October Retail Sales Expected to Show Gains

According to The Wall Street Journal, retailers are reporting some encouraging trends from October as they head into the holiday shopping season. Sales during the month, traditionally a time of fall clearance, were better than expected for many retailers, according to analysts’ estimates. Although October sales patterns typically don’t predict holiday sales trends, retail executives point to signs of pent-up demand and a gradual return of shoppers. Thursday, dozens of chain-store retailers will report sales for October and their fiscal third quarters. Retail Metrics, which compiles analysts’ estimates as well as other industry data for 31 companies, projects a 1.9% increase in October sales over the same month last year. Thomson Reuters, which aggregates analysts’ estimates for 30 companies, predicts a 2% increase. The projected monthly gain would be the second year-over-year increase after 12 consecutive months of declines for retailers. Apparel spending rose 3.4% in October this year compared with last, the first year-over-year increase in 14 months, according to Mastercard Spending Pulse, which tracks spending by credit cards, checks and cash. But a return to pre-recession levels remains a ways off. Apparel spending for the month was down 5.2% compared with that of October 2007. October isn’t typically a strong sales month for retailers, providing a lull between the back-to-school shopping in August and September and the start of holiday shopping in November. Retailers are in a stronger position than a year ago. Inventory levels are much leaner, meaning fewer dramatic markdowns to clear excess wares. And most of the promotions have been carefully planned. That could help lift retailers’ profit margins. Still, the Conference Board said...

PacSun Utilizing Discounts to Clear Out Inventory

In an attempt to reduce inventory by the end of the year, Pacific Sunwear has announced discounts to ensure that they end the year with inventory per square foot down in the high single digits. CEO Sally Frame Kasaks said the increased promotions will impact margins and earnings in the short term, but the company believes it is the right thing to do to position the stores for next year given the economic...

Firewire Surfboards to Stop Including Fins with Surfboards

As first reported by Josh Hunter of Transworld Business. On September 26, Firewire Surfboards announced to its retail partners that it will no longer be including fins with its boards. The company says this move will enable it to offer a lower MSRP to its customers as well as a better margin for retailers. This decision is sure to spark discussion as it’s a departure from the traditional way that boards are sold. Stay tuned to Transworld Business as this story unfolds for interviews with Firewire CEO Mark Price and key players from the surf accessory/ fin market. Here’s the letter from Firewire Surfboards: Hello Firewire Retailers, We’re constantly striving to improve the performance of our surfboards and the quality of our business practices. With this in mind we’re going to take the unprecedented step of delivering our boards without fins. We realize this is a radical departure from the traditional way boards are sold, but we firmly believe it is in the best interests of our retailers (more margin), our customers (a lower MSRP) and most importantly the planet! In addition, we believe if adopted by others it will spur innovation and interest in fin design and performance. The right move for the environment: • We believe that the positive environmental impact of not forcing surfers to purchase fins they may not need and thereby reducing waste is important. In fact, we’ve actually reduced the Firewire wholesale margin on every surfboard sold because of our belief in this change. Of course we’re counting on surfers recognizing we’ve lowered our environmental footprint and the $50.00 MSRP reduction will increases...