Thursday, October 23, 2014

Will Amazon Be The Future of Brick and Mortar Retail?

Microsoft. Samsung. Apple. Google. Amazon: These are the most prominent tech companies around. Do they also represent the future of brick-and-mortar retail?

As everyone looks at the phenomenal success of Apple’s retail stores to learn how to drive sales volume and build their brands, it’s not surprising that other large technology and consumer products companies are also considering dipping their toes in the same retail waters. Microsoft has opened stand-alone specialty stores as well as kiosks in shopping centers across the United States. Google has dabbled in pop-ups and Samsung has toyed with stand-alone stores in foreign markets.. . . more

Despite Improving Economy, Retail Still Years Away From Full Recovery

For the second consecutive quarter, the national vacancy rate for neighborhood and community shopping centers registered at 10.3 percent. This represents a decline of just 20 basis points over the past 12 months. In the three years since reaching its cyclical high, retail vacancy has only mustered a decline of 80 basis points. With the recoveries in GDP and the labor market only recently accelerating, retail has lacked a serious driver of growth, and the pace of vacancy compression reflects this. However, the sector is not retrenching, and the recent improvement in the economy portends a more robust recovery in the future, though not in the near term.. . . more

More than half of U.S. consumers will shop online for holidays

More than half of U.S. consumers plan to make at least some of their holiday purchases online this year. According to the latest E-Holiday 2014 Pre-Holiday Retailer and Consumer Study conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, confidence in the economy is gradually improving, and two out of five consumers are starting their holiday shopping in October (or started earlier) to spread out their budgets, capitalize on promotions and avoid late-season crowds.

Online shoppers plan to spend 16% more this holiday season than all other shoppers for merchandise including gifts, decorations, greeting cards and food. All told, online shoppers expect to spend an average of $931.75.. . . more

Jobless claims inch higher in latest week, stays below 300,000 level

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a firming labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 283,000 for the week ended Oct. 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday.. . . more

McDonald’s May Sell More Organic Foods to Boost Sales

McDonald’s Corp., which yesterday posted its fourth straight quarter of falling U.S. same-store sales, may look to sell more organic food to stem the loss of customers to chains known for better-quality fare.

“You’ll see us in some categories looking to different products, possibly organics,” Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson said on a conference call. “We actually are doing it in certain markets.”. . . more

Sears Laying Off 5,000, Closing Over 100 Outlets

Sears Holdings Corp. is laying off at least 5,457 workers and closing over 100 Kmart, Sears and Sears Auto Center locations, many before Christmas.

Sears spokesman Howard Riefs declined to speak by phone. "We disclose our store counts at the end of each quarter," he said via email. "We don't have further comment.". . . more

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Target’s holiday plans include free online shipping, new apps and pop-up store

Target Corp. on Wednesday fired the first retail salvo of the holiday season, announcing that, for the first time ever, it is offering free shipping on all online purchases—no matter the amount—from Oct. 22 through Dec. 20. The free shipping offer comes early in the holiday shopping timeline, reflecting retailers’ concerns about what is expected to be a highly promotional season.

Target’s shipping offer is one of many initiatives the retailer is offering this holiday season as it looks to regain its footing from its performance last year, which was hampered by news of its data breach. . . . more

Which Big Retailer Hasn't Reported a Major Breach -- Yet?

Every week it seems, another major U.S. retailer says it's been hacked. Today, Staples said it was investigating a potential credit-card breach. Two weeks earlier it was Kmart. Three weeks earlier it was Supervalu and Albertsons. A month ago it was Home Depot. The list is longer than the checkout line at Target, which was breached late last year.

What may not be apparent amid the deluge of bad news is who's not on the list. While scores of household names have fallen victim to hackers, some pillars of U.S. retail have managed to stay out of the headlines. So far.. . . more

Mattress retailer Sleepy’s opens its 1,000th store

Sleepy's is celebrating the opening of its 1,000th store in promotional material.Sleepy’s has opened its 1,000th store.The mattress retailer said that store is its showroom in Joliet, Illinois.
“It is with great pride that we announce our thousandth-store milestone,” David Acker, Sleepy’s president, said in a news release. “Sleepy’s has been around since 1957, and we are very proud of this latest accomplishment. It won’t stop here.”. . . more

Market Basket back on track after delays

Market Basket’s newest store opens Sunday at 7 a.m. in Revere — more than a year after it was completed and ready for business in July 2013.

The store’s opening — and progress on others — was stalled by infighting among Market Basket’s directors and share­holders that triggered the firing of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas and a six-week employee uprising in his support this past summer.. . . more

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Holiday Shopping to Happen Early and Often

Procrastinators be forewarned – you might be lonely this holiday shopping season. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) latest consumer tracking survey, about 35% of consumers have or will have started their holiday shopping by the end of October. Roughly three out of five shoppers will begin shopping by Thanksgiving this year, and by the end of the Thanksgiving weekend 86% will have started making purchases. So what about those procrastinators? They are few and far between – with only 1% of respondents indicating they will start their shopping on Christmas Eve.

But while consumers might be starting early, they won’t necessarily be completing their gift buying just yet, as only 10% of shoppers say they will finish before Thanksgiving Day. That number will increase significantly by December 15, however, as two-thirds of consumers expect to have their shopping “wrapped up” by that point.. . . more

Why Neiman Marcus picked a New York neighborhood

Here’s why the smart folks at Neiman Marcus picked the Hudson Yards location:

Companies want in. The area is being called “the new commercial district on the Far West Side of Manhattan,” not only by Hudson Yards developers Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group, but in articles in The New York Times.. . . more