Entries in Retail (28)


Thrift Stores Gaining in Great Recession

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Second-hand shops once considered the bottom-of-the-barrel for shoppers are getting a boost as consumers living the great recession discover better inventory and bargains.

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, saw comparable store sales decline by 1.5 percent year-to-date, according to investment research firm Morningstar. Meanwhile, its competitor Target had a soft third quarter with comparable store sales up only slightly by 1.6 percent, according to Morningstar.

On the other hand, the thrift shops are enjoying an expansion of sales and customers.

"Our transaction growth has grown by over 30 percent over the last two years but the bulk has been over the last year," says George Erickson, the Salvation Army's Northern California director of retail, based in San Francisco. "All of these extra transactions had to come from some place -- it's my conclusion that all these customers have stepped down from the Kohl's, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Macy's and Nordstrom."

Since the start of the recession that has led to more than 8 million lost jobs, The Salvation Army has seen sales grow from $499 million in 2007 to $542 million in 2009.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Walmart to Acquire 51% of Massmart

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BENTONVILLE, Ark.) -- Walmart seeks to broaden its international reach, as the company announced Monday that it has offered to purchase 51% of the shares of Massmart Holdings of South Africa.

The company issued a statement saying the offer -- at 148 rand a share, representing a 19.2% premium to the 30-day weighted average price on September 23 -- has been unanimously recommended by Massmart’s board of directors. The total offer is for 16.5 billion rand, or 2.34 billion U.S. dollars.

“We continue to be excited by the opportunity to invest in Massmart's business and to accelerate its growth and expansion in South Africa,” said Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart International.

McMillon said the combination fits well with the corporation’s strategy of being able to enter high growth markets where it can use its global expertise and generate strong returns. Walmart also hopes to be able to connect small farmers with its global supply chain, and thus increase farmer income and improve the quality of their produce.

The Wall Street Journal reports that several labor unions have objected to the proposed combination, saying that Walmart is guilty of poor labor relations and that its entry to South Africa will hurt suppliers.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Number of Shoppers, Average Spending Up Black Friday Weekend

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A trade group that represents the nation’s big chain stores and some local retailers says shopping over the Black Friday weekend has shown improvement over last year.

Estimates from the National Retail Federation indicate that some 212 million shoppers will have visited the nation’s stores between Thursday and Sunday, up from 195 million last year.

The NRF says it believes the average spent by consumers increased as well, up 6.4 percent to $365.34. Total spending topped $45 billion, according to the group.

“While Black Friday weekend is not always an indicator of holiday season performance, retailers should be encouraged that a focus on value and discretionary gifts has shoppers in the spirit to spend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Big Returns on Small Business Saturday?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Now that the dust from Black Friday has settled in shopping malls and megastores across the country, small businesses are hoping for big returns on the country's first ever Small Business Saturday.

Firmly planted between Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- when online retailers offer huge sales -- Small Business Saturday was designed to encourage shoppers across the U.S. to support local merchants in their holiday shopping as a means of driving up local economies.

Over a dozen advocacies along with public and private organizations have joined American Express, the event's primary sponsor, to raise awareness about the importance of small business to local communities.

To support the cause, American Express is offering its cardholders a $25 statement credit on purchases of at least $25 on Small Business Saturday at locally owned independent small businesses.

According to a 2004 study by the Economic Impact, for every $100 consumers spend at a local business, $68 remains in the local economy, whereas only $43 remains in the local economy when that $100 is spent at a chain store. Over the past two decades, small businesses created 65 percent of net new jobs.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Black Friday Crowds Larger than Last Year's

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Major stores like Best Buy, Sears, Macy's and Toys R Us report bigger Black Friday crowds than last year. So do major mall operators. And in a sign that could be encouraging, retailers say they noticed shoppers not just buying for others, but treating themselves, as well.

There was a bit too much enthusiasm in some parts as malls opened early Friday. A New York man is recovering after shoppers trampled him when a Target store in Buffalo let customers in at 4 a.m. In Grand Chute, Wis., police were called when shoppers tried to plow into a Toys R Us with carts. 

The National Retail Federation has said up to 138 million people could hit stores during the post-Thanksgiving holiday weekend and has forecast a 2.3 percent increase in sales during November and December as retailers look for their best holiday season in three years.  Internet research firm Coremetrics reports a 16 percent increase in online sales during the the launch of the holiday shopping season.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Gallup: American Confidence in Economy Up So Far in November

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PRINCETON, NJ) – Americans are more optimistic about the economy than they were a year ago, according to Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index.

The index, which is derived from consumer ratings of the current economic situation and economic outlook, is up to -26 from -29 in October. However, the current figure is actually a decline from a midterm election surge that brought the figure to -22.
The optimism may stick around as the percent of Americans who view the economy as “getting worse” also declined, down to 57 percent from 60 percent in October.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Holidays Come Early: Retailers Seek New Ways to Drive Traffic

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Black Friday is still two weeks away but retailers are already starting some of their big holiday sales. There is growing optimism that consumers may be willing to spend again this holiday season, and it seems stores will do almost anything to get your money.

Dragged down by the recession, 2008 and 2009 were hardly festive for business. But this year, things are looking up. According to the credit card companies, retail sales are up more than 3 percent. Retailers have already added three times as many seasonal workers as last season, and one of the country's bellwethers – Macy’s – rang up better than expected profits last quarter.

“Prices are at a level that are appealing to consumers and there's a lot of product newness out there to stimulate consuming,” retail analyst Dana Telsey said.

The Christmas lights have already been strung up outside a Macy's department store in New York City, where some say they're tired of not spending money -- and what better time to start shopping than the holidays?

“I think people want to spend...that's what I'm noticing,” said one shopper.

That's why big business is getting a head start. Best Buy kicked off its early black Friday sale this week. Holiday sales at Target begin the Sunday before Thanksgiving and launches its online sale a full week before "Cyber Monday."

“E-commerce allows retailers to be able to start the holiday season earlier than they do in their stores,” Telsey said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Retail Sales Expected To Increase During 2010 Holiday Season

Photo Courtesy - National Retail Federation(WASHINGTON) -- The National Retail Federation says holiday retail sales are expected to increase this year by up to 2.3 percent.  Although this year's forecast is below the 2.5-percent increase averaged over the last 10 years, it far surpasses 2009's 0.4-percent increase, as well the -3.9 decline in sales experienced in 2008.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, “Though the retail industry is on stronger footing than last year, companies are closely watching key economic indicators like employment and consumer confidence before getting too optimistic that the recession is behind them.”

The NRF also says that companies are likely to utilize "new channels" including mobile to accommodate shoppers on-the-go and consequently drive sales.

“While consumers have shown they are once again willing to spend on what’s important to them, they will still be very conscientious about price,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D.  He adds that retailers would be wise to anticipate this "shift in shopper mentality" and offer "significant promotions."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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