Monday’s Score Card – Winners: Apple, Lowe’s and American drivers; Losers: Black Friday retailers opening on Thanksgiving night; Draw: U.S. workers.
Apple is Most Successful Retailer
Apple tops the list as the most successful retail store in America, as measured by sales per square foot, according to consumer goods consulting firm RetailSails. With 372 locations worldwide and a substantial online presence, the giant tech firm sold products at a rate of $6,050 per square foot over the past 12 months.
That number is twice the rate of the second store on the list — luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co., which reported sales of $3,017 per square foot over the same period. All of the top stores on the list are high-end retailers with relatively little floor space.
By comparison, big-box stores like Walmart, Kmart and Family Dollar, with more space and less expensive products, rarely exceed sales of more than a few hundred dollars per square foot.
Lowe’s Profits Up
Lowe’s, the world’s second-largest home improvement store, reported a better than expected quarterly profit today, raising its premarket share price 3.5 percent.
Preparation for and cleanup of Superstorm Sandy helped boost sales 1.9 percent to $12.1 billion for the quarter that ended on Nov. 2. Analysts were predicting sales of $11.9 billon.
Lowe’s has been trailing industry leader Home Depot in sales comparisons for the past several years and is midway through a “transformation phase” to try to catch up with its main competitor.
Gas Prices Decline
Gasoline prices continue to drop, falling 7.26 cents between Nov. 2 and 16. The average U.S. price is $3.4728 per gallon, according to the current Lundberg Survey.
A decrease in demand because of Hurricane Sandy helped explain the continued price decline – 36.47 cents per gallon over the last six weeks.
The nation’s highest prices for regular gasoline were recorded in Long Island, N.Y., at $4.18 per gallon. The lowest prices were in Memphis, Tenn., at $3.04.
Retailers Getting Black Eye over Black Friday
Retailers planning to move Black Friday sales back to Thanksgiving night are facing a backlash from employees who want to spend the holiday with their families.
Workers at Target, Walmart and Toys R Us, among others, as well as miffed consumers, have been signing petitions, calling for Thanksgiving Day off. By Sunday night, one online petition to save Thanksgiving from Target had more than 340,000 signatures.
Pressure on retailers to compete with one another for shoppers will likely outweigh any amount of protest or negative publicity, and stores are not expected to alter their hours regardless of how many petitions are signed.
Average Pay up 3 Percent
Forecasts by several national compensation surveys suggest that 2013 will witness an average pay raise of 3 percent for U.S. workers. In 2012, the average was about 2.75 percent, and in 2008, it was 2 to 2.5 percent.
Energy industry employees will likely see the biggest pay increases; teachers and public sector employees, the smallest.
Analysts point to continued high unemployment and the reluctance of companies to spend on fixed costs as reasons for the meager pay raise. However, promotions, bonuses and other monetary incentives are increasing.
Photo: Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com