retail

Best Buy Braces for Rough Quarter as Retailers Plot Holiday Price-Cuts

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2013 04:55 PM

Despite pulling off a relative comeback in the last year, Best Buy told shareholders Monday that they shouldn't expect the retailer's fourth-quarter results to be hugely profitable. With retailers grappling with slow consumer spending and the prospect of a grim holiday season, Best Buy said price-slashing tactics by competitors will force price margins to get very tight. 

The Wall Street Journal notes that “the warning came after rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. this month revealed a series of aggressive holiday promotions that threatened to depress margins across the consumer-electronics sector.” Best Buy is going to open its stores on the evening of Thanksgiving, just like Walmart and several other major retailers, but it is keeping secret a lot of its discounts so that it won’t be undersold by competitors.

"If our competition is in fact more promotional in the fourth quarter, we will be too," CFO Sharon McCollam said during a conference call with analysts.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: JCPenney, P&G, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 19, 2013 09:31 AM

In the News

JCPenney launches first holiday campaign under new CMO.

P&G and other detergent makers face new federal alarm over pod safety and kids.

Apple is probed for alleged tax evasion in Italy.

3M still searches for growth.

Best Buy warns of promotional pressures.

Buick could use a flagship model, GM CEO says.

Campbell Soup sees earnings slashed.

Daimler open to selling stake to Chinese partner.

Discovery Communications allows streaming via Time Warner Cable.

Dropbox seeks $8 billion valuation.Continue reading...

retail

Kmart, Others Seen as Crossing the Line as Holiday Promos Encroach on Celebrations

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 6, 2013 04:55 PM

What happens when commerce trumps tradition? A lot of angry consumers (and employees).

That's what major retailers Kmart, Macy's, Walmart, Kohl's and others are finding out as they continue to blur the line between the Thanksgiving holiday and the major shopping event that is Black Friday. Kmart has put itself in the line of fire as it recently announced that it will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open for 41 straight hours through 11 p.m. Friday. Sears, too, will open up at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open through Friday, while Macy's bowed under pressure and for the first time, will open its US stores on Thanksgiving evening. Last year, Target fielded a steady stream of backlash after announcing it would open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. 

The trend is no doubt a reaction to the sluggish retail market as brands fear the lack of spending will continue through the 2013 holiday season. Brands are so worried, in fact, that they are not only launching their holiday campaigns early, but also their special holiday deals. Walmart kicked off its online promotion last week—one month earlier than usual. 

But their concerns aren't unfounded. A National Foundation for Credit Counseling poll found that 53 percent of shoppers plan to spend less on holiday gift giving this year than they did in 2012, with one-third planning to spend nothing and only 3 percent intending to spend more.Continue reading...

retail

Afraid of Scrooge This Christmas, Brands Have Pivoted to Early Promotions

Posted by Dale Buss on November 4, 2013 03:49 PM

Halloween is barely a distant memory in retailing terms, but what really frightens store chains this week is the prospect that the quickly approaching holiday season will be a scary period for them.

Economic snapshots and projections aren't all that encouraging, and neither has been the sluggishness that retail brands have seen in their own stores so far this fall. So brands including Walmart, J. Crew, MasterCard and luxury auto brands already have joined Best Buy in getting what they hope will be an early jump on holiday spending.

Walmart, for example, is pulling forward seven big deals on items including TVs and tablets that were originally reserved for Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, the Associated Press reported.Continue reading...

retail

Best Buy's Strategy to Combat Showrooming? Embrace It

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 30, 2013 08:37 PM

The act of “showrooming,” or visiting stores to check out products and then ordering them online, has been a killer for big-box retailers like Walmart, Target and Best Buy. The problem has affected both ends of the retail spectrum; Williams-Sonoma recently announced its battle plan to combat it this year. And now Best Buy is taking the problem head-on its new slate of commercials aimed at holiday shoppers.

This marks the earliest Best Buy has started airing holiday ads, but it "seemed to be the right competitive thing to do," Scott Moore, senior VP-marketing, told Ad Age. Moore noted that the media expected showrooming to all but kill off the retailer, particularly when it lost $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter last year and when online competitors like Amazon began feeding the trend. But things have been looking better for the electronics retailer. 

But this year, Moore and his colleagues are hoping that embracing the concept of showrooming will prove to be a good thing for Best Buy. "The thing about showrooming is it's not the ideal experience to do research at home, go to the store, do more research, then hit pause, go home and order and hope it arrives on time," he said. "There's a better way."Continue reading...

retail

Target Puts Value Front and Center in Holiday Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on October 24, 2013 04:38 PM

Target plans to shake up its approach to the Christmas-shopping season with more price advertising, digital promotion and even more attention to the Thanksgiving holiday than in past years. Like all other retailers, the discounter is facing prospects of tentative consumers and with a traditional shopping period that is six days shorter than last year.

But unlike many other retailers, Target's moves comprise a significant pivot away from its recent emphasis on style over affordability, especially in Christmas ads that have emphasized its trendiness. The chain believes it has lost some lower-income shoppers over the years by focusing on its chic private-label designs rather than the low prices that have continued to be the staple of competitors such as Walmart.

"We think [there] is an opportunity for us this holiday that we are very loud and clear about our value proposition," said Kathee Tesija, Target's executive vice president of merchandising, according to the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Del Monte, Hershey, Toyota and more

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on October 11, 2013 09:26 AM

In the News

Del Monte to sell consumer products division for $1.68 billion.

Hershey plans to bring China-based Lancaster brand to US market. 

Toyota debuts hydrogen prototype as fuel cell race heats up. 

Activision's $8.2 billion Vivendi buyout is cleared. 

Aereo wins injunction battle against Boston TV station.

Best Buy promises $100 buy-back credit for new iPhones. 

Jeff Bezos has built Amazon into a $75 billion 'everything store,' as it looks to show shortform YouTube content on its video service. 

Boeing unveils "jumbo killer."

CVS tailors print ads to loyalty members' preferences.

Facebook removes option to block search by name.Continue reading...

Williams-Sonoma Combats Showrooming Issue with Private Labels, Customer Experiences

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2013 05:38 PM

It was one thing for Best Buy and other big box, commodity chains to suffer from “showrooming,” but the practice now appears to be afflicting haute cuisine enabler Williams-Sonoma. And its new CEO Janet Hayes, who was named in March, is trying to do something about it.

The chain—a sibling brand to the Pottery Barn and West Elm housewares chains—has posted same-store sales declines for five of the last seven quarters as Williams-Sonoma copes with the growing scourge of showrooming—an action that the high-end retailer once didn't have to worry about because of its exclusive inventory. But now a host of brick-and-mortar and online rivals are presenting much of the same stuff, including upstarts Cutlery & More and Sur Le Table as well as Macy’s and Amazon, according to Bloomberg.Continue reading...

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