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A clothing crisis averted as Spring arrives

BY CSA STAFF

Apparel and department store retailers with heavy exposure to the clothing and accessories businesses reported abysmal sales results in January. Saks, Gap and American Eagle led the way down with same-store sales declines of more than 20%, while Target’s women’s business also suffered similar decline. JCPenney and Kohl’s recorded declines of 16.4% and 13.4%, respectively. Department stores such as Dillard’s were in negative-double-digit territory, while Macy’s fare better with drop of 4.5% that seemed respectable compared to others. There’s probably more bad news to come, as year-end results are reported in the weeks ahead, and magnitude of markdowns and the impact on profitability is revealed.

If there is a bright spot amid the reports of negative apparel sales it is this: Markdown activity and more prudent buying have brought inventory levels more in line with the reduced pace of demand seen during the past six months. That is good news heading into the spring and summer selling seasons, especially as there is bound to be a degree of pent-up demand from consumers who have money but are reluctant to spend it and have just endured an exceptionally rough winter. Female customers may be a little more price-sensitive than normal, but as always, they are likely to respond to fresh looks and must-have styles.

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Johnson named SVP DIY and chief marketer at Advance Auto

BY CSA STAFF

ROANOKE, Va. Advance Auto Parts announced the appointment of Greg Johnson as SVP DIY and chief marketing officer. Johnson’s responsibilities include all functions related to the DIY customer including value propositions, customer insights, sales development, market research, and related areas. He will also serve as chief marketing officer for the company and be responsible for marketing, advertising and brand development.

Prior to joining Advance, Johnson most recently served as SVP marketing, strategy and communications for Best Buy. While at Best Buy, he also served as VP consumer marketing and strategy and VP customer centricity.

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Study: Shoppers prefer Walmart for health and beauty purchases

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, OHIO The majority of shoppers shop Walmart most often for their health and beauty aid purchases, according to the January Retail Ratings Report from BIGresearch.

BIGresearch found that 33.3% of consumers surveyed chose Walmart for their health and beauty purchases, followed by Target (8.1%) and CVS (7.8%).

Walmart’s share of preference increased from 29.7% in January 2008, resulting in a Consumer Equity Index of 111.81. Second place Target’s consumer share increased, with a CEI of 127.14, while third place CVS’ CEI of 121.24 shows positive growth for the corner druggist as well. (*CEI measures growth in share of customer preference year-over-year. An index of 100 is flat, while an index of 105 indicates 5% growth.)

“Price continues to be the driving force behind where consumers shop for staples such as medications and shampoos,” said Pam Goodfellow, senior analyst for BIGresearch. “For instance, we know that practical, budget-bound shoppers who switched their store for prescription drugs in the past year did so primarily based on high prices and the lack of a $4 generic program.”

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