FINANCE

Activist hedge fund gets anonymous PetSmart ‘internal change’ tip

BY Staff Writer

New York — Activist hedge fund Jana Partners revealed on Monday that it received an anonymous package detailing a PetSmart presentation around improving results over the next two quarters.

According to Jana in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a cover letter accompanied the presentation, saying that PetSmart had “missed internal projections.” Jana said it sent the documents back to the company, asking the board to “promptly release such materials after redacting any such competitively sensitive information.”

Jana, which has a 9.8% stake in PetSmart, has been calling on the company to conduct a financial review of its options and consider a sale after what it calls years of financial underperformance. Neither Jana nor PetSmart have commented publically on the tip.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Staples Back-to-School study: Canadians look for value

BY Staff Writer

Toronto — According to the Staples’ Annual Back-to-School study evaluating the back-to-school shopping habits of Canadian customers, value is the top priority; 81% of Canadians say they look for a retailer that offers good value.

Highlights from the annual survey include:

• 81% of back-to-school shoppers look for a retailer that offers good value;

• Nearly three quarters (74%) of Canadian back-to-school shoppers prepare their own lists;

• Almost as many (71%) make their own budget;

• While late August and early September are the busiest times for retailers, more than half of back-to-school shoppers (54%) consider shopping in July. And more than a third (36%) consider shopping in June;

• Half of back-to-school shoppers (49%) find the season stressful – parents (51%) more than students (46%); and

• Thirty-three percent of Canadians, more than 11 million, will shop for school supplies this year, the same as in 2013.

"The study reveals how important the back-to-school season is to Canadian families," says Steve Matyas, president of Staples Canada.

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News

ECRM: Retail circular advertising trends, July 2014

BY CSA STAFF

ECRM compared retail circular advertising in July 2013 versus July 2014 and noted trends occurring across top retail chains. The start of the back-to-school season saw large decreases in these metrics for both Staples and Walmart across the board. Walmart continued its trend of smaller, less dense, highly-targeted and themed circulars. It barely touched on BTS on the front pages of its July 2013 circulars, with only a small laptop ad and some apparel promotions. 2014 saw a more concentrated effort as early as 7/13, prominently featuring notebooks, glue sticks, and crayons. Additional BTS-focused circulars included lunchtime grocery items and college dorm furniture/appliances, as well as an apparel-focused circular similar to the year prior.

Staples followed a similar trend in downsizing, with less-cluttered pages and better imagery. Additionally, it switched tactics this year by featuring its “110% Price Match Guarantee” and incentivizing a large stock-up trip with an offer for 25% all school supplies with purchase of a backpack. Last year, it instead focused on low-budget price points, prominently featuring 1¢ and 25¢ items.

About ECRM’s Business Intelligence:
ECRM’s Ad Comparisons technology captures promotional data from the top U.S. and Canadian retailers in all major markets. Ad Comparisons captures more than 40 metrics for each ad block and provides hundreds of analytic reports to put the advertising data in context. Ad Comparisons takes an individual approach to ensure all data and reports fit the needs of each user.

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