FINANCE

Destination Maternity Q4 profit triples

BY CSA STAFF

Philadelphia — Destination Maternity said its fourth-quarter net income tripled as cost-cutting measures paid off, even as sales in some categories fell.

The company earned almost $4.3 million for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, up from $1.4 million during the same period last year. Revenue rose slightly to $124.3 million, from $123.8 million a year earlier. Same-store sales fell 2.3%.

The slight increase in fourth-quarter revenue resulted mostly from the relaunch of its Two Hearts Maternity collection in Sears and Kmart stores in October 2009 and from sales online and abroad.

The company operated 698 stores at the end of the quarter, down from 724 a year earlier. However, it expanded its leased department store locations to 1,027, from 360 a year earlier.

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FINANCE

Study reveals paradigm shift in Americans’ shopping behavior

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago — The new, post-recession American shopper is high maintenance, promiscuous and demands an innovative and engaging experience in-store and online. According to a new study released by Leo Burnett’s marketing services arm, Arc Worldwide.

“The recession has forever changed people’s mindset about shopping,” said Dr. Alan Treadgold, head of retail strategy at Leo Burnett Worldwide. “People have developed new rules for retailers. As a result, retailers must understand the changed role they play in people’s lives and meet their expectations to maintain customer loyalty.”

The study — “Re-Imagining The Retail Store” — identified five key findings retailers should note when implementing new strategies:

1. DON’T LET TECHNOLOGY UNDERMINE THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE. Retailers tend to view in-store technologies as a better way to connect with their customers, but customers don’t agree. Yes, people want to experience a seamless transition between the physical and virtual store by using technology, but they also want educated and friendly service when visiting the physical store. Technology is not a suitable substitute and this practice can damage an already fragile relationship.

2. SHOPPERS ARE PROMISCUOUS. They shop around and their loyalty is hard earned. The recession has taken a toll on consumer confidence and people’s perceptions of retail business. Customer loyalty has to be earned by understanding in detail the expectations of the shopper and delivering every time.

3. PRICE GETS YOU AN INVITE TO THE PARTY, BUT NOT A VIP PASS. Consumers will not accept a trade-off — low price versus quality experience and merchandise. Today, people are more than happy not to spend if they feel that retailers do not give them a sufficient reason to purchase.

4. BREAK THE RULES. If you’re not winning by following the rules, break them. There are two clear ways to win in store-based retailing — excel within your store archetype or take a radical path to greatness and create a new store format that breaks out of category conventions and delivers a unique experience.

5. THE BASICS ARE STILL SEXY. It may not be exciting, but there is work to do and profit to be made from making the basics better. Retailers are struggling to get the basics right and people are visibly frustrated. Taking a page from “Retail 101” will help to improve customer appeal, retention and ultimately, profitability.

Click here to view the complete the study and click “download the whitepaper."

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OPERATIONS

Tractor Supply to open new DC

BY CSA STAFF

Brentwood, Texas — Tractor Supply Co., announced plans to open a regional distribution center in Franklin, Ky.

The new 840,000-sq.-ft. distribution center, expected to be in operation by the end of 2011, will serve stores in the mid-eastern United States.

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