Entries in Retailers (17)


Lower Interchange Fees Could Mean Higher Checking Fees

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) - A top Federal Reserve official Thursday acknowledged that banks may turn to higher checking and other fees to make up for a proposed cut to debit interchange fees for retailers that resulted in huge stock cuts for Visa and Mastercard.

Representation for retailers testified Thursday before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit to rally for the proposed cuts, which could cut interchange fees by an average of 73 percent. They called the fees, which are the charge retailers pay for accepting debit and credit cards, a huge cost with no price competition.

“The inability of merchants to go to a competitor bank to get a better deal on swipe fees is simply devastating,” said Doug Kantor, an attorney representing the Merchants Payments Coalition.

Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin said banks may make up for the higher-than-expected fee decrease by increasing fees in other areas.

“Card issuers may choose to make up their lost interchange fee revenue by imposing higher fees, or reducing rewards programs, for debit card use or for deposit accounts in general. On the other hand, consumers will benefit to the extent merchants pass on their interchange fee savings in the form of lower prices,” Raskin said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clothing Prices Expected to Rise by 10 Percent

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Low inflation, cheap overseas labor and low materials cost have kept clothing prices in the U.S. low for years but those bargains may soon be coming to an end.

Retail and consumer experts at Strategic Resource Group say clothing prices are projected to go up by 10 percent or more as the year goes on, with the biggest increase expected to occur during back-to-school time.  The price hikes are due to the price of cotton doubling over the past year and a steep increase in the cost of creating synthetic fabrics.

Virtually all of the popular brand names will be affected, including Levi Strauss, North Face, Nautica, Wrangler and Lee.

Hardest hit will be those retailers catering specifically to middle- and lower-income shoppers, who will likely shy away from paying more for clothing and accessories.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Storm May Deliver Better Deals for Consumers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Retailers may be feeling the holiday blues as a powerful snowstorm in the Northeast keeps thousands of residents stuck in their homes.  But that could also mean good news for consumers, as retailers further mark down already-reduced merchandise to push inventory out their doors.

The current storm comes during what is an important week for stores and bargain hunters.  Post-Christmas sales can contribute more than 15 percent of a retailer's total holiday sales, according to the National Retail Federation.

But road closures and dangerous conditions tend to deter shoppers from getting to stores.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for market researcher NPD Group, said the storm has been "brutal" for retailers, which will have to scramble to recover their lost sales.

"Because of the storm, the stores lose a chance for a first impression," Cohen told ABC News.  "When consumers return merchandise, it may be the first time they enter a store or go shopping, so they see the crowds, the discounts, etc.  If you lose that chance for a first impression, you lose a lot....Holidays just got shortchanged because of this snowstorm."

Cohen estimated that because of the snowstorm that began Sunday -- expected to be one of the top six days of retail for 2010 -- stores would lose about 0.5 percent of their total holiday sales.

Yet other experts say the blizzard wasn't enough to dampen the spirit of post-holiday shoppers, especially because so many stores opened as early as 5 a.m. and the storm didn't limit people's mobility until around dinner time.

Right before the year ends retailers tend to reduce prices in an effort to unload their inventory and make room for next season's new merchandise and products.  That desperation to offload merchandise may mean good news for bargain hunters who are not quite ready to put away their credit cards.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Holiday Shopping Hope: Retail Sales Up

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- With Christmas just days away, it seems Americans are opening their wallets and spending again.

The Saturday before Christmas, known as "Super Saturday" was the second-biggest shopping day so far this year, according to new data from Shoppertrak.  Sales for Saturday were up 15 percent from last year and consumers are spending a $1 billion more.

"It's clearly a different move than what we saw last year.  There's more energy, it's more exciting, the consumers are certainly more interested in participating in the event," said Bill Martin with Shoppertrak.

The good news for retailers is that they don't have to entice shoppers with extreme discounts as they did in the last two holiday seasons.

"What's happening now is what's left in the store, it's the type of things they want to move.  And they believe they can move them with a not as deep a discount as they had last year," said Martin.

The days leading up to Christmas are crucial as stores try to empty their shelves.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Cyber Monday: Record Number of Retailers Peddle Online Deals

Photo Courtesy - ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While brick-and-mortar stores have Black Friday to kick off the holiday spending spree, online the world belongs to Cyber Monday. This year, record numbers of retailers are promoting special deals for the shopping day.

"Almost any retailer with a website is really getting into the Cyber Monday craziness and chaos," said Ellen Davis, vice president of the National Retail Federation. A survey conducted by the nonprofit found that nearly 90 percent of retailers have some sort of Cyber Monday promotion, up from 73 percent last year.

"What we are seeing for Cyber Monday specifically: a lot of free shipping deals, one-day sales, percentages off the entire site, which is great if you're a holiday shopper looking to save," Davis said., a division of the National Retail Federation, coined the phrase "Cyber Monday" to illustrate the trend of people shopping online the Monday after Thanksgiving, when shoppers coming back from holiday travels or unsuccessful Black Friday trips started to troll websites for seasonal bargains.

Cyber Monday is still in its infancy but is slated for huge growth. Market research firm comScore reported Cyber Monday sales of $887 million last year, an increase of 5 percent over 2008. The company expects sales to grow even higher this year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Christmas In, Holidays Out for Retailers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUPELO, Miss.) -- Retailers around the country are increasingly feeling the "Christmas" spirit.

According to the American Family Association, there has been an increase in the number of businesses using the word "Christmas" to replace politically-correct terms such as "holiday" and "season." reports that according to AFA figures, the number of retailers using the word "Christmas" in their marketing campaigns has risen from 20 to 80 percent over the past five years.

However, some businesses prefer to stick to what some have deemed "politically-correct" terms, one of those businesses being Dick's Sporting Goods, which has become the target of an AFA boycott campaign.

The AFA has issued an alert calling for shoppers to stay away from Dick's and to contact the chain’s management to voice their protest.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Last Minute Holiday Shoppers Get Deals, if Not Selection

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Timing your shopping throughout the year to get great deals is always a good strategy, but it becomes especially valuable as the holidays approach.

One example of well-timed buying might be for those who need patio furniture.  Buy it now - it's a great deal because retailers are trying to clear out inventory.

The personal finance website says you should also be looking ahead to your holiday shopping, but not necessarily buying right now, despite the holiday promotions cropping up in stores around the country.

"Hold off a little and they'll start discounting those items as we get closer to the holiday," said Kiplinger's Robert Long.

Toy companies say they expect people to hold off this year until the very end of the season, hoping for those deals. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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