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BUSINESS
May 31, 2012 | By Shan Li
Despite slower job gains and signs of flagging consumer confidence, consumers hit the malls in May to refresh their wardrobes as the summer shopping season begins. Major chain stores posted a 3.9% sales increase in May compared with the same month a year earlier, beating analysts' expectations of a 3.6% rise, according to Thomson Reuters ' tally of 18 retailers. Top performers were a mixture of high- and low-end stores. Action-sports chain Zumiez Inc. led the way with a 13.7% bump.
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BUSINESS
May 4, 2012 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
Shoppers appeared more cautious about spending in April as cold weather and fresh concerns about the economy curbed people's urge to shop, prompting worries about a possible slowdown in spending in the summer months. Weak April sales reported by major retailers and jitters about U.S. unemployment data helped push the stock market down Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling 61.98 points, or 0.47%, to 13,206.59. Retail analysts remained cautiously positive about the coming months, but warned that more bad news about the economy could further dampen consumer spending.
BUSINESS
May 3, 2012 | By Shan Li
After several months of strong retail sales, shoppers appeared more cautious about spending in April as rainy weather and fresh worries about the economy curbed people's urge to shop. Major chain stores posted a 0.8% sales increase in April compared with the same month a year earlier, falling short of analysts' expectations of a slightly better 1.5% rise, according to Thomson Reuters ' tally of 20 retailers. Top performers were a mixture of high- and low-end stores. Action-sports chain Zumiez Inc. led the way with a 10.1% bump.
BUSINESS
April 6, 2012 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
Shoppers hit the malls in March and provided a boost for the nation's retailers, a sign of a recovering consumer economy and job market — despite the pinch of rising gasoline prices. Major chain stores posted a healthy 4.3% sales increase in March compared with the same month a year earlier, beating analysts' expectations of a more modest 3.5% rise, according to Thomson Reuters' tally of 20 retailers. "We are seeing more consistent performance of U.S. jobs and more stabilization of wages," said Laura Gurski, global head of the retail practice at consulting firm A.T. Kearney.
BUSINESS
March 30, 2012 | By Shan Li
Arts-and-crafts chain Michaels Stores Inc. is seeking to raise $500 million in an initial public offering. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Michaels said it intended to use the money to help pay down $3.49 billion in debt and for working capital and other general corporate expenses. The Irving, Texas-based chain, which operates more than 1,000 Michaels stores and 130 Aaron Brothers shops throughout the country, said it hasn't yet determined how many shares to issue and at what price.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 25, 2012 | By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
The ceiling is painted with cherubs and voluptuous nudes, the maroon carpet so worn that one customer fondly calls the Gold Dust Lounge "classy and dirty at the same time. " Located near tourist-heavy Union Square, the storefront has been a watering hole since 1918 - save for short interruptions during Prohibition and a brief interlude when it housed a flower shop. But the cocktail lounge that once counted Janis Joplin and Jack LaLanne as regulars is now in a fight for its existence - an ugly fight.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2012 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
Discount retail giantWal-Martoutwitted Los Angeles City Council members who sought to slow the company's expansion into Chinatown, securing permits for its store on the eve of a crucial vote on the topic. The council voted 13 to 0 on Friday to draft a law temporarily banning large chain stores from opening in the neighborhood. But minutes before that vote, the top official at the Department of Building and Safety revealed that a day earlier Wal-Mart had obtained permits needed to renovate its vacant commercial space.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 22, 2012 | By David Zahniser and Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
Four weeks after Wal-Mart announced plans to open a grocery store in Chinatown, Los Angeles City Council members have proposed a law that would block an array of chain businesses from opening in the neighborhood. A temporary ordinance sought by Councilman Ed Reyes would prohibit building permits from being issued for new "formula retail" stores - those that have standardized facades, color schemes, decor, employee uniforms and merchandise. Wal-Mart is seeking to open a 33,000-square-foot market and pharmacy in a vacant ground-floor commercial space at Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues.
BUSINESS
March 1, 2012 | By Shan Li
Drawn by unseasonably warm weather across much of the country, shoppers hit the malls in February with their wallets open and handed retailers a robust start to the spring shopping season. Major chain stores posted a healthy 4.7% sales increase in February compared with the same month a year earlier, beating analysts' expectations of a more modest 3.4% rise. Discounters, teen retailers and apparel sellers all posted healthy sales increases, according to Thomson Reuters ' tally of 18 retailers.
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