OPERATIONS

Best Buy issues statement regarding online order cancellations

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — After a slew of online orders were cancelled in November and December when Best Buy couldn’t keep up with demand, the company issued the following statement on Tuesday:

“What was wrong is that there was an unacceptable delay between order confirmations and cancellations, and for that we are very sorry,” said Susan Busch, senior director of Best Buy’s public relations. “It’s important to note that this was a rare situation based on a high volume of orders over a short period of time.”

Busch said that Best Buy was giving electronic gift cards to affected customers as a goodwill gesture.

Best Buy cited overwhelming demand of hot product offerings, which led to less than 1% of orders’ being canceled, according to Busch. Customers expressed their frustration in Best Buy’s online forums, with some parents commenting that the retailer had ruined Christmas for their children.

Some customers in the forum accused Best Buy of committing fraud, as the retailer’s cancellations could be seen as a deliberate bait-and-switch tactic designed to lure customers into its store with false promises of hot sales, depriving them of the ability to buy the items from a rival store.

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Carrefour to sell, lease-back 97 stores

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Paris — A Tuesday report by the Wall Street Journal said that French retailer Carrefour SA has sold 97 supermarket sites to an investment company for $477 million.

Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer after Wal-Mart Stores, will continue to operate the sites through 12-year leases under its Carrefour Markets banner. The company said the sales and lease-backs will allow it to optimize the use of its capital, which will be reinvested into other real estate.

Carrefour said it has multiple renewal options for the 97 supermarkets it has sold to La Francaise AM, a investment fund majority-owned by Crédit Mutuel Nord. The leases are worth 6.5% of the sale price, including transfer duties, Carrefour said.

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IBM: December online shopping remains strong through the holiday

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — The IBM Benchmark Report, released Tuesday, showed continued strength for online retailers.

According to the report, which provided a snapshot of online retail data for December 25 and December 26 as of 12 pm PST, Christmas Day online sales grew by 16.4% year-over-year. And 18.3% of all online sessions on a retailer’s site were initiated from a mobile device, up from 8.4% on Christmas Day 2010 — an increase of 117.8%.

Other report highlights included:

  • Sales from mobile devices reached 14.4% versus 5.3% on Christmas Day 2010 — an increase of 172.9%;
  • The iPad led all mobile device Christmas Day traffic at 7%, followed by iPhone at 6.4% and Android at 5%;
  • On Dec. 26, online sales were up 10% year-over-year as of noon PST;
  • 18.7% of all online sessions on a retailer’s site were initiated from a mobile device on Dec. 26; and
  • Sales from mobile devices were at 13.8% when last measured on Dec. 26.

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