Wednesday, December 16, 2015
The Commerce Department said sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in November, the most in four months. Shoppers upped spending at apparel, sporting goods, and electronics stores. Spending at online retailers advanced a healthy 0.6%. General merchandise stores improved, but department stores were flat. The National Retail Federation estimated that spending averaged $300 per person over Thanksgiving weekend, down from $381 last year. Among retailers reporting monthly comp-store sales, L Brands was up 7%, Gap was down 8.0%, Rite Aid was up 0.9%, and Costco sales were flat. See our sales reports BELOW... The federal government moved to block the merger of Staples and its chief competitor, Office Depot. Regulators at the US Federal Trade Commission filed legal action to kill the deal, saying it could lead to higher prices for office supplies, particularly for business customers, where the merged company would have a dominant 70% share of the market. The FTC’s four-member commission voted unanimously to file the complaint and to seek a preliminary injunction against the merger. Both companies said they plan to contest the agency’s action. Together, the companies contend, they would be stronger and would lower costs for consumers and businesses. They said their competition includes manufacturers selling directly to businesses, as well as companies like Amazon and Walmart.