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IBM: 2012 holiday shopping season to be ‘the year of mobile’

BY CSA STAFF

ARMONK, N.Y. — IBM’s fifth annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness report has uncovered that 2012 may just be the year of mobile.

Based on data from more than 500 U.S. retailers, the report found that online mobile sales increased 88.8% in second quarter 2012, compared with year-ago period.

What’s more, IBM is forecasting that mobile sales will reach 20% of total online holiday sales this holiday season, and that mobile traffic will close in on 25%.

However, despite the growing trend in mobile shopping, social is lagging, according to IBM. The company’s recent Retail Online Index saw a 20% decline in social shopping in the second quarter, attributable to a lack of understanding on how to fully leverage social media, IBM said. Additionally, the IBM 2011 Chief Marketing Officer study showed that 65% of CMOs surveyed believe they are underprepared for the growth of social and online channels.

Similarly, IBM’s "State of Marketing" 2012 survey found marketers are in the experimental stage when it comes to social media channels.

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Costco financial incentives approved by New Orleans City Council

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New Orleans — New Orleans has rolled out the red carpet in order to assure the first Costco location in the state.

The city council on Thursday unanimously approved nearly $6 million in financial incentives for a planned Costco in the New Orleans suburb of Carrollton.

The $45 million, 148,000-sq.-ft. Costco marks the warehouse club operator’s state debut, to reportedly be followed by a second in the capital city of Baton Rouge.

The New Orleans store is slated to open late summer 2013.

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Tractor Supply plows ahead

BY CSA STAFF

Despite a stagnant economy and drought conditions across large parts of the country, Brentwood, Tenn.-based Tractor Supply Co. reported sales and earnings growth.

The company posted second-quarter sales of $1.29 billion, up 9.6% from $1.18 billion in the same quarter last year.

The nation’s largest chain of farm and ranch specialty stores posted earnings of $106.6 million, up 8.3% from $91.2 million in the year-ago period.

"We are pleased with our ability to generate double-digit EPS growth during the second quarter, while operating in a stagnant economy and navigating weather shifts and unfavorable drought conditions,” said Jim Wright, chairman and CEO.

The company opened 18 new stores compared to 16 new store openings in the prior year’s second quarter. The company operates 1,135 stores in 45 states.

Same-store sales increased 3.2%, even as the early spring weather pulled sales out of the second quarter and into the first quarter, according to the company.

The impact of the drought across much of the middle of the country appears to have affected farmers much more than it has affected the farm and ranch retailer.

"Our team is actively managing the product assortment to meet customer needs in the affected markets as the drought continues to spread and intensify," said Wright.

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