Posted in BlogPosted in BlogDecember 21, 2011
Holiday sales for Amazon are, not surprisingly, quite good.
Could the retailer’s presence on Twitter have anything to do with its success?
Amazon ranked as the highest influential retailer on Klout, an online source for measuring online influence, for getting shoppers to talk about it or go to its site during this holiday season (via Mashable)
This score shows that Amazon has had 1,200 retweets in the past 90 days and 85,000 mentions.
And in the madness of the holiday season, 85,000 is no small accomplishment.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogDecember 12, 2011
Consumers are looking for value.
It’s not a new idea or a new trend – it’s a part of our industry that’s taken on an entirely new focus given the economic times.
Many consumers are not buying bulk – they cant afford 8 rolls of paper towel, even at a steep Walmart or Costco discount. They want one roll in their small shopper basket. They need one roll to get them to the next pay-cycle.
Dollar stores are a growing part of the consumer shopping behavior. As of mid-year 2011, the combined store count of the four major dollar store chains — Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and 99 Cents Only — has surpassed that of the three biggest national drugstore chains — Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid — according to a new study released by Colliers International.
The Colliers International study says “The rapid evaporation of wealth (both real and perceived), has profoundly changed the way Americans shop and how they define value. Dollar stores now serve a larger consumer base, which is fueling unprecedented growth in dollar store leasing and a significant shift in the types of retail space they take.”
Consumers are seeing the value of a dollar beyond dollars and cents. Is your business?
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogDecember 9, 2011
Dare we speculate? Could the tides be turning? Hopeful signs are pointing to yes.
A new index study reveals that confidence among U.S. consumers rose more than forecast in December to a six-month high.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment rose to 67.7 this month from 64.1 at the end of last month. The median estimate of 73 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a reading of 65.8. The gauge averaged 89 in the five years leading up to the recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.
What’s contributing to the shift? Falling gasoline prices and gradual improvement in the labor market may be helping stabilize confidence.
A strong holiday shopping season is underway – will improved consumer confidence help? Tides are turning but only time will tell.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogDecember 8, 2011
The trend of Digital to Retail (and vice versa) continues.
The New York Times is reporting that Google is working on a delivery service that would let people order items from local stores on the Web and receive them at their homes or offices within a day.
The service is in an early testing phase and it was described by three people briefed on the project who were not authorized to speak about it publicly before it was announced.
So what does it mean? Google continues to look beyond search – How does the company not only help people search for things but also help consumers find deals (Google Offers), buy products and pay for (Google Wallet) the products they want.
According to the Times article, Google won’t build stores or warehouses or become a retailer itself - Instead of becoming an Amazon, Google is interested in securing partners to carry out new service lines.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogDecember 6, 2011
Internet giant Google has abandoned its high-profile project to produce renewable energy at a cost cheaper than coal.
And if you follow Google and know about Bill Weihl’s departure, you saw this one coming. Weihl was the driving force behind Google’s investments and research in renewables, and in 2009 he said the company expected to demonstrate within three years technology capable of producing electricity cheaper than coal-fired power plants. Weihl announced his plans to leave the company in November.
Over the past few years, Google has spent millions of dollars investing in the development of solar and geothermal technology. The company has also purchased large shares of wind power farms. The announcement is a disappointment to renewable energy advocates who hoped Google’s deep pockets and technological know-how would push the industry forward. On the flip side, the announcement was warmly received by Google shareholders – many of whom were upset by increased spending at the company.
According to Reauters, Google is narrowing its focus to deal with increasing competition in mobile computing and social networking from Apple and Microsoft.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogDecember 2, 2011
It’s over before it even started.
Coca-Cola is switching back to its time-honored red can just one month after rolling out its flagship cola in a snow-white can for the holidays.
Coca-Cola rolled out the limited time white cans a few weeks ago with artful polar bears, a nod to their heritage holiday Polar Bear and its planned corporate donation to the World Wildlife Fund for Arctic conservation.
While the company has frequently rung in the holiday with special can designs, this was the first time Coca-Cola put regular Coke in a white can. Some consumers complained that it looked confusingly similar to Diet Coke’s silver cans. Others felt that regular Coke tasted different in the white cans. Some ultra-loyal brand fanatics argued that messing with red bordered on “sacrilege”
So much for holiday cheer.
New seasonal cans in red will start shipping by next week, as white cans—initially expected to be in stores through February—make an exit.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogNovember 30, 2011
Earlier this month, Gap reported its fiscal third-quarter earnings fell 36% as sales slipped a little more than expected, decreasing 1.9% to $3.59 billion.
What did the retail giant do on the heels of that slip? Open a new, 15,000 square foot store…in China.
Gap has opened a flagship store in Hong Kong on November 25, 2011. The new store continues Gap’s strategy for expansion in Asia, an increasingly important destination for many retailers amid uncertain economic conditions in U.S. and Europe. The company in October said it would shut 21% of its namesake North American stores over the next two years, coming to terms with the overextension of its store network and expectations for slow U.S. growth.
Gap sees a advantageous retail opportunity in China and the company expects to have roughly 45 stores in China by the end of fiscal 2012.
The flagship store opening in Hong Kong comes as the retailer marks its first anniversary in China this month. The new store features:
- The four-story 15,000 square foot store will be located at Queens Road, Hong Kong’s premier shopping district.
- The store will stock merchandise of Gap, GapKids, babyGap, and GapBody.
- Gap operates 8 stores in China and plans to increase the count to 15 by January 2012.
- The retailer has also identified Shanghai, HangZhou, and Tianjin as possible locations for openings.
- Gap intends to open a total of 45 stores by the end of fiscal 2012 in the Greater China region.
- In 2010, Gap launched an e-commerce website, gap.cn, to serve 330 cities in China.
In addition to Hong Kong, the company said it will open new stores in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Tianjin over the coming weeks.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogNovember 29, 2011
Neiman Marcus typically makes holiday headlines with it’s over-the-top, ultra extravagant Holiday Catalog.
And before you think no one would spend $45,000 on a ping pong table, consider this:
The 2011 Holiday Catalog featured a 2012 Ferrari FF Neiman Marcus Edition for $395,000….And all 10 models sold out in 50 minutes
Think car-buying is the exception?
Neiman Marcus’ success is grounded in more than holiday cheer – and they’ve got the numbers to prove it.
Neiman Marcus Inc.’s fiscal first-quarter net income surged 88 percent as shoppers returned to luxury goods spending.
While some consumers are still wary about high unemployment and uncertain economic conditions, the past several months have seen wealthier shoppers making luxury purchases.
Neiman Marcus, a privately held company based in Dallas, reported Monday that it earned $48.4 million for the period ended Oct. 29. That’s up from $25.7 million a year earlier.
Revenue increased to $1 billion from $927.2 million.
Revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 8 percent. This metric is a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
$395,000 10 minutes. $1 billion.
Numbers don’t lie – Neiman Marcus is clearly doing something right.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogNovember 28, 2011
The results are in: The Black Friday of 2011 was one for the books
The National Retail Federation is reporting traffic and spending were up in both online and in-store categories, reaching historic highs: Total spending reached an estimated $52.4 billion.
According to surveyed consumers, a record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 212 million last year. Digging deep into their holiday budgets, the average holiday shopper spent $398.62 this weekend, up from $365.34 last year. Additionally, shoppers also checked out retailers’ deals online, spending an average of $150.53 on the web – 37.8 percent of their total weekend spending.
Additional findings of note:
- Continuing the momentum from 2010, the appetite for shoppers to get a head start on Black Friday continued, as nearly one-quarter (24.4%) of Black Friday shoppers were at the stores by midnight on Black Friday, either waiting for stores to open or visiting retailers who opened on Thanksgiving evening. By comparison, the number of people who were at the stores at midnight was 9.5 percent in 2010 and 3.3 percent in 2009.
- More than half (51.4%) bought clothing and clothing accessories
- Nearly four in 10 (39.4%) bought electronic items, up from 36.7 percent last year.
- Additionally, shoppers stocked up on home décor (21.3%), gift cards (23.1%), toys (32.6%), and jewelry (21.8%).
- The most popular shopping destinations once again were at department stores (48.7%) and discounters (37.5%).
- As retailers leverage their websites to offer fantastic deals for online holiday shoppers, more people logged onto retailers’ websites over the weekend (35.2% vs. 33.6% last year), boding well for retailers who are planning Cyber Monday promotions.
Posted in BlogPosted in BlogNovember 23, 2011
Are we on the road to consumer spending recovery?
Yes.. and no.
US Consumer spending rose less than forecasted in October – Purchases increased 0.1 percent, after a 0.7 percent gain the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.
So what does it all mean? Industry experts say it’s a sign that Americans used the biggest gain in incomes in seven months to rebuild savings.
The October slowdown in household spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, raises concern about this year’s Holiday Shopping Season. A jobless rate of 9 percent and confidence at recession levels explain why chains likeTarget, Macy’s, Best Buy and Kohl’s Corp. are changing up their Black Friday strategies.
Retailers are trying to energize sales with early openings, deep discounts and price matching. Retailers are also trying to bolster mobile sales and “Cyber Monday” sales via dedicated social media and mobile marketing campaigns.
Will it be enough to change the course of consumer spending and save the holiday shopping season for retailers?