 4.6% from the prior year on a 53-week basis.
At the end of the second quarter, Home Depot operated a total of 2,255 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China.
NY to allow tax exemption for LEED buildings
A bill signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month is starting to trickle down through local municipalities, which must now decide whether to adopt a tax exemption for buildings certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or other green initiative standards.
Senate Bill 1462, which became law on July 18, 2012, authorizes a municipal corporation to provide a real property tax exemption for certified green building improvements. Municipal corporations will now decide whether to adopt the exemption. Companies considering construction of a potentially qualifying improvement should monitor local legislative activity to see whether the relevant localities have adopted the exemption and should start planning for construction projects scheduled for 2013.
Under the authorizing statute, the exemption would apply to construction projects beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2013. Local law, however, may specify a later date. The exemption would be available only to the extent that the improvement increases the assessed value of the real property. To qualify, the real property improvement must be documented by a building report, and the value of the improvement project must exceed $10,000. Ordinary maintenance and repair projects will not qualify as eligible improvement projects.
For property that is certified by an accredited LEED professional as meeting the certified, silver, gold or platinum designations, the exemptions are equal to 100% of the increase in assessed value as a result of the improvement in the first year. The exemption is gradually phased out over 10 years, with 20% exempted for platinum buildings in year 10 and no exemption in year 10 for certified, silver and gold buildings. The LEED professional must file a copy of the LEED certification with the local assessor’s office, and the assessor must approve the certification.
A more detailed analysis of the new statute can be found at Ryan.com, a global tax services firm headquartered in Dallas.