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Some no longer call themselves malls at all, but entertainment complexes featuring water parks and Legolands.The slump hit even high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus Group as shoppers of all incomes used the internet to search out the best deals.At the other end of the market, Sears Holdings Corp., after years of losses and store closings, went to battle with reluctant suppliers to force them to stock it with goods.Retailers that turned to deal-making in hopes of alleviating their problems were thwarted as investors soured on the industry.Although Sears is pointing to its new specialty stores that focus on appliances, mattresses, and car services as the means by which it will turn itself around, Running naked Yet it's perhaps a wise move for Sears to minimize the role apparel plays on its business.is poised to surpass Macy's this year as the largest clothing retailer, and Wal-Mart sells some billion worth of apparel every year. With the industry reeling and most retailers closing stores, reducing their footprint, and firing workers to remain viable, Sears continuing to have apparel represent some 30% of its business is out of whack with trends.
In July, when that news was announced, Sears shares jumped 19%.
November sales, which capture the first month of the busy holiday season, are crucial for many retailers, so Thursday's report counts as good news.
Indeed, in this case the seasonal adjustments the Commerce Department uses to capture the trend in sales may mask how strong the report was for some retailers.
November counts for about 10% of department - store sales annually, for example, so it matters a lot more than January, which counts for about 6%.
Unadjusted department-store sales last month were up 4%on the year.