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Unseasonably warm weather hurts October chain store sales

BY HBSDEALER Staff

October sales at U.S. chain stores grew 1.6 percent compared to the same month in 2006, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) tally of same-store sales.

October held relatively steady with September (1.7 percent), both adversely affected by the unseasonably warm weather patterns across the United States, which impacted apparel sales and kept the overall industry performance down.

“Over the last two months, retailers have struggled with the warm weather’s negative impact on retail spending,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “However, for the November-December period, we are expecting a marked improvement from the very sluggish September-October performance.”

Wal-Mart reported a same-store sales increase of 0.4 percent for October, which was lower than the 1.1 percent increase expected by analysts. Further, the retailer said it also expects moderate sales in November, which marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season — which can account for 25 percent to 40 percent of annual sales.

Wal-Mart shares fell almost 2 percent to $43.10 in early afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading following the announcement.

ICSC expects a 2.5 percent year-over-year sales increase industry-wide for November.

ICSC Chain Store Sales Trends is a monthly report on U.S. retail sales performance based on a preliminary compilation of reported sales for 44 chain stores. Industry sales aggregates are compiled for comparable-store or same-store sales and for total store sales.

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Hunter issues humidifier recall

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Hunter Fan, in cooperation with The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced a recall of their “Warm Mist Carefree” humidifiers yesterday.

The recall affects 84,000 units that were made in China and sold at Wal-Mart and Lowe’s retail stores, as well as online.

The company received four reports about the water leaks and one report of a fire that caused minor property damage. No injuries have been reported.

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Orchard Supply Hardware appoints real estate and legal executives

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH), the San Jose, Calif.-based home improvement and garden retail chain, appointed Eric Kelly as vp-real estate and store planning, and Roger Smith as chief legal counsel.

“With the additions of Eric Kelly and Roger Smith, I am pleased that we have a solid and complete senior leadership team in place,” OSH president and CEO Rob Lynch said. “Eric and Roger bring deep experience in retail, law and real estate and will play pivotal roles in helping us achieve our company’s goals.”

Kelly comes to OSH from L.A. Fitness, where he had been senior vp-real estate, responsible for strategic planning, site analysis and financial pro forma development. Kelly has also served in senior real estate and construction roles with 24-Hour Fitness, and Beverages and More.

Smith, whose appointment becomes effective Nov. 26, served as associate general counsel at Sears Holdings, providing legal guidance and oversight for OSH and other specialty retail businesses. His legal experience spans commercial and contract law, corporate law and governance, regulatory compliance, distribution, marketing and advertising, acquisitions, and real estate and construction, OSH said.

OSH, which began as a farmers’ co-op in 1931, now has 85 home improvement/garden retail stores throughout California.

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