Fitness financials: May retail sales stronger than anticipated, plus Puma

Fitness financials: May retail sales stronger than anticipated. Puma at whim of feuding family.
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May retail sales stronger than anticipated
According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for May (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 5.6 percent unadjusted over last year and increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from April. Additionally, April sales, which were initially estimated to have risen 4.4 percent over last year, were revised upward to 4.8 percent. The gains were stronger than NRF had been anticipating.

May retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) declined 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from April and increased 6.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year. A large part of the month-to-month weakness was in categories that the NRF does not include in retail industry sales -- automotive sales declined 1.6 percent from April and lower gas prices reduced gasoline sales by 1.6 percent from last month.

Strength was seen at health and personal care stores, which rose 0.8 percent from April and 7.3 percent over last year, and sporting goods, book, hobby, and music stores, which climbed 0.5 percent from the prior month and 4.0 percent over last May. Unseasonably cool weather seemed to affect sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores, which saw sales slip 0.8 percent from April, though sales continued to rise 4.2 percent over last May.

NRF (www.nrf.com) continues to expect retail industry sales to increase 5.0 percent in the second quarter and 4.8 percent this year over 2004.

Puma at whim of feuding family
Germany's Cartel Office has approved plans by siblings Gunter Gunter and Daniela Herz to take a majority stake in Puma (PUM.DE). They have been the biggest shareholders in the German sportswear company, and in May, they had boosted their stake in Puma to 16.91 percent through their Mayfair Vermogensverwaltung investment firm. The siblings' new business interest follows a nasty breakup of Tchibo Holding, their family's consumer products company, according to Forbes. They sold their interest in Tchibo to their mother Ingeburg and siblings Joachim, Michael and Wolfgang Herz for an estimated $5 billion in August 2003. Forbes noted the irony of the recent transactions is Puma was born of another German family feud when Rudi and Adi Dassler split their sportswear holdings into adidas and Puma.

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