OPERATIONS

Consumer Reports Index: Consumer sentiment drops

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Yonkers, N.Y. — After three consecutive months of improvement, the Consumer Reports Index for March slipped to 46.1, from 49.6 last month.

March’s Consumer Reports Index measures overall consumer financial health and showed that the confidence of the American consumer is waning.

Further challenging consumer confidence, The Trouble Tracker Index increased slightly this month to 52.2 from 49.1 in February, and is now at its highest level since August 2011.

Retail has yet to regain its footing after holidays, as Americans continue to pull back on spending. Consumer Reports Past 30-Day Retail Index fell slightly to 11.5 from 11.8 last month, a pattern similar to last year. Planned purchasing over the next 30 days, reflecting anticipated March activity, is 8.7, up from 7.1 the prior month, seeding hopes for an upturn in the near term.

"Consumers are not yet comfortable in their financial situation as the country limps into its fifth year of near-recessionary times," said Ed Farrell, director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center. "Weak retail is the symptom, not an underlying cause. Consumers will need a clear signal led by a greatly improved jobs outlook to resume spending."

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Walgreens implements Foursquare mobile coupon program

BY Michael Johnsen

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced the availability of an exclusive new offering for customers that check in at any Walgreens store nationwide through Foursquare.

The drugstore chain said customers that check in via Foursquare instantly will receive a unique scannable coupon via their smartphone, which is redeemable in the store and does not require texting, reply or other steps.


“We’re using mobile technology and social media to better engage Walgreens customers, to give them convenient channels to interact with us and to deliver products, services and savings they truly value,” said Sona Chawla, Walgreens president of e-commerce. “Foursquare shares our commitment to innovation and together we’ve developed some unique, breakthrough offerings that cater to today’s tech-savvy consumers. With this program, it’s just check in and the coupon is displayed instantly.”

Walgreens first introduced mobile coupons through its mobile applications in November. One of the largest retail mobile coupon offering in the United States was launched on “Black Friday,” with point-of-sale scanning available at all of Walgreens locations. The mobile initiative helped generate more than 500,000 downloads of Walgreens’ mobile application in December, the pharmacy operator reported.

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Victoria’s Secret continues m-commerce push

BY Staff Writer

New York City — A Tuesday report by Mobile Commerce Daily said that Victoria’s Secret is furthering its m-commerce initiative by running mobile commerce-enabled ads that allow consumers to shop directly from their handsets no matter where they are.

The ads are running within Us Weekly’s mobile site.

Two different ads encourage consumers to tap on the ad to be redirected to the company’s landing page, where they can shop the advertised promotions.

Victoria’s Secret is also alerting users whether or not a certain product is in stock. According to the report, the Victoria’s Secret ads are an example of a sophisticated ad campaign because it leads users to a specific page inside the mobile site, which helps drive sales.

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