Things seen and overheard around the region last month, compiled by reporter Mike Lewis:
Martin’s donates Bag Hunger funds
HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Martin’s store associates and executives recently celebrated the culmination of the grocer’s biannual Bag Hunger campaign at the Maryland Food Bank — Western Branch.
As part of the event, Martin’s associates volunteered, helping sort donations before presenting a $11,667 check to the food bank. The money will benefit the food bank’s statewide network of community partners.
Martin’s Bag Hunger campaign runs twice a year. Customers donate $1 at the register to Bag Hunger in their communities. The most recent Bag Hunger campaign ran from Aug. 28 through Sept. 8 across all 171 Giant/Martin’s food stores and collected a total of $773,231.
With an eye on the approaching Thanksgiving feast, we turned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to see where all those turkeys are raised.
Minnesota topped the latest list, covering the period from Sept. 1, 2016, to Aug. 31, 2017. But two Crossroads states elbowed their way onto the roster, too. Here’s a look at the ranking, by number of turkeys raised:
Minnesota: 42 million
North Carolina: 32.5 million
Arkansas: 26.5 million
Indiana: 20 million
Missouri: 18.8 million
Virginia: 16.8 million
Iowa: 12 million
California: 11.5 million
Pennsylvania: 7.5 million
Ohio: 6.7 million
Utah: 5.2 million
Michigan: 5.1 million
South Dakota: 4.1 million
West Virginia: 3.7 million
Other states (including Maryland): 30.1 million
Merry season for retailers?
WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales in November and December — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — to increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over 2017 for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion.
The forecast compares with an average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the past five years.
“Our forecast reflects the overall strength of the industry,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release. “Thanks to a healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect the growth we’ve seen over the past year. While there is concern about the impacts of an escalating trade war, we are optimistic that the pace of economic activity will continue to increase through the end of the year.”
Holiday sales in 2017 totaled $687.87 billion, a 5.3 percent increase over the year before and the largest increase since the 5.2 percent year-over-year gain seen in 2010 after the Great Recession.
The holiday forecast is consistent with NRF’s forecast that annual retail sales for 2018 will increase at least 4.5 percent over 2017.