FINANCE

Convergys holiday survey: Big online spending yet to come

BY CSA STAFF

Cincinnati — A survey released Monday by Convergys said that many consumers have yet to complete their holiday shopping — and many of those will do that shopping online.

According to Convergys’ 2010 Holiday Shopping Season Research, which polled 500+ consumers on their holiday shopping plans; 18% of consumers have already completed their holiday shopping; but 27% have not yet started; and 50% are only half done.

Consumers are 33% more likely to have done the majority of their shopping in a physical store as opposed to online, according to the survey results. More than half (57%) have completed most of their shopping in a physical store, and 43% have completed most of their shopping online.

Fifty-six percent of the shopping that consumers have left to do is planned to take place online. Twenty-two percent plan to do the majority of their shopping online but visit physical stores first to see what they want before hunting for the best bargains.

Results showed that the more a customer anticipates they will spend, the more likely they are to be doing the majority of their shopping online. More than half (52%) plan to spend about as much as they did last year, but the rest are 80% more likely to be planning to reduce spend as opposed to increasing. About 17% anticipate they will increase spend compared with last year, and 31% anticipate they will decrease spend compared with last year.

On average, consumers expect to spend $588 on holiday gift shopping this year.

The survey also uncovered service factors; among them, 69% of consumers said a positive or negative customer service experience affects their holiday spirit. Consumers anticipating they will spend $1,000 or more this holiday season are the most sensitive to good and bad experiences (78% yes versus 67% for the rest).

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FINANCE

Pantry reports profit drop in Q4, swings to loss for full-year

BY CSA STAFF

Cary, N.C. — C-store chain The Pantry reported Tuesday that net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30 dropped to $8.5 million, compared with $12.5 million in the year-ago period.

Merchandise revenue for the fourth quarter increased 12% overall and 5.7% on a same-store basis from last year’s fourth quarter.

For the full year, the company reported a net loss of $165.6 million compared with net income of $54.1 million in fiscal 2009. Merchandise revenue rose 8.4% to $1.8 billion, and same-store merchandise sales increased 5.6% for the year.

The company operates 1,672 stores in 13 states, mostly under the Kangaroo Express banner.

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FINANCE

CareerBuilder survey: One bad hire costs business more than $50,000 on average

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago — According to a survey released Monday by CareerBuilder and conducted by Harris Interactive, 80% of retail companies report that a bad hire has adversely affected their business in the last year, meaning that hiring the right employees will become a top priority in 2011.

Nearly one-quarter (23%) of the 254 U.S. retail hiring managers surveyed said that one bad hire cost their business more than $50,000 in the last year. One-third (33%) said that one bad hire cost them more than $25,000.

When asked how a poor hire affected their business in the last year,
retail employers reported the following: 45% said it resulted in less productivity; 38% reported lost time to recruit and train another worker; 34% said it had a negative effect on employee morale; 29% reported fewer sales; 19% said it had a negative effect on client relations; and 11% reported subsequent legal issues.

"Poor hires can have a significant effect on customer service, which can negatively impact sales," said Ben Jablow, managing director of WorkInRetail.com. "Bringing the right talent on board is essential to help maintain their bottom line, and keep customers satisfied. As a result, retailers are working to proactively prevent bad hires through target talent research and improved sourcing techniques."

Of retail employers who made a bad hire, 42% said they think they made a mistake hiring someone because they needed to fill the job quickly, followed by lack of understanding of where their target talent is (20%) and unsuccessful sourcing techniques (9%).

Nearly half (49%) said they have an average cost per hire of more than $1,000, up from 11% in 2008.

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