Alison Paul

Smartphones currently influence 5.1 percent of annual retail store sales, translating into $159 billion in forecasted sales for 2012, according to new Deloitte research. For the first time in the industry, the in-depth study measures the "mobile influence factor," or impact of smartphones on in-store sales. The mobile influence factor captures the in-store sales driven by consumers' store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or other mobile application use.

NEW YORK — Many retailers reported solid sales gains for December, but the deep discounts and promotions that shoppers have come to expect cut into profits. A range of retailers, including Target and The Children’s Place, reduced their, reducing their earnings outlooks. Overall, retail sales rose 3.4% at the 22 retailers tracked by the Thomson Reuters same-store sales index, compared with the 3.3% analyst forecast. Some retailers offered steep discounts during the crucial holiday season. Alison Paul, retail sector leader at Deloitte in Chicago, said the chains that spread their discounts out over the season did well, while those

NEW YORK — Retailers should expect small gains in 2011 holiday sales, Deloitte forecast on Monday. The company’s retail and distribution practice expects total holiday sales to reach between $873 and $877 billion, representing a 2.5 to 3% increase over last season. "Consumer spending was on the rise for several months despite dampened confidence in the economy among U.S. households," said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte's chief economist. "Those earlier gains have begun to flatten and may be tempered by persistent weakness in the housing and employment sectors and pressures from the European debt crisis. Despite some relief in energy prices,

Deep discounts and the warmest July weather in decades brought U.S. shoppers to malls, helping many retail chains report healthy monthly sales increases at established stores. July figures provide an early read on consumer demand in the U.S. economy at the start of the back-to-school season, the second-biggest selling period of the year after Christmas. Warehouse club Costco and teen apparel chain Hot Topic posted some of the biggest gains so far. Costco Wholesale Corp reported a 10 percent rise in total July sales at stores open at least a year, beating the analysts' average estimate of an

Online activity will influence in-store shopping this holiday season, as social networks and mobile applications are playing a more prominent role in the shopping process. As such, retailers should seek to deliver tightly-integrated and consistent merchandise, inventory and promotional messages to customers moving between Web-based and physical storefronts, a Deloitte study suggests.

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