Euclid: Customer caution grows in September
San Francisco – Walk-by conversion and in-store engagements among U.S., consumers slipped in September compared to August as consumers became more cautious and less compelled to shop after back-to-school spending. In-store analytics technology vendor Euclid’s U.S. Retail Benchmarks for September 2013, based on 20 million domestic shopping sessions, suggest September same-store and total store sales may be sluggish for many retailers.
Specific findings include:
- Walk-by conversion in September 2013, defined as the number of shoppers who enter a store as a percentage of the total walk-by foot traffic, decreased to 14.4% from 16.3% in August 2013. The September conversion rate dropped to the lowest level since April after a consistent uptick this summer, tracking a similar low in consumer confidence. Shoppers also continued to focus on bigger-ticket items at the expense of other shopping, and as a result walk-by conversion suffered.
- The percentage of shoppers who entered a store but left within five minutes ("bounce rate") was 15.6% in September 2013, up from 13.7% in September 2012. Despite the slight increase, September’s bounce rate maintained a meaningful improvement from the 17% high in July 2013. In-store engagement was strong amid back-to-school promotions, but weakened in September as consumers had less urgency to shop against a backdrop of unwavering economic uncertainty.
- Shopping session duration, defined as the mean time from store entry to store exit, was 22 minutes 15 seconds in September 2013, a decline of 5.0% year-over-year and 5.7% from August 2013. The shorter shopping sessions during September, following a solid summer, again reflect a decline in shopper intent compared to the recent back-to-school period and a strong September a year ago.
- In one positive sign, active repeat customers, defined as individuals returning to a store location more than once in 30 days, were 25.3% of total visits measured September 2013, up 140 basis points from the previous month. Repeat customers appeared responsive to increased marketing efforts and loyalty programs during the month. As Euclid expands its network, the company expects this metric to increase modestly.
Safeway dumps Dominick’s after Q3 profit swoon
Safeway plans to exit the Chicago market where it operates 72 supermarkets under the Dominick’s banner by early 2014 after posting third quarter profits that were roughly half those of the comparable period the prior year.
The decision to exit Chicago follows similar move earlier this year when Safeway announced the sale of its Canadian operations.
"The decision to sell Canada Safeway and to exit the Chicago market is consistent with Safeway’s priority of maximizing shareholder value," said Robert Edwards, Safeway president and CEO. "These actions will allow us to focus on improving and strengthening our core grocery business. We are continuing to review all of our businesses to optimize our allocation of resources, improve sales and grow operating profits."
The company said exiting Chicago would result in a cash tax benefit of $400 million to $450 million which will be available in the short-term to partly offset the cash tax expense on the sale of the net assets of Canada Safeway Limited. Any proceeds from the disposal of Dominick’s properties will be used to buy back stock and to invest in growth opportunities, the company said.
The news about Dominick’s was released in conjunction with third quarter results that saw sales and other revenue from continuing operations increase a meager 1.1% to $8.6 billion due mainly to a 1.9% increase in identical store sales. Adjusted net income for the period declined to $71.9 million, or 30 cents a share, to net income of $157 million, or 66 cents a share the prior year.
SAP app makes DIY assembly a snap
Dallas – SAP previewed a mobile app called Snap at its SAP Retail Forum held in Dallas Oct. 7-9. Designed for both tablets and smartphones, Snap is aimed at consumers who purchase items that require DIY assembly.
By scanning a product’s barcode or QR code, Snap users can download a set of interactive 3-D assembly instructions from SAP cloud servers. The instructions, based on CAD files from the manufacturer, display all tools and components needed for assembly and walk the user through step by step. Users can zoom in on specific tools or components to view them from different angles, pause, repeat steps and also listen to audio instructions.
If a part is damaged or missing, consumer can send a message to the manufacturer via Snap for overnight delivery. Other features include the ability to register a product and sign up for warranties.