Home Depot to close its last seven big-box stores in China
Atlanta — The Home Depot Inc. said Friday it will close its remaining seven big-box outlets in China and focus on Internet-based sales and specialty stores.
The chain said it will keep two specialty stores in Tianjin, a city east of Beijing, and is developing relations with Chinese e-commerce websites.
Home Depot entered China in 2006 when it acquired The Home Way, a 12-outlet chain of stores based on the American format.
"We’ve learned a great deal over the last six years in China, and our new approach leverages that experience and reflects our continuing interest in providing value to Chinese customers, as well as our shareholders," Home Depot chairman and CEO Frank Blake said in a statement.
The company said it would record an after-tax charge of about $160 million, or 10-cents per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012 for the closures. It said that would include lease terminations, severance and other costs.
Walmart holiday toy layaway program starts Sunday
Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart on Friday announced its Top 20 Toy List for the upcoming holidays and said the items are available now at Walmart stores in time for the retailer’s layaway program, which launches this Sunday. In a social media tie-in, customers who “like” their local Walmart store’s Facebook page can begin using the service immediately.
The discounter also said that if a customer puts a toy on layaway and Walmart rolls back the price later in the season, the chain will honor the rolled-back price if it is in effect at the time of final payment. Walmart will also match competitor pricing during checkout for layaway products through its ad match policy. Customers will be able to pick up their toys once they complete their layaway payments. Once completed, customers will receive a full refund of the $5 layaway open fee on a Walmart gift card.
Survey: Consumers more likely to buy products with ‘made in USA’ claim
Fort Lee, N.J. — The majority of shoppers take notice of such packaging claims as "made in the USA," and most of them are more likely to purchase a product after breaking down demographics.
Shoppers that are older than 35 years are the most likely to be positively influenced by the "made in the USA" claim and the most negatively influenced by a similar claim, such as "made in China," PRS found. PRS also noted that it’s not clear if those ages 18 to 34 years "see the world differently based on their collective experiences and influences, or if they simply have not yet reached an age where they’re affected by these considerations."
"Whether it is for quality assurance, to boost the economy, or out of patriotism, buying American-made products is becoming quite fashionable among U.S. shoppers," PRS EVP Jonathan Asher said. "Particularly for products that are ingested, such as food, beverages and medicines — if you make it here, make that clear — that is, include a ‘made in the USA’ mention on your package (and possibly other marketing communications) so that shoppers are aware of that fact."
The survey was conducted in July among more than 1,400 consumers, ages 18 years and older, drawn from a nationally representative online sample in the United States, according to new research conducted by Perception Research Services International.
While the number of survey respondents that notice "made in the USA" claims on product packaging were at similar levels as last year (83% versus 80% in the year-ago period), 76% claimed that they are more likely to purchase such a product because it "help[s] the economy," yet the products the respondents said they would prefer to purchase — if American-made — suggest that quality and safety may be the true motivating factors. These include food, medicine and personal care items, PRS said.