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Accenture holiday survey sees holiday spending flat with last year, online continues to grow

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Shoppers will maintain a tight grip on their wallets as they hit the stores this holiday season, with 83% expecting to spend the same or less on holiday gifts compared with 2009, according to the latest Accenture consumer holiday shopping survey. Two thirds of consumers (65%) plan to spend at least $250 on their holiday shopping this year, in line with spending in 2009.

The popularity of shopping online for holiday gifts continues to grow, with 41% of respondents buying at least half of their holiday gifts online and 38% planning to spend between $100 and $250 online.

“The 2010 holiday shopping season will be spectacularly unspectacular for many consumers, but that will suit retailers who remember well the turbulence of Holiday ’08,” said Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “Our data suggests that consumer spending will be flat compared to last year, aided by a continuation of conservative discounting by stores and the limited discretionary income of many shoppers.”

The survey also revealed that discounts will be the key motivator for most consumers this year. The vast majority (93%) of consumers said that discounts and sales for items were either important or very important for their holiday purchases. In fact, 40% said that they would buy all or mostly discounted items (up from 36% in 2009), and only 13% said that they were willing to pay full price to buy specific gifts this year.

The study also highlighted a rise in consumer apathy toward the “Black Friday” shopping tradition. Fifty-three percent of consumers said that they were unlikely to shop on Black Friday, or they have not yet decided (up from 48%  in 2009). Conversely, the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, as 69% of respondents said they will be buying holiday gifts online this year, up from 64% in 2009.

“The increase in the number of homes with broadband Internet access means that many shoppers will prefer to stay at home and bag the offers online rather than brave the crowds,” Hoffman said. Combined with this, over recent years we’ve seen retailers maintain their discounts throughout the season rather than focusing activity around Black Friday.”

In other findings:

 

— Discount stores will once again be a key destination for shoppers (81% this year). Holiday dollars will also be spread across electronics stores (33%), department stores (44% and specialty stores (36%).

— Free shipping continues to be the biggest motivation for an increasing number of consumers to shop online.

— Four out of five consumers (79% ) said that they were likely or very likely to shop more on tax-free shopping days during the holidays if it was offered by their city or state.

— Forty-seven percent of consumers said they will make sacrifices and cut back on gifts for themselves, while 43% will cut spending on gifts for friends. Consumers are least likely to reduce spending on their children (24%).

— Gift cards (56%), apparel (57% ) and toys (41%) will be the most popular choices for gifts this year.  

— One surprising statistic in this year’s holiday survey is the low number of consumers planning to buy the hot technology items of the year as holiday gifts. Only 4% expect to buy a tablet computer and just 7% have an e-reader on their shopping list.

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Borders names new merchandising VP

BY CSA STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Borders Group announced that it is welcoming back Kathryn Popoff as VP merchandising, overseeing the promotion and merchandising of adult trade and bargain books. An 18-year retail industry veteran, she joined Borders Group in 2002 as director of multimedia. She was named director merchandising for adult trade books in 2004, and was promoted in 2007 to VP merchandising, a post she held until Nov. 2009.

Larry Norton, who formerly served as SVP merchandising will transition into the role of SVP business development and publisher relations. Norton will now concentrate on long-term strategies to strengthen the book sector, including partnering with publishers and e-book provider Kobo to develop digital content with the overall goal of aggressively growing the company’s e-book business. He will also work with publishers on initiatives directly related to lowering costs and increasing efficiencies within the supply chain

Children’s merchandising director Renee Rockwood, a merchant with more than 16 years of experience, will now oversee gifts and stationery, children’s toys and games and the company’s expansion of adult games and puzzles. In addition, Rockwood will continue to manage the merchandising and promotion of the children’s category.

Borders also recently welcomed 27-year book industry veteran Mike Ferrari as merchandising director trade books. Prior to coming to Borders, Ferrari served in a variety of capacities at Barnes & Noble, including director digital content for Barnes & Noble.com, director merchandising, divisional merchandising director, senior buyer and buyer on the corporate side.

Joanna Goldstein will move into the role of VP non-book merchandising, having previously served as VP marketing. In her new position, she will oversee the digital device and accessory category as well as calendar, newsstand and multimedia. Goldstein brings several years of experience to her new role having previously directed the merchandising and promotion of many of these categories.

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Pfresh pause gives TGT time

BY CSA STAFF

Target doesn’t need to be in a hurry to return new stores construction to pre-recession levels now that it has the Pfresh remodel program to keep it occupied through 2012 and beyond. By year end, Target expects to have remodeled roughly 340 stores to the Pfresh format, which will give it a total of 450 Pfresh stores. Next year, another 400 remodels are on tap for the Pfresh conversion process, and with that pace expected to continue Target will need all of 2013, 2014 and much of 2015 to complete the chain-wide remodeling program.

By the time the effort is complete, the company’s product mix is going to look very different than it does today, as food and other consumable products grow to account for an increasingly larger percentage of sales. This phenomenon is already taking place. At the end of the most recent fiscal year, the category of food and pet supplies had grown to represent 16% of sales of $65.4 billion compared with 13% of sales of $63.4 billion two year earlier. A similar situation exists with the category Target defines as household essentials. Sales in that category stood at 23% last year compared with 21% two years earlier.

Both categories are expected to be up even more sharply by the time Target reports its full-year results next spring as results from the surge of Pfresh remodels completed this year are included in the results along with the effect of increasing promotional activity in food and consumable categories that has seen those categories regularly among the top performers at Target.

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