SUPPLY CHAIN

Amazon to build DC in Kent, Wash.

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle — Amazon said it will open a 1-milllion-sq-.ft. distribution center in Kent, Wash., which will be its fourth in Washington state. IDS Real Estate Group and Clarion Partners are building the site as part of a joint venture.

Amazon’s other Washington fulfillment centers are located in Sumner and Bellevue, and a DuPont site is near completion.

“We’re excited to bring hundreds of great full-time jobs with benefits to Kent and proud to further invest in Washington state with this new fulfillment center,” said Mike Roth, Amazon’s VP of North America operations. “We are grateful to local and state elected officials who have supported Amazon in bringing a new fulfillment center to the state of Washington.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Online shoppers just want to have fun

BY Dan Berthiaume

Austin, Texas – In addition to wanting to efficiently find and purchase products, online shoppers also want to have fun. According to a new survey from Compare Metrics and The E-tailing Group, 70% of shoppers want to go online to browse and have fun, but find current online shopping experiences uninspiring.

When asked about their discovery experiences on top retail sites, shoppers gave a “mixed bag” average rating of six-out-of-10. Other key takeaways from the study include:

• Shoppers have “fear of missing out” or FOMO: 73% of shoppers expressed some form of FOMO by having their product view artificially limited. They felt their searches were often misinterpreted and that applied “absolute” filters cut out product options they would have otherwise considered.

• Too much stuff: 52% of shoppers felt that the majority of current websites have become overwhelming and that 64% of shoppers seek simplicity and a streamlined experience.

• Burned by search: 70% of shoppers used browse-based navigation tools to discover the right product rather than the search box. When asked why, respondents said it was either because they disliked the navigation tool or they had become conditioned to use the search box for only very specific and limited queries.

“Shoppers hunger for differentiation in product, site experience, store visits and navigation tools that allow them to find products in ways that align with how they think,” said Lauren Freedman, president and founder of the e-tailing Group.

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FINANCE

Sears Hometown reports preliminary Q4 net income drop

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hoffman Estates, Ill. – Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. reported preliminary declines in net income, net sales and same-store sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013. Compared to the same quarter a year earlier, Sears Hometown reported net income of $3.72 million, down 61% from $9.66 million.

Preliminary net sales for the quarter decreased 4.5% to $602.5 million from $631.2 million. Preliminary same-store sales dropped 3.4%. Sears Hometown cited the extra week in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, as well as lower sales in several categories including consumer electronics, tools and apparel, for these results.

“Fourth quarter results were disappointing, especially in the Hometown and Hardware segment, where holiday sales and margins of our important Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools significantly underperformed management’s expectations,” said Bruce Johnson, president and CEO. “In the Outlet segment, increased holiday promotional spending did not drive the expected sales increases. Total company January sales were negatively impacted by the unusually severe winter weather in many of our trade areas.”

Preliminary results for the full fiscal year show net income declining 41% to $35.55 million from $60.08 million, and net sales dropping 1.3% to $2.4 billion from $2.43 billion. Same-store sales decreased 2.2%.

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