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...
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...
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...
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...
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 TheStreet.com, 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...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 3, 2013 06:39 PM
The biggest shopping day of the year—Black Friday—has birthed a handful of shopping spinoffs, including a less than welcome Grey Thursday, Small Business Saturday, and the wildly successful Cyber Monday—and now in its second year—Giving Tuesday.
Started last year as an antidote to the holiday weekend's retail madness by New York's 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday has now gone global with organizations in Australia, Canada, Mexico and Singapore participating. More than 8,000 organizations have signed up to participate from all 50 US states—a marked increase from last year’s inaugural event that attracted over 2,500 organizations.
Some efforts from major brands include:Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 3, 2013 03:53 PM
Cyber Monday sales set a new one-day record for online shopping yesterday with an increase of 20 percent over 2012, while mobile sales increased 55 perent year-over-year and now account for more than 17 percent of total online sales for Cyber Monday.
Walmart, Amazon and eBay were the day's big winners, as Walmart.com quickly sold out of its entire stock of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, with CEO Joel Anderson proclaiming, "There's no way ... that it won't finish as our biggest Cyber Monday ever," according to USA Today. "I think 2013 will be remembered as the year online went mobile."
Amazon offered half-off Mattel and Fisher-Price products, 46 percent off a Canon digital camera and 65 percent off men and women’s cashmere, while eBay promoted more than 80 percent off diamond stud earrings.
Most consumers accessed the deals via tablets, while mobile phones were used most for browsing. Tablets accounted for 12 percent of purchases versus 5.5 percent from smartphones.Continue reading...
games people play
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 2, 2013 06:39 PM
Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 were both released in the weeks before Black Friday in the hopes of generating some early holiday sales. But whatever happened ahead of the biggest shopping weekend of the year is now forgotten, as Microsoft's Xbox systems have emerged as the clear winner in console sales.
According to Escapist Magazine, Xbox One and Xbox 360 accounted for 61 percent of all gaming consoles sold on Black Friday. So where was Sony? The company’s PS3 and PS4 systems were responsible for 30 percent of the sales, but the consoles were also apparently understocked, according to analyst Jon Brelig. "Microsoft's success can be largely attributed to limited availability of the PS4, in addition to Walmart discounting the Xbox 360 down to $99 for Black Friday," he said.
The Black Friday victory may be sweet for Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean the company gets a free PR pass. Microsoft, which has had a few marketing hiccups lately, had to apologize to the gaming public for a marketing coup that many felt was sexist.Continue reading...