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Retailers Get a Jump on Holiday Sales with Toy Previews, TV Ads

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 11, 2014 04:42 PM

It may only be September, but retailers both online and off are getting an early start on their fourth quarter earnings. 

Walmart released its hot-toy list and its holiday marketing plans just hours before Toys “R” Us held its annual holiday preview, NorthJersey.com reports. Walmart will offer free layaway and is offering to match the prices of competitors. The list of 20 toys was culled after hundreds of kids played with 80 toys and voted on their favorites. Toys making the list include a sewing machine, a “Snow Glow Elsa Doll,” and Mattel Hot Wheels Street Remote Control Flying Car.

The marketplace is overstuffed with major retail players vying for holiday shoppers' dollars, including Amazon, Target and Walmart. But as the site notes, more players means less cash for all since toy sales in America have “stayed relatively flat for nearly a decade, hovering around $22 billion.”Continue reading...

retail watch

Kmart Hopes Renewed Push Behind Pay In Store Will Lift Sales

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 25, 2014 11:17 AM

Kmart’s Pay In Store program is already a year old, but the brand is putting some fresh effort behind the offering as it moves to adapt to a more digital retail landscape.

The program lets customers to order products online and then pick them up and pay for them in-store, allowing consumers to shop online whether they have access to credit or not. The initiative is similar to Gap's Reserve In-Store function, which allows online shoppers to locate an item in a local store, reserve it online, and then go and pick it up. 

Kmart's new push behind the in-store pick-up service includes a new ad, "Shop Like a Boss," featuring a funky granny.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Burger King, Sony, Samsung and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 25, 2014 09:41 AM


Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Hortons in Canada-based tax-inversion deal, report says, as chain gives away smartphones in promo.

Samsung leverages Emmys as engagement event for its TV brand as it takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

Sony says its PlayStation network is back online after cyber attack and after threat on exec's life diverted airliner.

Roche buys drug maker InterMune for $8.3 billion.

McDonald's not expected to be banned in Russia but brand loses luster with Millennials.


Advertising Standards Council of India bars skin-lightening ads that portray dark-skinned figures negatively. 

Airbus pursues far-off routes.

Ann Taylor sees shareholder activist push for a sale of the company.

BlackBerry wins another round in court against Ryan Seacrest-founded company.

Chevy's 2015 Corvette Z06 is the most expensive ever

Coca-Cola plans massive sampling support of rollout for low-calorie Life.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Kia Jingles, Harley Recalls, Sterling Takes the Stand and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2014 09:33 AM


American Apparel gets $25 million lifeline from hedge fund as Bloomberg Businessweek details Dov Charney’s “sleazy” campaign to control company.

Harley-Davidson recalls 66,000 motorcycles.

Donald Sterling vows never to sell Los Angeles Clippers.

Kia adds “sonic branding” with startup jingle.

Samsung faces new child labor allegations.


adidas claims World Cup victory over Nike and introduces FuelBand rival smart band.

Aereo signals it sees path to survival.

Amazon offers to give Hachette e-book money directly to authors.

Apple patents a way to make all-glass devices and wins EU trademark for store designs.

Bob Evans risks shareholder unrest after weak quarter.

Boeing sees no end to jetliner boom.

Bud Light supports Lime ‘Ritas.Continue reading...

retail watch

It May Take Divine Intervention to Save Sears From Itself

Posted by Dale Buss on May 22, 2014 12:16 PM

JCPenney and maybe even Target may be pulling out of their sales swoons, but Sears just keeps on crumbling—maybe to a point of no return. 

The thoroughly troubled chain reported a broader net loss, a 7 percent drop in revenue and flat same-store Sears sales for the most recent quarter as it continues to consolidate and pull back, closing stores and spinning off assets in the hopes that it will eventually find a bottom. 

Curiously, owner and CEO Edward Lampert still struck an upbeat note in a letter to shareholders, proclaiming that Sears this year will demonstrate its efforts to evolve beyond a brick-and-mortar retailer to an integrated model that puts it at the forefront of e-tailing.

“That may sound odd given our financial results,” he wrote. “But not only do I believe that we are headed in the right direction in important ways, I believe the entire retail industry is headed to where we already are.”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 trainwrecks

Doubts Grow About Sears' Viability After Steep Holiday-Season Sales Slide

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...

ad watch

YouTube's Year-End Ad Leaderboard Speaks to Growth of Branded Content

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...

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