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America’s Research Group: Economic hardships affect holiday shopping

BY Dan Berthiaume

Charleston, S.C. – One-third (33%) of U.S. families are making less money as a result of job loss, moving to a part-time job and/or working at a lower-paying job.

In addition, according to three recent consumer surveys from America’s Research Group (ARG), 40% of parents are trying to save as much money as they can for their children’s college education, 38% of families did not take a vacation this year of four days or longer, and 44% of parents will do most of their back-to-school apparel shopping in December when the deals are better.

"All these things are going to affect Christmas shopping,” said Britt Beemer, chairman and CEO of ARG. “What is going to happen this year is going to be that families are not going to be able to have anything extra to splurge on and that’s the issue. Last year, 38% of adults did not buy gifts for each other, that number will likely be higher this year.”

The ARG research consisted of three national surveys: one conducted the first weekend in October; a back-to-school shopping survey conducted the second week in July; and the survey conducted the weekend after Labor Day weekend.

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Report: Saks settles investors suits related to HBC buyout

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Saks Inc. has settled lawsuits from investors related to its proposed buyout by Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). According to Bloomberg, Saks has reached an agreement that reduces the termination fee it would pay HBC in the event the purchase does not happen and reduces the time Saks has to seek alternative offers

In July 2013, HBC made a $2.4 billion bid to buy Saks. The figure is about 30% higher than Saks’ closing value on May 20, 2013, the day before it became public Saks was considering a sale. Saks detailed its plan to settle investor suits in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Report: Penney denies Twitter allegations

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – J.C. Penney Co. has reportedly been defending itself against anonymous allegations made on Twitter. According to Bloomberg, J.C. Penney recently had to publicly deny tweets saying the company had hired a bankruptcy attorney and no longer had Canadian credit.

J.C. Penney’s stock fell almost 9% on Oct. 15, the date the bankruptcy tweet appeared, and fell almost 5% on Oct. 18, the date the tweet about Canadian credit appeared. Analysts say anonymous Twitter attacks are not likely to become a common problem for companies, but J.C. Penney is vulnerable to social media attacks due to its recent troubles.

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