New York—It was a much needed dose of optimism when most of retail seems besieged with lower traffic patterns, slumping comp store sales, rising promotional activity and disappointing earnings forecasts.
Indeed spring seems to finally be here when the U.S. Department of Commerce this week announced March retail sales figures that were the strongest in 18 months. The increases, which were mostly across the board, surprising economists, who had expected to see sales rise due to pent up demand from a bitter winter, but not this much.
Noted Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities: “This momentum is likely to continue over the next month or two as the warmer weather provides further impetus for spending, which will ensure that personal spending activity continue to provide a key source of support for economic activity.”
Another source of good news for retailers was the announcement by the National Retail Federation that come June a new program will provide retailers with access to information on cybersecurity threats identified by retailers, government and law enforcement agencies and partners in the financial services sector. Developed in consultation with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), the program will launch with the establishment of an information-sharing platform for retail industry information security specialists.
The program should go a long way in helping to stem the damage hackers have caused—most notably with Target and Neiman Marcus last fall.
These along with others below make up this week’s top 10 online news articles you don’t want to miss: