Posts Tagged ‘Wal-Mart’

Black Friday Sales Bring Holiday Cheer to Nation’s Retailers

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Black Friday holiday sales set a record in 2012 with 247 million shoppers visiting the malls or shopping online. That’s 21 million more people than in 2011.  Total sales topped $59.1 billion.  The typical holiday shopper spent $423 over the weekend, a $25 increase over the $398 recorded last year.  The National Retail Federation (NRF) defines the “Black Friday weekend” as the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.  One of the big stories is that online spending alone soared past the $1 billion mark for the first time ever, according to comScore.

Cyber sales rose 26 percent compared with one year ago, when shoppers spent $816 million.  This year, the average online shopper spent $172.42 over the Black Friday weekend, nearly 40.7 percent of their total purchases.  Of online shoppers surveyed by NRF, 27 percent reported making purchases on Thanksgiving Day, while 47.5 percent shopped on Black Friday itself.  Amazon.com was the most-visited retail website, followed by Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and Apple.

Retailers’ door-buster specials drew shoppers to the stores.  “There’s no question that millions of people were drawn to retailers’ aggressive online promotions this weekend, making sure to research and compare prices days in advance to ensure they were getting the best deal they could,” said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow.  “However, with shopper traffic increasing at department, discount, and clothing stores over the weekend, it’s clear that consumers still recognize Black Friday as one of the biggest in-store shopping days of the year, as they have for decades.”

The NRF had forecast that worries over the possibility of the fiscal cliff and the anemic jobs market might put a damper on holiday spending.  Its guesstimate is that holiday spending will rise just 4.1 percent this year, compared with 5.6 percent in 2011.  A survey by ShopperTrak found that 307.57 million Americans shopped in stores, a 3.5 percent increase over last year.  Bill Martin, ShopperTrak’s founder, is more optimistic.  He notes that store traffic hasn’t reached this level since 2006, possibly marking a return to pre-recession levels and could be a sign of recovery.  “We’ve seen that consumers are willing to shop a few extra stores,” Martin noted.  “This could translate into more impulse buying and stronger sales.”

Wal-Mart Shakes Up Grocery Scene

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Wal-Mart’s growth strategy is poised to overtake Jewel and Dominick’s as the leader in Chicago’s $12 billion grocery market.  Though not viewed primarily as a place to buy food, Wal-Mart’s new super centers, offer savings in the 10 to 15 percent range over traditional grocery stores.  Wal-Mart currently has 16 grocery stores in Chicago’s suburbs, eight of which have opened in the last 15 months.

This move is part of a national trend favoring big-box retailers which buy in larger volume and have greater control over their supply chains to offset pricing.  It will be interesting to see if Wal-Mart’s move affects the top of the market, where boutique stores like Whole Foods and Wild Oats have captured the market for organic produce.

Wal-Mart is not shy about its expansion plans for the Chicago market.  Union and political resistance stalled plans to add to the single Wal-Mart store within city limits.  Suburban communities, on the other hand, welcome the tax dollars that Wal-Mart brings to them.  Current plans call for Wal-Mart to add seven new grocery stores in the Chicago area over the next year.

Signs of Optimism Amid Battered Consumer Confidence

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Layoffs and the promise of more to come, falling home prices and shrinking investment portfolios have created the highest level of consumer pessimism on record, says the Conference Board.  According to an online AP report, consumer confidence sank to just 38 in October, a significant drop from the rather rosy 61.4 reported in September. The Conference Board is a nonprofit business membership and research organization that is best known for its Consumer Confidence Index and the index of Leading Economic Indicators.  Its membership includes top executives and industry leaders from the world’s most respected corporations.  Consumer opinion is crucial because spending equals approximately 70 percent of all economic activity.

Despite the Conference Board’s report, good news does exist on the retail front.  Discount big-box stores are the bright spots, and Costco was the big winner.  The firm closed out its fiscal year on August 31, 2008, with sales up 13 percent compared with the previous year.  During September, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., reported a 2.4 percent rise in sales as cash-strapped shoppers purchased food and medicine from the retailer.  Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club warehouse division reported an increase of 4.6 percent.  The more upscale Target Corporation reported that its net retail sales during the five-week period ending October 4 increased by 2.5 percent.