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Deloitte: Holiday shoppers use smartphones, stay local

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — Increasing smartphone ownership is taking more consumers down the digital shopping route, while many shoppers plan to frequent local small businesses when visiting stores this holiday season. According to the Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey overall smartphone ownership has risen to 61% of respondents from 42% two years ago.

Women, younger generations and households earning less than $100,000 annually showed the most significant leaps in smartphone ownership, expanding the base of shoppers that retailers can access via mobile devices. For example, nearly six-in-10 (59%) of women surveyed own smartphones, up from 46% last year, and 79% of consumers ages 18-24 own a smartphone.

Among smartphone owners, nearly seven-in-10 (68%) plan to use their devices for holiday shopping. These consumers will primarily use smartphones to search for store locations (56%), check and compare prices (54%) and obtain product information (47%).

Consumers that use smartphones to assist in holiday shopping plan to spend 27% more on holiday gifts than non-smartphone owners. The survey also found a significant number of consumers expecting to shop using their tablets. Among the 38% of respondents that own tablets, nearly two-thirds (63%) indicate they plan to use it for holiday shopping this year, with "shop or browse online" ranking as the top activity.

This year, two-thirds (66%) of shoppers plan to shop locally at small businesses, independent retailers or boutique shops which are not part of national chains. The survey indicates that one-third (34%) of consumers’ budgets will be spent at local stores. Among the reasons for shopping locally, consumers cite desire to support the local economy (60%), to find one-of-a-kind gifts (53%) and because it is more convenient (44%). Nearly one-third (30%) report having greater loyalty for the local store compared to national chains.

More than half (54%) of shoppers say that knowledgeable store associates will lead them to making an in-store purchase, and 32% of shoppers feel store associates can provide customers a better shopping experience when equipped with the latest mobile technologies. Yet, nearly six-in-10 (59%) shoppers feel they are better connected to consumer information, including coupons, competitive pricing and product availability, than store associates.

Retailers also benefit from providing shoppers with self-help technology in the store. Nearly six-in-10 (58%) of shoppers will use self-help technologies, the most common being price checkers (60%) and self-checkout payment lanes (57%).

"Tablets are a two-way street for retailers," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and retail & distribution sector leader. "They have opened up an entirely new consumer touchpoint, where shoppers can view multiple retailers’ products regardless of their location, from their couch to the point of purchase. Retailers can also put tablets to work in their stores, providing both their sales team and customers with a broader lens into merchandise selection. Now that the majority of consumers also own smartphones, these two devices have altered the way they interact with a brand, while also yielding a higher spend per customer."


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T.Platt says:
Nov-08-2013 12:31 pm

#Retailers: find key to #mobile, #holiday shopping via #personalization + #engagement http://amex.co/13rIN5K

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BJ’s prepares Black Friday week, Facebook coupons

BY Dan Berthiaume

Westborough, Mass. — BJ’s Wholesale Club is spreading its Black Friday deals across an entire week (Sunday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Dec. 1), excluding Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 28. The retailer says it is offering more than twice as many Black Friday deals this year as it did last year.

BJ’s will also launch its first exclusive Facebook coupon program with the BJ’s Members Choice Campaign. Beginning Friday, Nov. 22, people will be able to cast a vote each day for five days, choosing between two featured products. There will be deals on electronics on two days, a deal on toys, on gifts, and on jewelry. BJ’s will email all of those who voted on a deal a printable coupon for the winning item. The final day of voting will be Tuesday, Nov. 26. To participate, people should visit the BJ’s Facebook page.

"The BJ’s team has outdone itself this year, creating the best Black Friday line up that I’ve seen in years, and I’m sure that the products will delight our members," said Laura Sen, president and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club. "While BJ’s offerings will bring many people into the clubs during the Holiday Season, we are pleased to offer Black Friday values throughout the Thanksgiving week. And, I’m proud that BJ’s Clubs are, once again, closed on Thanksgiving, allowing our team members to enjoy the holiday. We always must balance what is best for our Team Members with our sales goals."


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PwC: Retail M&A activity strong in Q3

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity was strong in the retail and consumer industry during the third quarter of 2013. Data from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows that transaction values on M&A deals in the retail/consumer sector rose 112% compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

In third quarter 2013, disclosed deal values greater than $50 million totaled $25 billion in the retail and consumer sector, comprised of a total of 38 deals, up 46% from second quarter 2013 and a 27% increase from the third quarter of 2012 in total deal volume. The increase in transaction value was primarily due to the average deal size of the larger retail deals in the quarter compared to prior year.

“Deal activity improved during the third quarter, confirming our expectations that the slower deal activity in the second quarter was temporary,” said Leanne Sardiga, partner and PwC’s US retail & consumer deals leader. “We continue to see strong corporate balance sheets, healthy levels of private equity involvement, and a relatively low interest rate environment that provide good support for an active deal market to close out the year, but there are some potential headwinds that companies will be confronted with. With a lack of quality assets for sale, a mismatch in buyer and seller price expectations, as well as increased sophistication and preparation by sellers, it’s even more critical for potential buyers to have a disciplined and objective M&A process to navigate these challenges.”

Private equity (PE) activity in retail remained strong, although PE’s relative deal share compared to corporates has been slowing, which PwC says is likely indicative of the shrinking population of attractive opportunities, according to the report. For announced deals over $50 million, PE volume as a percentage of total deal volume was 24%, down from 31% in second quarter 2013, but up from 20% in third quarter 2012. PE value as a percentage of total deal value was 35%, down from 46% in second quarter 2013, but up from 20% in third quarter 2012.

Consistent with prior quarters, the trend toward omni-channel retailing continues to drive deal activity as retailers look at acquisition opportunities to more quickly transform their businesses and capabilities. PwC expects to see continued activity as more investors seek these opportunities and companies attempt to gain a competitive advantage in using technology for data analytics.

Retail and consumer IPO activity during the third quarter remained fairly consistent with the momentum seen in the first half of the year. Total proceeds during the quarter were $1.3 billion, up 61% from the prior year quarter and down 35% from second quarter 2013. According to PwC, the decrease was driven by lower average IPO size as the quarter did not have an IPO with proceeds greater than $500 million. However, year-to-date IPO proceeds of $4.7 billion already exceeds full-year 2012 proceeds by 46%, although year-to-date volume is 32% lower than full-year 2012.

Retail continues to dominate the IPO markets with approximately 67% of the 2013 R&C sector IPOs, consistent with the trend seen in 2012. Strong R&C IPO pricing performance experienced in the first half of the year continued into third quarter 2013, a quarter where a R&C IPO had the largest first day return of any IPO in over three years.

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