TECHNOLOGY

Forecast calls for early holiday blitz in stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Nearly half of holiday shoppers will hit the stores before Nov. 1 — and many will be looking for deals.

That’s according to a report by RetailMeNot, a digital savings destination connecting consumers with retailers, restaurants and brands, both online and in-store. Seventy-three percent of shoppers said they plan to shop in brick-and-mortar stores this season, and 50% said that the deals they find will help them determine which days to shop in-store.

Based on historical trends, RetailMeNot expects holiday shopping and browsing to take off the first week of November. Among consumers surveyed in 2016, 46% said they plan to start their holiday shopping before Nov. 1.

“It’s important for retailers to ensure they enter consumers’ consideration set early in the season,” said Marissa Tarleton, chief marketing officer of North America for RetailMeNot. “Having the right promotional mix is key for reaching these shoppers.”

The study, “Unwrapping Holiday Insights: The 2016 Retailer Guide to Consumer Trends,” finds that 60% of consumers plan to shop sales and promotions, up from 51% in 2015. The top three categories where shoppers wish to see more in-store offers are home and garden, multi-category, and health and beauty.

The survey reveals that shoppers will do just about anything for a good deal during the holidays. In fact, 46% would spend a full day hunting online for the best price, 26% would travel more than an hour to visit a store with a great deal, and 23% plan to line up outside store doors before they open in order to snag the best prices on the hottest products.

Women prefer free shipping options more than men (35% versus 26%), while males tend to lean more toward specific product deals than females (21% versus 14%). Overall, however, free shipping leads the pack with 31% of the general population citing that they are likely to spend more money with a brand or retailer who offers to pick up those costs, followed by a percent off the total purchase (28%) and specific product deals (17%), which round out the top three preferred savings methods.

Download the full report here.

This study is based on findings from the RetailMeNot Promotions Index and internal data collections from over 500,000 offers for 50,000 retailers in the U.S., including engagement insights from millions of consumers. Forecasting models for 2016 holiday predictions are based on data and stats pulled from historical shopper insights in 2014 and 2015.

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TECHNOLOGY

Hhgregg joins other retailers in closing on Thanksgiving

BY Marianne Wilson

Hhgregg Inc. is the latest retailer to give its store employees off for Thanksgiving Day.

The appliances and consumer electronics retailer announced it will close its 220 stores on the holiday, and reopen them at 7 a.m. on Black Friday. To date, approximately 42 national retailers and the nation’s largest mall have announced they will not be open on turkey day (see list at end of story.)

“With business trends in the last decade resulting in earlier holiday shopping, Hhgregg is drawing a line in the sand,” said Chris Sutton, senior VP of marketing. “We continue to see a shift in the market place and feel it’s time for electronics industry leaders to take charge and move the shift back, in order to give associates, and people in general, more quality time with family and friends,” added.

Here is BestBlackFriday.com’s updated list (as of Oct. 11) of retailers (and one mall) that have announced they will be closed on Thanksgiving:

• A.C. Moore

• American Girl

• AT&T (Customer Service closed; select retail locations closed)

• Barnes & Noble

• Bed Bath & Beyond (Select locations)

• BJ’s Wholesale Club

• Burlington

• Cabela’s (Retail closed; call centers open)

• Christmas Tree Shops (Select locations)

• Costco

• Crate and Barrel

• Dillard’s

• GameStop

• Gardner-White Furniture

• Guitar Center

• Hobby Lobby

• Home Depot

• HomeGoods

• Ikea

• Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores

• Lowe’s

• Mall of America

• Marshalls

• Mattress Firm

• Menards

• Neiman Marcus

• Nordstrom

• Outdoor Research

• P.C. Richard & Son

• Patagonia

• Petco

• PetSmart

• Pier 1 Imports

• Publix

• Raymour and Flanagan Furniture (8 a.m. Black Friday opening)

• Sam’s Club

• Sierra Trading Post

• Staples

• The Container Store

• T.J. Maxx

• Tractor Supply

• Von Maur (9 a.m. Black Friday opening)

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Ross Stores continues aggressive expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

It’s shaping up as a busy fall for Ross Stores.

The retailer is opening 25 Ross Dress for Less ("Ross") stores and nine dd's Discounts stores across 16 different states in September and October.

The new locations round out the company's expansion plans to add approximately 90 locations in 2016.

"We entered two new states in October, with stores in North and South Dakota, and continued to expand dd's Discounts by opening its first location in Colorado," said Jim Fassio, president and chief development officer.

Looking ahead, Ross continues to see plenty of opportunity to expand its store base across both new and existing markets, and “remains confident that over the long-term, Ross Dress for Less can grow to 2,000 locations and dd's Discounts can become a chain of 500 stores," Fassio said.

The company currently operates 1,342 Ross locations in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, along with 193 dd's Discounts stores in 15 states.

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