black friday

Black Friday Reboot: Kohl's Extols App, Earlier Thanksgiving Hours

Posted by Dale Buss on October 30, 2014 01:28 PM

In the 90s, Kohl's challenged JCPenney, Sears and other former kings of retail with what then was a revolutionary formula: name brands, affordable prices, heavy promotion and shopper convenience. Kohl's leveraged this formula to nationwide expansion in the U.S. and knocked its rivals out of the park.

A couple of decades later, its momentum slowed, CEO Kevin Mansell and Chief Customer Officer Michelle Gass are promising to lead the king of mid-market apparel retailing out of its long wilderness.

Admitting that its stores "haven't been the most inspiring," Mansell revealed a "complete change in the way we run our business," including a new look and feel, a refreshed inventory that's now customized by store (not region), more big-name brands, and the promise of "surprise" and delight in stores under the banner "Find Your Yes."  

And then there's its Thanksgiving/Black Friday plans.Continue reading...


Tesla, Zara Join China Shopping Spree as 11.11 Singles Day Sale Goes Global

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 28, 2014 10:32 AM

November 11 is why Alibaba's recent IPO set a $25 billion record-breaking debut. Last year, on China's Nov. 11 "Singles Day" holiday ("光棍节" or "双11"), Alibaba's Taobao ( and others recorded 35 billion yuan or RMB (US$5.75 billion) in sales.

It was a world record for single day online sales—one that Taobao intends to break this "11.11" with an estimated 26,000 vendors set to participate in the world's biggest shopping event for a project $8 billion payday.

This year, Tesla and Zara are in the mix with new Tmall stores, while the e-commerce portal's success has many other brands and e-tailers in China and beyond looking to skim some of the cream off the top. Continue reading...

retail watch

Black Friday Creep and the Thanksgiving Day Grinch: 2014 Edition

Posted by Dale Buss on October 17, 2014 05:11 PM

The war over the sanctity of Thanksgiving could turn into one of those annual holiday classics, like It's a Wonderful Life and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But while it isn't quite the stuff of movie drama yet, the battle over when US retailers open on Black Friday weekend continues to provide plenty of tension.

Well before Halloween, Macy's has taken one of the initial steps this year by confirming to Huffington Post that it will open stores to Black Friday shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day—two hours earlier than it opened last year, with online deals starting earlier. In 2014, Walmart kicked off its Black Friday deals at 6 p.m. on Turkey Day, while Target opened at 8 p.m.

Not surprisingly, this has led to angst especially among workers at America's biggest employer who are recruited to work on Thanksgiving day. Over the roughly three years that Black Friday creep has taken place, there have been outbursts of protest akin to the proliferating demonstrations over retailers paying only the minimum wage.Continue reading...

retail watch

Now What? Best Buy, Investors in Shock Over Plummeting Holiday Sales

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 17, 2014 03:53 PM

This past holiday season was not a good one for big-box retailers and Best Buy is the latest to take a big hit. Its shares fell about 30 percent Thursday to erase around $4 billion of its market value after the company announced that it was going to have “a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly operating margins,” according to Reuters.

"It just seems that the promotions did not drive incremental sales, that opening on Thanksgiving just added costs," Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser told the wire service.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for Best Buy, which had been one of 2013’s hottest stocks after launching a turnaround effort to combat showrooming from online retailers. Best Buy, of course, wasn’t the only big-name retailer that had a lousy holiday season. Sales at Sears stores in the nine weeks that ended January 6 were down 9.2 percent while Kmart’s were down 5.7 percent in the same time period, adding to what is becoming a legacy of decline. “Sales at the company have been falling since 2005, when billionaire hedge fund manager Edward Lampert merged the two US chains in an $11 billion deal,” Reuters notes.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Walmart Falls in Feds' Crosshairs Over Reactions to Worker Protests

Posted by Dale Buss on January 16, 2014 02:53 PM

Over its decades of strident growth, Walmart has taken on everything from Kmart to the corner drug store, environmental activists to Hollywood gliterati. Now the chain runs up against its biggest foe yet: an inimical US federal government.

The National Labor Relations Board formally complained that Walmart had illegally retaliated against American workers who protested their employer on Black Friday last year and other incidents beginning in 2012. The complaints involve 60 employees and 19 firings.

After failing to reach an agreement that would avoid litigation, the NLRB accused Walmart of illegally threatening or punishing workers who considered taking part in the high-profile walkouts, The Huffington Post reported. Workers in several states filed complaints after the strikes, and the board's counsel eventually "found merit" in some of them.Continue reading...

retail watch

Anxious Retailers Open 'Round the Clock to Capture Last-Minute Holiday Sales

Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 18, 2013 01:56 PM

In the marathon called the holiday shopping season, retailers are pulling out all the stops in the final lap.

Already under fire for preempting Black Friday by opening their doors on Thanksgiving, some retailers are now staying open every day, all day and all night, until Christmas. Kohl's, for example, will open at 6 a.m. on Friday, December 20 and operate until 6 p.m. on Christmas eve—111 hours straight of being available to holiday shoppers. Toys R Us will follow a similar pattern, opening at 6 a.m. on Saturday, December 21 and remaining open until 9 p.m. on December 24. The toy chain's Times Square location in New York City has already been open for 24 hours since December 1.

One reason for this madness: The holiday shopping season is protracted, thanks to Thanksgiving being late this year. "There's no question that the shortened holiday season has put both retailers and consumers in a rush to make the most out of the time that's left before the big day," Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, told The Huffington Post. According to the Federation, as of December 9, half of consumers still have their holiday shopping left to do, while a Consumer Reports poll indicated that nearly a third of American shoppers had yet to buy their holiday gifts.Continue reading...


Coke, WestJet, Kmart Are Out to Spread Good Cheer with Holiday Promos

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 16, 2013 11:27 AM

With the holiday season in full swing, brands big and small are out to spread some cheer (and positive brand messaging).

Last month the Coca-Cola Happiness Truck kept it local on Black Friday, rolling up to Atlanta stores to surprise shoppers with fun activities and refreshments. But the marketing stunt had a positive (branding) message: do good deeds, spread happiness, and make sure to capture and share the moment with #OpenHappiness. 

But Coke wasn't the only one handing out smiles.Continue reading...

retail watch

JCPenney Posts Notable Comp-Store Increase, Leaving November No Turkey

Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2013 03:58 PM

Maybe November wasn't such a turkey after all—for JCPenney, at least. The still-beleaguered retailer reported a 10 percent increase in comparable-store sales for the month, thanks to a strong Black Friday and, presumably, the conclusion by American consumers that the brand isn't dead just yet.

While most retailers have bemoaned the overall results of Thanksgiving weekend and aren't sure their promotional aggressiveness will serve them much better this month, JCPenney reported that its online sales were strong. Notably, it was the second consecutive month for which the retailer reported comparable-store sales, according to, after dropping monthly reports two years ago.

And JCPenney CEO Myron Ullman took a minute to crow, sort of. "We are pleased with our performance over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, particularly in light of the continued spending pressures on consumers," he said in a press release. "The combination of our great merchandise and compelling promotions put us in a position to succeed in a highly competitive environment, and our teams executed very well."Continue reading...

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