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Best Buy Q2 profit, same-store sales down but online traffic up 22%

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Best Buy Co. earned $146 million in the second quarter, down from $266 million in the year-ago period, topping analysts earnings estimates even as its revenue fell short. Its results were helped by ongoing cost reductions. Best Buy cut $40 million in annual costs last quarter, bringing the total to $900 million.

For the quarter ended Aug. 3, revenue dropped to $8.89 billion from $9.27 billion. Analysts had expected $8.99 billion. Same-store sales fell 2.7%, which was more than analysts had expected.

Online sales rose 22%, helped by the company’s new ship-from-store capabilities.

“Like other retailers and as reflected in this quarter’s performance, we continued to see a shift in consumer behavior: consumers are increasingly researching and buying online,” stated Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly. “As a result, traffic to our brick and mortar stores continued to decline, yet our in-store conversion and online traffic continued to increase due to the execution of our Renew Blue strategy, which is in direct alignment with this shift.”

Best Buy’s Renew Blue strategy is designed to grow its online business, enhance its in-store customer experience, and leverage its multichannel capabilities.

“Looking ahead, our goal is to continue to create a differentiated multi-channel customer experience such that every interaction customers have with us, regardless of channel, makes them a promoter of the Best Buy brand,” Joly said. “In support of this, we will be intensifying our investments in customer-facing initiatives across both channels in the back half of the year.”

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Ace Hardware sets off on cross-country tour

BY CSA STAFF

Ace Hardware is kicking off its J.D. Power Award Neighborhood Tour for the second year in a row. Recently ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores" for the eighth year in a row by J.D. Power, Ace will celebrate the achievement by taking all eight J.D. Power trophies on the road, visiting 38 states and more than 175 neighborhood stores.

Following the success of the inaugural J.D. Power Award Neighborhood Tour earlier this year, the latest tour will occur in two phases. The first phase, spanning more than 12 weeks, launched this week and will last through November, with the trophies making stops in 22 states east of the Mississippi River and covering more than 12,000 miles. The tour's second phase will start in January and last through April 2015 with the trophies making stops in 16 states west of the Mississippi River, covering more than 12,000 miles.

Ace's J.D. Power Award Neighborhood Tour will honor Ace retailers who provide their customers with what the company calls “a more personal kind of helpful.”

"We are honored and humbled to receive this recognition from our valued customers for the eighth year in a row," said John Venhuizen, president and CEO, Ace Hardware Corporation. "We believe we are blessed to be in the business of serving others, so it is encouraging to see our local Ace owners and their teams of 'helpful hardware folks' ranked so highly by consumers. I know the Ace team views these awards not with arrogance, but with a humbled determination to even better serve their communities."

Customers will have the opportunity to take a photo with the prestigious trophies at each event throughout the J.D. Power Award Neighborhood Tour, as well as have the opportunity to win prizes and take advantage of in-store promotions in appreciation for their continued support of locally owned businesses like Ace Hardware.

Ace Hardware has received the ranking of "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores" since J.D. Power began this study eight years ago. The study is based on responses from more than 2,900 consumers who purchased home improvement products or services within the previous 12 months. Ace Hardware ranked highest among major retailers with an overall satisfaction index score of 791 on a 1,000-point scale. The score is based on performance in five areas: merchandise, price, sales and promotions, staff and service, and store facility.

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Study: Businesses hindered by lack of reliable and consolidated data sources

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Poor data collection and linkage practices are leaving organizations unable to move forward with key business goals, according to a new study by Experian Data Quality, a part of Experian Marketing Services.

The report, “Finding insight through data collection and linkage,” finds that while most organizations are looking to leverage data better to drive consumer insight, they are hindered by a lack of reliable and consolidated data sources.

“While most organizations have started Big Data programs and are investing in analytics, the majority of companies still struggle to collect accurate data and link customer information across channels to develop reliable data sources,” said Thomas Schutz, senior VP and general manager for Experian Data Quality.

Experian Data Quality also found that:

• Eighty-three percent of companies have started a Big Data program.

• Ninety-four percent of companies believe their customer and prospect data might be inaccurate in some way.

• Eighty-three percent of companies struggle to link customer information across channels.

“The data-driven culture in which we operate today does not function without a foundation of data quality,” added Schutz. “Organizations need to review data collection and linkage practices to take advantage of their data sources better for insight.”

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