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Many Retailers Report September Sales Declines

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A late Labour Day and delayed school openings offered some relief to merchants in September, helping to boost sales above Wall Street expectations. But spending still remains tepid as consumers focused on necessities amid job worries and tight credit.

Still, most stores posted sales declines, though smaller than in recent months, even as their figures are compared with last September when business plummeted as the financial meltdown ballooned.

As stores announced their results Thursday, J.C. Penney Co., Macy’s Inc., and teen retailer Wet Seal Inc. reported smaller-than-expected declines in sales at stores open at least a year. The measure is considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health.

Limited Brands Inc., which runs Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, and accessories chain The Buckle Inc. both posted increases for the month.

According to a preliminary tally by Thomson Reuters, nine stores beat Wall Street estimates, while four retailers’ results missed expecations.

Industry worries remain high heading into the holiday shopping season because shoppers, who were afraid to buy a year ago, are now grappling with rising job losses, reduced hours or unavailable credit. The unemployment rate is now 9.8 percent, up from around 7 percent last holiday season.

Credit also remains tight. A report released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve, shows that consumers reduced their borrowing for the seventh straight month in August as households cut spending and banks reduced credit card limits.

“Consumers remain under pressure on multiple fronts,” said Ken Perkins, president of retail research firm Retail Metrics. “I don’t think consumer spending is going to see a substantial uptick. Shoppers are concerned about rebuilding their balance sheets.”

In this climate, purveyors of fashion and nondiscretionary items continue to struggle with sluggish sales, while low-price stores benefit from shoppers switching to cheaper stores and brands.

Still, the tone was better in Thursday’s reports, as several merchants including J.C. Penney, American Eagle Outfitters Inc. And TJX Cos. Raising their profit outlook based on their better-than-expected performance.

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Multiple Fibre Cuts Bar MTN’s 87m Customers From Calls, Data

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MTN Nigeria has blamed the recent network issue experienced by its customers nationwide on multiple fibre cuts.
Recall that MTN customers were unable to make calls or use their data last Wednesday.
According to the company, the problem started at about 1.39 PM on Wednesday.
In its reaction via X, MTN Nigeria blamed the network issue on multiple fibre cuts, even as it assured that its engineers are working assiduously to restore normal services.
The statement reads: “Dear Customer, you have been experiencing challenges connecting to the network due to a major service outage caused by multiple fibre cuts, affecting voice and data services.
“Our engineers are working hard to resolve this with services gradually being restored in some areas.

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Alake Confident Nigeria’ll Overcome Economic Hardship

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The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake has said that Nigeria would soon overcome its current economic hardship.
Alake gave the assurance in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said  the hardship was because Nigeria was going through a gestation period of economic restructuring and reforms.
He said that President Bola Tinubu was determined to revamp  Nigeria’s  economy and put on a pedestal for sustainable growth through his Renewed Hope agenda.
According to him, the President has a track record of changing the economic tides of a region, just as he did when he was the governor of Lagos State.
“Going down memory lane to the experience in Lagos state, the then governor  Tinubu in 1999,  met a state that was almost insolvent, with a monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N600 million.
“ And a wage bill of over N1.1 billion monthly, with little or no resources to cater to infrastructure and other sectors of the economy.
“President Tinubu took similar measures in Lagos as he is taking in Nigeria, to turn the tide and financially re-engineer the state.  Today, the state is the fifth largest economy in Africa, bigger than most African countries.
“What we are going through is the gestation period of reforms and policies for economic restructuring and like the President will say, it is like throes of pregnancy, that a pregnant woman goes through.
“After delivery, she heaves a sigh of relief,” he said.
The minister urged  Nigerians to be patient with the government  as the current economic  situation  would soon stabilise with positive  results from on going reforms.
“For the first time, Nigeria has a  president well-versed in public finance. I am  confident in this administration’s capacity to diversify the economy, plug leakages, and redirect the economy to a path of sustainable growth.
“ The future of this country is extremely very bright. What we need to do is to exude confidence in our ability and capacity to weather the storm of restructuring, economic and societal restructuring.
“As we restructure our economy, putting in physical infrastructure, we must also restructure our minds and mental capacity to be at par with physical development.
“ So that we can efficiently and judiciously enjoy the benefits of physical development.
“With the cooperation of Nigerians, the tide will turn very soon, and we all will be proud, he

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Only Professional Builders’ll Handle Global Centre’s Modern Cities  – President

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The President/ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Centre for Empowerment and Care for Life Challenges (GCECLC), Amb. Vincent Ejikeme Agbo has said that only professionals would be used for the massive global center real estate housing and industrial development in the country.
The CEO who said this in a chat with the media shortly after their press conference in Port Harcourt recently, reiterated that the group will not compromise standard  both in the use of  standard building materials or professionals in the building sector.
Amb. Agbo noted that the use of quacks builders and building materials are the major causes of building collapse in the country, adding, “the 5,000 housing units that would be built in the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory in the first phase of the GCECLC building project would be the same quality with that of the developed countries”.
He said the building materials would be supplied directly by the main companies, adding, “GCECLC, a non governmental organizations (NGO) has already gotten the license from Dangote group of companies to supply cement at a giveaway price for the building project, seeing the importance of the project to the masses.
“We want to bridge the gap in the Nigerian building sector and this would enable everyone in the country to own a quality building in an environment where the system is working”.
In his contribution, the Vice President of the NGO, Amb. Shittu Isiaka Salami said the group is working with all the building construction agencies to ensure  that quality jobs are delivered because, “we have zero tolerance for building collapse”.
Amb Isiaka called on qualified building engineers and contractors to come and do business with the NGO in the project that is aimed at fulfilling United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) 9 & 11.
The Public Relation Personel/ the marketing contact person for the building project, Amb. Larry Goodwill Ajiola advised interested building engineers and contractors to register for the project, adding that non professional contractors would not be given a chance to build.
Amb  Ajiola said contractors should give priority attention to the project when money is given to them as, “no excuse would be tolerated in the first and second phases of the building project aimed  at decongesting the urban settlement.
Amb. Ajiola who is also the CEO of I Cnntact- Connect Limited, Port Harcourt, said the project is a welcomed development, especially to the less privileged ones that never thought they could own a house of their own.
He noted that the long span of payment between 10- 30 years makes it affordable to all serious minded citizens, adding, “GCECLC has risen to give hope to the hopeless in the country, especially now that Nigerians are passing through hardship.
“It is a welcomed development to Rivers state and the other 36 States. It is contributing to the welfare of the masses. Everyone will benefit since you will pay small small. I have confidence that the project is already a success”.
One of the invitees, Mrs Ifeoma Usoro commended the NGO for  moving into this financial intensive area for their love to help the poor masses and requested for the building engineers to be given more time to conclude registration modalities.

Lilian Peters

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