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Deloitte Consumer Spending Index dips in August

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index, which tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending, slightly dipped in August.

The Index, which comprises the four components of tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices, fell to 4.0 this month from 4.5 last month. The tax rate is up 6.4% from last year, and is now at 11.8%. Unemployment claims moved down 7.8% from the same period last year to 342,000 in the most recent month, while hourly real wages are down slightly from the previous month, but up 0.2% from last year. Real new home prices climbed 7.9% from this time last year to reach approximately $110,000.

"Consumers are seeing positive signals from the economy which may buoy confidence heading into the holiday season this fall," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail & distribution sector leader. "Retailers that merge consumer data from their e-commerce and in-store businesses to gain a more holistic view of their shoppers will be strategically positioned to capitalize on the upcoming holiday season. They will also be better prepared to more appropriately target consumers — whether in-store or online — with the right marketing promotions to drive traffic and conversion."

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Gap extends ads to digital, social, mobile space

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Gap Inc. is launching a fall global marketing campaign called “Back to Blue” that features two videos with musicians Dhani Harrison and Alexa Ray Joel, which consumers can watch on TV, desktops and smartphones/tablets.

Gap is complementing its traditional TV schedule through its own social channels, partner sites and mobile advertising, and through a partnership with Twitter. In addition to offering a series of films, interviews, quotes, images and facts about Harrison and Joel that will be featured on digital, social and mobile platforms, Gap will reveal the two videos today, following a contest that rewarded consumers for retweeting special Gap tweets.

Through Promoted Tweets using Twitter’s TV ad targeting technology, Gap is broadening the reach of the spots by connecting with consumers who are tweeting about relevant TV shows where Gap already advertises. Gap is also using Twitter to let customers in non-U.S. markets see the ads, which are only running on domestic TV. Other digital extensions of the campaign include featuring iTunes downloads of two songs Joel and Harrison perform in the videos.

"The way people get their information and entertainment has materially and permanently changed,” said Seth Farbman, Gap’s global chief marketing officer. “It’s everywhere every minute of the day. While TV still reaches many people at the same time, it’s the power of social conversations that turn amazing video content from a commercial into an event. By leveraging a platform like Twitter, we’re able to broaden and deepen the emotional power of Back to Blue, long after the spots have stopped airing on the networks."

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Becker’s relaunches e-commerce site

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pennsauken, N.J. – Becker’s School Supplies has relaunched its e-commerce site using the WebLinc platform.

The WebLinc platform allows Becker’s to offer a branded user experience and also provides back-end merchandising and management tools. Since rolling out its new site, Becker’s has experienced a 120% jump in revenue compared to the same period last year, and saw transaction volume increase by 81% as a result of improved online performance.

“As a family-run business that was founded in the 1920s, Becker’s has always been focused on providing personal and attentive service, a philosophy that naturally extends to our online storefront,” said Robert Bonczkiewicz, catalog manager at Becker’s. “After a decade online, it was time to introduce a new site with cutting-edge functionally for our customers, and WebLinc delivered exactly what we needed, It’s exciting to see this level of success especially before launching pay-per-click and other advertising campaigns to capture new customers. Once our strategy is in full swing, we anticipate even higher growth."

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