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 10, 2014 01:51 PM
How much longer can Sears keep its head above water? A stunning slide in holiday sales provided the latest indicator that the old-line retailer, once America's largest, is drowning.
Sears reported a remarkable 9 percent drop in domestic Sears stores and a 6 percent drop in its Kmart stores with weakness in traditionally strong areas for Sears such as tools and home appliances. That's especially troubling, because as long as Sears could rely on its Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances, there remained a formidable foundation for the chain; not so much anymore.
And it isn't clear whether Sears is actually helping itself with its just-launched corporate blog. "The results that we posted are not nearly what we want them to be," Edward S. Lampert, Sears' CEO, majority owner and primary architect, said in the blog.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 20, 2013 11:17 AM
It’s that time of year to take stock of 2013's top moments—many of which were documented on video. YouTube's year-end ad leaderboard is flooded with top brands, but this year's blockbuster entries weren't your typical 30-second promo.
The ads "are often longer, more compelling, more engaging. And people are choosing to watch them," the company wrote in a blog post. “These aren't the ads with the highest view counts, though, or the biggest budgets. They are the ones that skillfully deployed paid media to help great creative catch fire."
Indeed, 2013 saw the meteoric rise of branded content—a new marketing tool that has propelled brands into storytellers and entertainers. And so, from Geico's Wednesday anthem to Pepsi's prank, here are the top 10 ads of 2013, according to YouTube: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 Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2013 02:06 PM
Hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert has made enough smart choices to become a billionaire, but one decision has surely been haunting him for some time now. When he decided to combine Kmart and Sears back in 2005 for $11 billion, there was no way he’d know that it would mean a continued downward spiral for his new company.
After all, Sears and Kmart were once retail titans. Now they are slowly being crushed by the likes of Walmart, Target, and online retailers of all stripes.
Sears, of course, has been doing all it can to survive. The company has tested localized personal shopping, taken its in-house brands – Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard – out of house, sold its Canadian real-estate holdings in October for $383 million, and even set up a whole section on its website using “undead” models to appeal to younger consumers. But nothing has turned it around.
Now Sears Holdings will follow through on an idea it floated back in October: spinning off clothing retailer Land’s End. According to the Chicago Tribune, the spinoff “will not raise cash for Sears but will allow Lampert to more efficiently chart a course for the two businesses, which compete for management time and capital within the Sears group.” Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 27, 2013 07:02 PM
Thanksgiving is a time to share with loved ones, express gratitude, and take stock of the ad frenzy that is holiday shopping. And with brands turning the clock forward on Black Friday promos, marketing teams are in an all-out race to grab the attention of savings-hungry consumers.
According to research from Shareablee, of the top 25 retailers on Facebook in the first half of November, Walmart accounted for 27 percent of the total shares by fans, followed by QVC with 9 percent, and Macy’s and Nordstrom at 8 percent. On Twitter, BestBuy is dominant with 30 percent of retweets in the category, followed by Nordstrom at 9 percent, Ebay and Target at 8 percent respectively and Walmart at 6 percent.
Target has outpaced all retail competition with six times more Black Friday posts than any other brand, while JCPenney’s one Black Friday post earned the highest level of engagement with over 54,000 likes, comments and shares.
Are you planning on braving the crowds? If so, here's some offers to keep an eye out for:Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 25, 2013 07:47 PM
Kmart has attracted enormous attention and generated lots of pithy remarks with its latest pun-ny TV ad, "Show Your Joe," which features six underwear-clad men ringing hand bells and "tolling" the stuff under their shorts to music as well, in no uncertain terms. But are the ads really giving Kmart a bigger share of holiday spending, or even selling more of the Joe Boxer briefs featured in the ad?
As Kmart struggles—even more than most other US retailers—with stagnant sales and fading brand equity, the temptation to push the envelope in its advertising even further was just too great for the Sears-owned brand and its agency, DraftFCB. Over the last several months, Kmart managed to create lots of buzz with earlier tongue-in-cheek commercial treatments titled "Ship My Pants" (say it out loud) and "Big Gas Savings" (likewise).
But "Show Your Joe" leaves nothing to enunciation or imagination. Wearing tuxedo jackets on top and only Joe Boxer briefs on the bottom, the guys swivel their hips ringing out "Jingle Bells" while things violently sway back and forth under their shorts. No surprise that the ad had received more than 13.5 million hits on YouTube as of Nov. 25.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 20, 2013 07:12 PM
John Lewis’ 2013 Christmas campaign in the UK, a seasonal rite of passage, is “a £7m multi-media festive extravaganza,” animated by Disney's Lion King artists and costing £1m alone.
It’s just one example of how high (and early) the bar is being set for branded holiday ads this year as shoppers around the world, weary from escalating costs-of-living and economic challenges, plan to spend only $800 this holiday season on gifts, down from $854 last year.
And so retailers are pulling out all the stops to get attention from consumers, hoping to draw them in with witty and charming ads and deep promotional discounts. UK advertisers alone are set to spend nearly $630 million on ads in the last three months of the year, while American brands got a head start, with Kmart airing its first holiday-related ad one-hundred days before Christmas. Indeed, advertisers seem to be heading back to the small-screen while maintaining a solid presence on social media to get the most out of holiday promotional efforts.
And that has led some brands to go above and beyond. From Kmart's controversial "Show Your Joe" ad to Best Buy and Marks & Spencer's celebrity-heavy campaigns, brands are working hard to get the attention of shoppers.
Here's some of the most extravagant holiday ads we've seen so far:Continue reading...