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Back-to-School Sales Could Rise By as Much as 16%
July 15, 2010

Back-to-school spending may rise as much as 16 percent in the U.S. this year, reversing year-ago declines and putting more muscle behind the economic rebound. Families with students plan to spend about $55.1 billion in the period, compared with $47.5 billion a year earlier, the National Retail Federation said, citing consumers surveyed by BIGResearch.

Retail Sales Decline for Second Straight Month
July 14, 2010

Retail sales fell in June for the second straight month, more evidence that the recovery will slow in the second half of the year. Spending on retail goods dropped 0.5 percent in June, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. That followed a 1.1 percent fall in May. Excluding autos, spending was down 0.1 percent in June. Pulling down the overall June figures was a drop in auto sales and declining gas prices. When taking those out, sales would have risen 0.1 percent for the month.

Retail Online Integration Magazine
July 1, 2010

No, you're not seeing things. Before I get started with this month's Editor's Note, let me point out the obvious: As you can see from our new logo on the cover, All About ROI is now Retail Online Integration.

Consumer Confidence Slips in June, Recovery Slowing Down
July 1, 2010

Mounting job losses and other economic realities caught up with Americans in June, pushing down a key barometer of consumer sentiment after a streak of gains built on glimmers of hope. Some economists say the reality check offered by Tuesday's report from the New York-based Conference Board may not augur well for spending in the critical months ahead. The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 49.3, down from its revised May level of 54.8.

Consumers Clamor for Apple's Latest iPhone
June 24, 2010

Apple fans queued overnight by the hundreds outside stores in the United States, Europe and Japan to snap up the latest iPhone, setting a new benchmark in the fast-growing smartphone market. It sold a record 600,000 in pre-orders in a single day last week, and BGC analyst Colin Gillis expects Apple to set a record for being the first company to sell a million smartphones in a single day.

Amazon.com Tops Rankings of Healthiest Retailers
June 17, 2010

Amazon.com, the world’s largest online merchant, won the top spot in an annual survey of the healthiest U.S. and Canadian retailers for a second year in a row as more shoppers make purchases online. Amazon’s technology keeps inventory levels and expenses down, said Consensus Advisors Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Hara, whose firm did the survey. Aeropostale, Urban Outfitters, CVS Caremark Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores round out the top five in the list, released this week.

Father's Day Spending Forecasted Slightly Above Last Year
June 3, 2010

As the economy continues its slow rebound, Americans will spend slightly more paying homage to the most important men in their lives this Father’s Day. According to NRF’s 2010 Father’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, the average person will spend $94.32 on dear ole dad this year, up from $90.89 last year. Total Father’s Day spending is expected to reach $9.8 billion.

Casual Male Targets New Demographic With Destination XL Stores
May 24, 2010

Casual Male Retail Group's chief executive said he hopes the company's new Destination XL stores will increase its market share by attracting the "smaller big-guy." "We do not have a big market share in the smaller sizes and that's a huge win for us if we can get it because it's a high percentage of the big and tall market," Chief Executive David Levin said. The retailer, which operates Casual Male XL retail and outlet stores and higher-end Rochester Clothing stores as well as a catalog and online business, plans to open four Destination XL stores during the fiscal second and third quarters. The stores represent a new direction for the company. Levin said he expects the increased product mix at Destination XL stores to attract a new customer and result in existing customers spending more.

Federal Stimulus Money Bolsters Lowe's 1Q Earnings
May 19, 2010

Lowe's Cos. can thank Uncle Sam for its first quarter. The home-improvement retailer reported better-than-expected earnings and its first same-store sales gain in years. After some very rough quarters in home improvement, assistance came from the government in the form of homebuyer tax credits and rebates for energy-efficient appliances. Lower interest rates and cheaper housing stock didn't hurt either.

Retailers Prepare for the Return of Consumer Spending With Higher Prices
May 19, 2010

Retailers are priming for a consumer comeback. Shoppers have started to show they're willing and able to spend more, and stores are tweaking their merchandise to accommodate them. Cashmere is making a comeback and sellers of everything from wine to toys are seeing shoppers move away from the very lowest price ranges. The moves signal optimism that the recovery from the Great Recession is picking up steam, but there's a downside for shoppers: the return of higher prices.

Going Mobile
May 1, 2010

Will 2010 finally be the year of mobile commerce? While mobile has been the "next big thing" for at least the last five years, 2010 may actually be a banner year for the platform. Smartphone and iPhone usage has soared, and even older adults use phones to check the stock market, find the best deals at the grocery store and price insurance policies.

Mom Second Only to Winter Holidays, According to NRF Survey
April 20, 2010

Washington, April 20, 2010 – Having spent slightly more on Valentine’s Day, Easter and even St. Patrick’s Day this year, consumers are continuing the trend and will spend a little bit more on mommy dearest as well. Behind the winter holidays (Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza), Mother’s Day is the second largest U.S. consumer spending holiday. NRF’s 2010 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found the average person will shell out $126.90 on Mother’s Day gifts, compared to $123.89 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $14.6 billion.*

As one of the biggest holidays of the year, billions will be spent at restaurants or on clothing, jewelry and flowers. Nearly two-thirds (65.2%) of celebrants will buy flowers, totaling $1.9 billion. An additional 51.8 percent will treat mom to a brunch or dinner, spending $2.9 billion on mom’s favorite food. Jewelers will also see some traffic this year with 26.2 percent of people planning on buying a special bracelet or earring set, totaling $2.5 billion. Others will buy clothing or clothing accessories ($1.3 billion), gift certificates ($1.5 billion), personal service such as a day at the spa ($933 million), consumer electronics ($906 million) and greeting cards ($671 million). 

“Even with slight improvements in the economy, consumers are still looking for unique, sentimental and inexpensive ways to show mom that she is important,” said Tracy Mullin, President and CEO, NRF. “Retailers and restaurants will have an array of gift options for people to choose from, ranging from small flower bouquets to brunch and dinner promotions for the entire family to enjoy.”

Marking a noticeable shift in where people will buy Mother’s Day gifts this year, one-third (30.6%) will head to department stores, compared to 27.2 percent last year. Specialty stores such as florists or jewelers will see the most traffic, however (33.6%). Others will shop at a discount store (30.4%), online (19.7%), specialty clothing store (6.2%) or catalog (2.5%).

Of the 83.3 percent of Americans celebrating the holiday this year, most will focus on buying a gift for their mom or stepmom (62.6%) or wife (20.6%). Others will treat their daughter (9.4%), grandmother (7.9%), sister (7.6%), friend (6.8%) or godmother (1.7%) to something nice.

“For some, mom is the glue that holds the family together,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “After a few years of cutting back on their discretionary spending, consumers will open up their wallets a little bit more to celebrate the woman with the most important job in the world.”

Men will spend much more than women on Mother’s Day, shelling out an average of $154.74, compared to women who will spend an average of $100.46. Adults 25-34 years old will spend the most with the average person expected to spend $156.84; young adults will spend only slightly less at $155.52 average per person.  

About the Survey 

The NRF 2010 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the Mother’s Day holiday. The survey was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch. The poll of 8,197 consumers was conducted from April 6 – 13, 2010. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent. 

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch’s syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 8,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace. 

As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad.  In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2009 sales of $2.3 trillion. www.nrf.com.

Best Buy Plans More U.S. Mobile Stores
April 20, 2010

RICHFIELD, Minn. (TheStreet) -- Best Buy (BBY) plans to open hundreds more of its new small mobile stores as it looks to gain a significant market share of the increasing demand for smartphones and other handheld devices, the Financial Times reports.

The retailer expects to have a "number somewhere between here and 1,000" of Best Buy Mobile stores in shopping malls across the U.S., in addition to the 77 it has already opened, CEO Brian Dunn told the newspaper.

Supersize Me
April 1, 2010

At a movie theater concession stand you'll hear, "Want to make that a jumbo for just a quarter more?" In an airport bar, you can get a bigger beer for just a dollar extra. Car rental companies will upgrade you to a nicer ride for just $7 more per day. You can add 32 gig of extra storage to your iPod for just $80. All these merchants know that getting you to spend just a little bit more will supersize their profits. The same is true on your website.

February's Record-Setting Weather Takes its Toll on Retailers
March 2, 2010

March couldn't come quick enough for retailers, especially those in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the country, who watched record-setting snowfalls in February do a number on their bottom lines. According to a recent report from Planalytics, a provider of business weather intelligence, February snowstorms resulted in a $36 billion loss for the U.S. economy.

Grabbing Store Shoppers 
by the Hand … Electronically
March 1, 2010

A 2009 year-end survey of store traffic conducted by ShopperTrak, a provider of shopper traffic counting technology, showed a reasonably encouraging year-over-year increase of 3.5 percent. But store traffic has been so light over the past couple years that retailers, and their software vendors, are seeking ways to not only get consumers into stores, but also take them by the hand and guide them right to the cashiers. Case in point, take two recent retail technological innovations from Escalate Retail and NCR.