business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the New York Times:

"Job openings in March fell to 9.6 million, the Labor Department reported on Tuesday, the lowest level in two years and a further indication the slowdown in the labor market is becoming more entrenched. It was the third straight month job openings have declined, a notable development after last year, when job openings bounced around month to month … Transportation, warehousing and utilities, professional and businesses services, and construction were among the sectors that posted large drops in open positions, as higher interest rates and fears of a pullback in consumer spending continued to discourage employers from hiring."

•  Publix Super Markets announced that Q1 sales were $14.3 billion, up 8.2 percent increase from $13.2 billion in 2022.  Same-store sales for the period were up 6.4 percent from the same period a year earlier.  And Q1 net earnings were up 100.8 percent, to $1.2 billion, from $618 million in 2022.

•  Starbucks is out with its Q2 results, saying that "global comparable store sales increased 11%, primarily driven by a 6% increase in comparable transactions and 4% increase in average ticket.  North America comparable store sales increased 12%, driven by a 6% increase in comparable transactions and a 5% increase in average ticket; U.S. comparable store sales increased 12%, driven by a 6% increase in comparable transactions and a 6% increase in average ticket."

At the same time, "• Consolidated net revenues up 14% to $8.7 billion, inclusive of approximately 2% unfavorable impact from foreign currency translation."

And, "Starbucks Rewards loyalty program 90-day active members in the U.S. increased to 30.8 million, up 15% year-over-year."

•  The National Retail Federation (NRF) is predicting that "consumers plan to spend a total of $35.7 billion on Mother’s Day this year, nearly $4 billion more than last year’s record high of $31.7 billion … Consumers plan to spend $274.02 per person, the highest in the history of the survey and up from the previous record high of $245.76 in 2022. The top spenders are those ages 35-44, who are expected to spend an average of $382.26 on Mother’s Day.

"Of those celebrating Mother’s Day, most (57%) are purchasing gifts for a mother or stepmother, followed by a wife (23%) or daughter (12%).

"As seen in previous years, the most popular gifts to give are flowers (74%), greeting cards (74%) and special outings such as dinner or brunch (60%).

"Consumers will spend a total of $7.8 billion on jewelry, $5.6 billion on special outings and $4 billion on electronics."

•  It is yet another measure of the difficulties facing major US cities that Nordstrom has decided to close its two downtown San Francisco stores - a major store in the Westfield Mall on Market Street, and a Nordstrom Rack discount stores just steps away.

The closing comes after similar announcements from Whole Foods, Office Depot, The Container Store, Anthropologie and Saks Off 5th.

In an internal email, the company said that "the dynamics of the downtown San Francisco market have changed dramatically over the past several years, impacting customer foot traffic to our stores and our ability to operate successfully."