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Antonio Urcelay named chairman of Toys ‘R’ Us

BY Staff Writer

Wayne, N.Y. — Toys “R” Us CEO Antonio Urcelay has replaced Gerald Storch as chairman of the company. Urcelay, appointed interim CEO at Toys “R” Us in May 2013, was officially named chief executive in October.

Storch, who had previously served as CEO, is stepping down as chairman to dedicate more time to his consulting company, Storch Advisors, Toys “R” Us said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It also noted in the filing that Storch’s resignation from the chairmanship was not due to any disagreement with the company.

In conjunction with his departure, Toys “R” Us named Richard Markee to the board. He has served as executive chairman of Vitamin Shoppe since April 2011 and from 2009 to 2011 he served as CEO.

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IBM: Online retailers rely on mobile traffic, iOS devices

BY Dan Berthiaume

Armonk, N.Y. – Online sales on Monday, Nov. 26 were up nearly 12% from the equivalent Monday a year earlier. Data from the IBM Digital Analytics Holiday Benchmark shows that mobile traffic accounted for nearly 32% of all online traffic, up 42% compared to the same period last year.

Mobile sales remained strong, exceeding 13% of all online sales, up 54% year-over-year. While smartphone traffic accounted for 20% of all online traffic compared to tablets at 11%, when it came to making actual purchases, tablet users drove close to 9% of online sales, which almost doubled smartphones users, who drove 4.6%.

As a percentage of total online sales, iOS was more than four times higher than Android, driving 11.06% vs. 2.5% for Android. On average, iOS users spent $108.68 per order compared to $93.36 for Android users, a difference of 16%. iOS also led as a component of overall traffic with 21.93% compared to 9.75% for Android.

Shoppers referred from Facebook averaged $79.12 per order, which was 16.5% lower than Pinterest referrals, which drove $92.18 per order. However, Facebook referrals converted sales at a 2.6% higher rate than Pinterest referrals, which IBM says perhaps indicates stronger confidence in network recommendations.

Supporting these overall trends, the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark also reported real-time trends across four retail categories this holiday season:

1. Department Stores: Monday total online sales grew by close to 72% from 2012, with mobile sales growing by 54% year-over-year.

2. Health and Beauty: Monday total online sales grew by nearly 38% from 2012, with mobile sales growing by nearly 89% year-over-year.

3. Home Goods: Monday total online sales grew by close to 19% from 2012, with mobile sales growing by 34% year-over-year.

4. Apparel: Monday total online sales grew by close to 15% from2012, with mobile sales growing by close to 49% year-over-year.

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Black Friday tweets mostly positive or neutral

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – A majority of the 348,235 tweets about Black Friday posted between Friday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 24 were either positive or neutral in sentiment. According to analysis from social media research firm Fizziology, tweets about Black Sunday the weekend of Nov. 22-24 were 47% positive, 11% negative, 3% mixed and 39% neutral (from retailers/promotions).

More than half (52%) of the organic conversation (meaning non-promotional or news-related conversation) came from people who said they will participate in Black Friday shopping. Of those who tweeted they are going shopping on Black Friday, 21% are going for the sale, 15% for the social aspect, 11% for a specific product, 9 % for the fun of shopping and 6% for the madness.

Other findings include:

  • 26% of people who said they’re going mentioned a shopping partner (66% will go with friends, 17% will go with a parent and 17% were still looking for someone to shop with).
  • 9% of people who said they’re going have been saving money specifically for the special day.
  • Most popular products mentioned were video games, clothing, shoes and electronics (specifically cameras).
  • 9% of organic mentions came from people saying they won’t participate.
  • 9% of organic mentions came from people calling the holiday immoral, mostly because they think it embodies greed a day after the holiday for giving thanks.
  • 7% of organic conversation came from people who think it’s too crazy/crowded.
  • 4% of organic mentions complained about sales starting on Thanksgiving this year.

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