Holiday retail sales up 3%

Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 @ 6:03 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 @ 6:03 PM

Holiday retail sales rose 3 percent nationwide in 2012, less than the 4.1 percent jump initially projected by the National Retail Federation and disappointing in light of the strong start provided by Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend.

Some southwest Ohio malls, however, say they believe the stores in their retail centers beat the national averages.

Trisha Hale, general manager of the Towne Mall in Middletown, said businesses that responded to an informal survey late Monday and Tuesday indicated their sales were up about 6 percent. Hale said crowds “were pretty steady throughout” the holiday season at the Middletown mall.

Consumer spending drives roughly 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, and retailers can generate as much as 40 percent of their annual revenue in the last two months of the year, making holiday shopping a closely watched barometer of economic health.

“For over six months, we’ve been saying that the fiscal cliff and economic uncertainty could impact holiday sales. As the number shows, these issues had a visible impact on consumer spending this holiday season,” National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay said Tuesday.

At the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, “We saw a significant increase in foot traffic throughout the season, particularly on Black Friday and on the last weekend before Christmas,” said Bruce Goldsberry, the mall’s general manager. “It was incredibly busy here that weekend, especially on the Saturday before Christmas, which rivaled Black Friday for us.”

Goldsberry said that while he is still collecting season-end data from the mall’s retail tenants, “We anticipate we’ll be above the 3 percent national average” overall.

The Upper Valley Mall in Springfield also experienced heavier foot traffic in 2012 than it did the previous year, especially on Black Friday, when the mall opened at midnight and crowds remained robust throughout the night and the next day, according to Les Morris, spokesman for Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, the Upper Valley Mall’s owner.

Holiday sales rose more robustly each of the two years prior to 2012: 5.6 percent in 2011 and 5.5 percent in 2010. This time, after a solid spending spree over the Thanksgiving weekend, sales limped along until the final days before Christmas, when stores were forced to discount more heavily than they had planned in order to woo back shoppers.

In another mildly encouraging measure of consumer confidence announced Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department and not focused so tightly on holiday spending, U.S. consumers increased their spending at retail businesses in December, buying more autos, furniture and clothing.

Retail sales rose 0.5 percent in December from November, the Commerce Department said. That’s slightly better than November’s 0.4 percent increase and the best showing since September.

Sales of autos and auto parts rose 1.6 percent to lead all categories. Car companies closed out their best sales year since 2007.

Electronics sales were disappointing. NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said said overall December sales “could not make up for shortfalls in certain categories like electronics.” Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.4 percent compared to last year’s sales, although it wasn’t clear how falling prices on items such as flat-screen televisions may have impacted the sales numbers.

Retailers received a boost from online sales this holiday season. The commerce department and the NRF said “non-store” holiday sales grew 11.1 percent from the previous year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

100-year-old twin sisters celebrate huge milestone in photo shoot 

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:52 PM

Twin sisters in Brazil celebrated their 100th birthday in a photo shoot.
UpperCut Images/Getty Images/Uppercut RF

Twin sisters in Ibiraçu, Brazil, are celebrating their 100th birthday with their very big families.

Photographer Camila Lima told ABC News she saw a news story about Maria Pignaton Pontin and Paulina Pignaton Pandolfi and wanted to take photos of them in honor of the milestone.

>> Read more trending news

The sisters will celebrate their 100th year on May 24.

Lima, 28, said she takes photos of older couples regularly “as a way to inspire young couples.” When she approached the sisters with the idea, they immediately agreed.

RELATED: Grandfather shows off dance moves at 100th birthday, proving age is just a number 

The Gazeta Online reported they celebrated their birthday with 100 people Saturday.

Maria has five children, 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Paulina has six children, 19 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

The sisters also have five other brothers who are still alive, out of a total of 18.

Report: Jared Kushner a focus of Russia probe

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:26 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:13 PM

(Photo by Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)
Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

A senior White House official is a person of interest in the investigation into ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign, the Washington Post has reported.

>> Read more trending news

Jared Kushner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are current Trump administration officials who have acknowledged contact with Russian officials, according to the report.

2-car crash forces vehicle into Dayton house; 2nd driver flees

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:23 PM

A two-car crash this evening forced one car into a house at the corner of Stewart Street and Clement Avenue in Dayton.

A passenger in the car was taken to Miami Valley Hospital with injuries described as minor, according to police.

The second car fled the scene but was found a few blocks away. However, its driver ran from the car before police arrived.

It is not clear whether that driver has been caught and we’re working to learn more information about what led to the crash.

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Threat for strong storms returns late Friday

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 3:49 AM

RELATED: WHIO Interactive Radar

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Showers tapering off tonight 
  • More storms return Friday evening, some strong
  • Severe weather threat continues into holiday weekend

RELATED: County-by-County Forecasts 

DETAILED FORECAST 

RELATED: Heavy damage from Wednesday’s storms in Park Layne

This Evening: Showers and thunderstorms will lingering through sunset before tapering off. Brief heavy rain and even some small hail will be possible. Temperatures will fall back through the 60s.

Tonight:  Clouds will break into the night. Some patchy fog will be possible late. Temperatures will fall into the middle 50s by morning. 

RELATED: Download the WHIO Weather App here

Friday: Partly sunny skies and quiet conditions are expected through much of the day. Scattered storms will develop toward late evening and continue into Friday night. A few storms could be strong as they arrive before weakening late Friday night. Temperatures on Friday will reach into the middle 70s.

RELATED: WHIO Interactive Radar

Saturday: After an early morning shower, much of the day will be quiet with partly sunny skies. Scattered showers and storms will redevelop from south to north by late evening into Saturday night. Some storms could be strong or severe. Temperatures will reach into the lower 80s by late afternoon.

RELATED: Sky Witness 7 

Sunday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible, especially the first half of the day. A few storms could be strong, possible severe. Temperatures will reach into the upper 70s.

Memorial Day: Partly cloudy skies are expected for the holiday with a slight chance for a shower or storm, mainly north of I-70. Highs will be in the middle to upper 70s.

Tuesday: Expect a mix of sun and clouds with a passing shower possible. Highs will be in the middle 70s.

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