REAL ESTATE

7-Eleven to add 630 stores in 2012

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — 7-Eleven Inc. said that it plans to add 630 new stores in the United States and Canada by yearend. In 2011, the chain added some 600 locations, with the stores either built, acquired or transitioned from another business to the 7-Eleven banner

“7-Eleven’s U.S. growth strategy includes building greater market presence and adding quality locations in metropolitan areas where the company already has stores as a means to increase efficiencies and leverage the company’s scale and daily-delivery infrastructure," said 7-Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto in a statement.

In 2012, 7-Eleven is re-entering two markets — Jacksonville, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C. — where it previously had operated stores until the 1980s. The company also has announced plans to double its 20-store presence in Manhattan in the next year and grow to about 135 units by 2017.

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FINANCE

Hhgregg Q4 profit surges on insurance payout

BY Staff Writer

Indianapolis — Hhgregg Inc.’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings jumped as the chain collected $39.6 million in life insurance proceeds due to the death of executive chairman and former CEO Jerry W. Throgmartin.

Throgmartin, who died Jan. 22 at age 57, served as chairman and CEO of Hhgregg from 2003 to 2009 and led it through a 2007 initial public offering of stock. Hhgregg said Wednesday it collected the proceeds from a "key man" life insurance policy.

Overall, the chain earned $53.6 million in the three months that ended March 31, up from $14.6 million in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 21% to $613.8 million. Same-store sales edged down slightly.

Hhgregg added 35 stores in the past year, and it cited that expansion as the primary reason behind sales growth.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: E-mail, QR codes retailers’ preferred marketing tools

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — With more than 60 million Americans forecast to own a tablet computer by the end of this year, retailers say tablets are driving an increasingly larger share of their web revenue. According to the 2012 Shop.org/Forrester Research Inc.’s State of Retailing Online survey, 49% of retailers say their average order value via a tablet is now higher than traditional web sales. Nearly three in 10 (28%) retailers say they are seeing about the same average order value from tablets as their website.

When it comes to actual sales retailers are reporting, the survey found tablet and smartphone sales as a percent of retailers’ total web sales in 2011 were 3.2% and 1.5%, respectively.

“Retailers must continue to look for unique ways to elevate their brand in such a competitive market. Tablets and mobile devices offer the perfect answer, with opportunities to create specialized apps, drive web sales and create an engaging and convenient shopping experience,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “Overall, we expect smartphone shopping adoption rates to stay low but fully believe tablet sales will continue to change how retailers garner the attention of new and current customers. With tablet usage marching towards true ubiquity, retailers will continue to plan ahead by examining their customers’ behaviors and shopping patterns.”

For retailers, search and email are still king. Eight in 10 retailers say search and email are the top two drivers of a company’s web traffic from either a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, retailers surveyed report that, on average, 20% of emails opened in a given campaign are opened on a mobile device.

Additionally, QR codes have become more standard elements of retailers’ mobile marketing efforts within their stores and in advertising. Three-quarters (75%) say they now offer customers the 2D technology and other barcode scanning options.

For companies with less than $10 million and more than $100 million in annual online sales, QR codes rank as the leading mobile marketing tool in terms of usage. Mid-size retailers rely more heavily on mobile email optimization, with QR codes coming in second.

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