The sluggish housing market has some investing in their properties instead of trading up. This has strengthened the home-improvement industry and helped retailers such as Home Depot and Lowe's. Investment in home improvement could increase 9.1% in the first quarter, and spring sales could climb by double digits, according to an index from the Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Inventories at U.S. wholesalers increased 1% in February to $438 billion, according to the Commerce Department. Sales of wholesalers dropped 0.8% in February, while the inventory-to-sales ratio was 1.16.
High-end kitchen gadgets continue to gain ground on retailers' shelves and consumers' kitchens even as the amount of time the average cook spends preparing meals declines. The average woman now spends 5.5 hours per week in the kitchen, down from 20 hours in the 1950s, and the percentage of meals cooked at home involving an entree made from scratch is also dropping.
Four of the top 10 destinations for luxury brands were in Asia, according to a survey by CB Richard Ellis. Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing all attracted a large percentage of luxury retailers. Hong Kong remained the most popular destination in the world, luring 84% of luxury brands.
Duvet & Pillow Warehouse is bucking the retail trend of dressing up its storefront in an attempt to drive home quality and value concepts and maintain an impressive rate of sales growth. The U.K.-based online-only retailer began operations in 2006 and has posted 50% growth each year.