Kurt Salmon

Last year's debacle in which packages failed to reach their destinations in time for Christmas was a wake up call for many retailers and shipping companies. This year, all the parties involved claim to be better prepared for a season in which shipping services will be in greater demand as more consumers place online orders. But are they? According to research by Kurt Salmon, many retailers have pushed deadlines for orders closer to Christmas despite all the problems encountered last year. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed will guarantee on-time delivery for orders placed one day to three days before Christmas.

In spite of web stores, shopping tools and apps, paper catalogs are still surprisingly effective at selling stuff. More than half of online shoppers said they browse catalogs and almost one-third of people making an internet purchase have a catalog on hand when they click "Buy," according to a new survey by Kurt Salmon, a global retail consultancy. A whopping 86 percent of the survey's respondents bought an item after first seeing it in a catalog.

March sales at retail chains are expected to fall modestly, held back by the combination of a later Easter and higher gasoline prices. Department stores such as Kohl's are expected to post the biggest declines after tallying huge gains a year earlier, when consumer demand picked up steam and shoppers bought spring clothing.


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