3 To Know: Gas pump prices surge
1. AAA: Gas pump prices surge across U.S.
Gas prices are rising across the country. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded jumped 7 cents in the past week. Sunday's average of $2.39 is the highest since September 2015, AAA reports.
Even more significant in the past seven days, gas prices in Florida rose 12 cents, the third-largest spike of any state in the country. Florida's average price of $2.42 is the highest since August 2015.
The most expensive metro markets in Florida are West Palm/Boca Raton ($2.53), Fort Lauderdale ($2.48) and Miami ($2.46). The least expensive metro markets in the Sunshine State are Pensacola ($2.35), Tallahassee ($2.36) and Jacksonville ($2.39).
"This is the type of volatility we've come to expect this time of year," said Mark Jenkins, AAA - The Auto Club Group spokesman. "The major factors weighing on the market right now are supply and demand. People are beginning to drive more as the weather improves, causing an uptick in demand and a decline in gasoline inventories. Also, many refineries have begun producing and selling summer-blend fuels which are more expensive to produce. AAA forecasts the national average to peak around $2.70 this summer."
The crude oil market has largely recovered after spending nearly three weeks under $50 a barrel. Friday's daily settlement of $52.24/b is the highest since March 7, AAA reports.
2. HHGregg to close all stores after failing to find a buyer
The going-out-of-business sales started this weekend at HHGregg.
The bankrupt retailer is planning to begin liquidating its assets after failing to find a buyer by its Friday deadline. The company expects to close all of its 220 stores by the end of May, resulting in about 5,000 layoffs across the U.S.
HHGregg CEO Bob Riesbeck in a statement said the company has “continued to fight for the future” since March 6 when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
“While we had discussions with more than 50 private equity firms, strategic buyers and other investors, unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our plan to secure a viable buyer of the business on a going-concern basis within the expedited timeline set by our creditors,” Riesbeck said.
The liquidation process means HHGregg customers only have a few weeks left to use gift cards and return previously purchased items. Customers who want to make returns could end up being disappointed. The company, citing its bankruptcy process, is limiting returns on items bought before March 6 to $2,850 — a fraction of the cost of many high-ticket appliances and televisions.
The liquidation ends a 62-year run for HHGregg, which is headquartered on 96th Street. The company was founded by Henry Harold Gregg and his wife, Fansy.
3. Kirkland's returning to Naples market
After a nearly five-year hiatus, Kirkland’s home decor retailer is returning to Naples.
Kirkland’s is scheduled to open a store in the third quarter of this year in Park Shore Plaza, said Kristen Moore, a spokeswoman for Brixmor Property Group, the New York-based company that owns the shopping center on U.S. 41 south of Pine Ridge Road. The new 7,861-square-foot store will be next to Party City in one of the last spaces remaining from Big Kmart vacating the center two years ago.
Kirkland's permanently closed its Naples store in July 2012 after doing business in the city for more than 15 years. The Nashville-based chain had operated a company-owned store for about six years in Gateway Plaza next to Naples High School on the corner of Ninth Street North and Golden Gate Parkway. The company relocated to that shopping center after operating for a decade across the street at Coastland Center mall.
Kirkland’s has more than 340 stores in 35 states. Its nearest location is at Gulf Coast Town Center off Interstate 75 in south Fort Myers.