Market Connect Group (MCG), a Bloomfield, NJ firm which provides in-store services for general merchandise retailers, has acquired Merchandise Management Company (MMC) for an undisclosed price. MCG provides retailers and brands a range of services from product merchandising and visual display to on-site demonstrations. MMC, meanwhile, has more 40 years in visual merchandising and nearly 1,000 associates across the continental U.S. The combined company will result in a larger network of hands-on talent with more service tool. Retail experts live and work within 10 miles of every major U.S. shopping center.
• U.S. retail employment declined by 5,300 jobs in February from the same month in 2018 as employment growth across all industries slowed dramatically, the Labor Dept. reported. The National Retail Federation said many moving parts contributed to the fall-off, including the government shutdown and volatility in the financial markets, and advised to longer-term averages for a better understanding of economic and retail trends. With the retail industry in a seasonal lull, retail imports are forecast to drop to their lowest level in nearly a year in March. Meanwhile, January retail sales rose 2.3 percent year-over-year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released this morning. Y-o-y sporting goods/hobby/musical instrument & book store segment sales declined 6.2 percent on an unadjusted basis in January to $5.45 billion.
• H&L Sporting Goods, the Everett, WA team dealer serving the Seattle metro area since 1940, has been acquired by BSN Sports.
• Academy Sports + Outdoors is opening stores in Georgetown, TX; Buford, GA; Gastonia and Moorseville, NC; and Ardmore, OK.