News

Greeting card publisher gets new director

BY CSA STAFF

Detroit, Mich. — Greeting card publisher Avanti Press has named Kari Knowlton as its new director of business development.

Founded by Rick Ruffner in 1980, Avanti Press publishes the Avanti and A*Press greeting card collections. The Detroit-based publisher’s everyday and seasonal card collections are carried in leading regional and national retail outlets as well as independent retail outlets throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and other countries worldwide.

Knowlton started her eight-year career in the greeting card industry at Marcel Schurman, later called Papyrus and renamed Papyrus-Recycled Greetings after it was acquired in 2009 by American Greetings. Her most recent role at PRG was as director of business development.

“Kari has a strong track record of helping retailers achieve their sales goals with a branded, contemporary product strategy,” said Chip Owen, EVP. “Kari’s talents are a nice fit for Avanti’s long-term plans for growth in the North American retail sector.”

Knowlton earned a bachelor of arts in merchandising and business management from Samford University.

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart creates new position to oversee alternative formats

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Friday it has created a new executive position to oversee new store formats in international markets.

Lev Khasis, who joined the company in 2011 after working in Russian retail, was named president and CEO of new formats for Wal-Mart International. He built up Russia’s largest food retailer X5 through acquisitions into a market leader before resigning to join Wal-Mart Stores.

Khasis “has a track record of developing innovative formats, and he will now focus on developing new concepts that can be deployed across our markets to provide future growth,” Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner said in an emailed statement.

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T.Heffner says:
Mar-12-2013 07:05 am

He has a good work record,
He has a good work record, so, he will surely be an asset to the company. Based on his previous track record, there is no doubt that he can do the job well. - Thaddeus Heffner

T.Heffner says:
Mar-12-2013 07:05 am

He has a good work record, so, he will surely be an asset to the company. Based on his previous track record, there is no doubt that he can do the job well. - Thaddeus Heffner

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FINANCE

Full-season holiday report: Traffic down 16.4%, sales down 3.4%

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Jose, Calif. — A Friday report by RetailNext said that its analysis of 8.5 million shopping trips to big-box and specialty retailers in the U.S. during the 2011 and 2012 holiday seasons revealed that:

  • The number of shopping visits to stores was down a massive 16.4% from 2011;
  • Retailers made the most of the traffic they got, with conversion up 1.4 basis points and average transaction value (ATV) up 3.7%. These improvements tempered the overall decline, with sales off 3.4% year-over-year in the specialty segment;
  • Saturday, Dec. 22 exceeded Black Friday’s sales volume by 11%, and nearly matched Black Friday’s traffic figures. Black Friday saw year-over-year traffic down 9.2% and conversion off 0.7 points in the specialty segment; an ATV increase of 11.5% offset these weak points so that total sales were down 3.2%.

The report also found that Christmas Eve was off from the previous year, recording a 1.5% reduction in sales on a 12.2% reduction in traffic. But the post-Christmas period from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 rallied, despite an 8.5% reduction in traffic, to show a healthy 12.7% increase in sales. This increase owes itself to a conversion increase of 1.8 basis points and a 6.7% increase in ATV for the period.

The highest traffic days of the season according to RetailNext were Black Friday, followed by the two Saturdays before Christmas (Dec. 22 and Dec. 15). The days with the highest ATV were Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22), followed by Christmas Day, and the days with the highest conversion rates were Tuesday, Dec. 18, followed by Monday, Dec. 17.

The top five sales days of the season were Saturday, Dec. 22; Black Friday, Nov. 23; Friday, Dec. 21; Saturday, Dec. 15; and Sunday, Dec. 23.

"Retailers cannot underestimate the post-Christmas potential,” said Shelley Kohan, VP retail consulting, RetailNext. "There were important shifts in calendar days this season, which impacted sales and traffic to stores. “As retailers look forward to the 2013 holiday season, the calendar will again play a major role.”

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N.Smith says:
Mar-13-2013 08:12 am

This is not a good news to
This is not a good news to the retailers. Supposedly, the highest peak in the market is during Christmas season, but could it be that the reason behind this negative reports is that the shoppers are making some changes on their expenses. - Scott Sohr

N.Smith says:
Mar-13-2013 08:12 am

This is not a good news to the retailers. Supposedly, the highest peak in the market is during Christmas season, but could it be that the reason behind this negative reports is that the shoppers are making some changes on their expenses. - Scott Sohr

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Consumer confidence is high. Is that reflected in your stores’ revenues?

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