Cyber Monday surges, December outlook uncertain
The strong customer traffic and sales trends retailers’ experienced Thanksgiving weekend extended into Cyber Monday when shoppers maintained their record pace of spending and propelled online sales to new heights.
The online measurement firm comScore said sales on Cyber Monday increased 22% to $1.25 billion compared with slightly more than $1 billion last year and noted that online traffic and average transaction sizes were larger than the prior year. The firm’s chairman, Gian Fulgoni, characterized the spending levels as an historic day for e-commerce and noted that “it was just the second billion dollar spending day on record, following on the heels of Cyber Monday 2010.”
As was the case with Black Friday, Cyber Monday was highly promotional and retailers also engaged in an array of increasingly effective and targeted digital marketing strategies. Combine those efforts with the ongoing shift of a larger volume of sales to the online channel and the result was record sales. What’s now unclear, and the subject of much speculation, is the impact of the extensive promotions on profitability and how much money shoppers have left to spend be it online or in stores.
“Looking forward to the balance of the season, it will be very important to continue to monitor the trend in consumer spending to determine the degree to which retailers’ heavy promotional activity at the beginning of the shopping season, and consumers’ encouraging response, has pulled forward consumers’ future buying,” Fulgoni said. “It will also be vital to see whether retailers’ deals and price discounting, which consumers are now able to discover via so many different digital media channels, will have a negative impact on retailers’ margins this holiday season.”
Some insight into those trends will be gained next week when select retailers such as Target, Costco, Macy’s and mall-based specialty apparel companies report their November sales. Their actual results and expectations for December will provide the best indication of the extent to which demand was pulled forward as a result of heightened promotional activity and earlier than ever opening hours.
Staples launches iPhone app
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Staples has launched a new iPhone app that allows customers to access the best of what the company has to offer, whether in store or online.
According to the company, customers can use the app to access product information and reviews while in store, locate a store that has a product they need, and receive special deals via its check-in feature.
“Staples understands the importance of allowing customers to shop where, when and how it’s convenient for them,” said Steve Bussberg, SVP Staples.com. “Whether it be in-store or on-the-go we know that more and more customers are turning to their mobile devices. Our new iPhone app makes the shopping experience even easier at Staples.”
According to the company, an app for Android phones is being developed and will be available soon.
JoS. A. Bank Q3 profit up 19%
Hampstead, Md. — JoS. A. Bank Clothiers said that net income for the third quarter of fiscal year 2011, ended Oct. 29, 2011, increased 19.3% to $15.0 million verses $12.6 million in the year-ago period. However, the chain warned that its forth quarter has started out more slowly than expected, and that it has adjusted its December merchandising and marketing plans for the stores.
Total sales increased 21.0% to $209.6 million, from $173.3 million. Same-store sales rose 14.6% and direct marketing sales increased 28.6%.
“With this quarter’s results, we have achieved earnings growth in 40 of the past 41 quarters when compared to the respective prior year periods, including 22 quarters in a row," stated R. Neal Black, president and CEO of JoS. A. Bank Clothiers.