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Impact of Online Sources Up

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Consumers in the United States spent an average of 2.6 hours researching products online, an increase of 30% from 2006. Consumers in China spend even more time at the same task, averaging 3.5 hours. Those are among the findings in new research from Netpop.

“Today, more than ever, multichannel marketing is key to reaching your customers,” said Josh Crandall, managing director of Media-Screen LLC, the creator of Netpop. “The consumer is now involved in the purchase process to a greater degree than ever before, with the information and autonomy to make highly informed decisions based on a combination of online and traditional media sources.”

The impact of online is especially dramatic for high-priced goods: For items costing more than $100, six of the top 10 sources used in the purchase decision are found online. Search engines and friends/family share the top spot, each influencing 28% of purchase decisions.

Although e-commerce came later to China than to the United States, Chinese broadband users already match—and in some cases, surpass—the United States in online shopping, with 63% of broadband users in China shopping online regularly compared to 59% in the United States.

Chinese consumers also spend more time researching products online, with respondents reporting 3.5 hours vs. 2.5 hours in the United States. And Chinese consumers are considerably more likely to refer to UGC when making a purchase decision, (58% of respondents in China compared to 19% in the United States).

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Zale to cut jobs in effort to improve profitability

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS Zale today announced initiatives — including the elimination of 225 filled and open headquarter positions — designed to improve profitability and overall effectiveness. The company said the efforts are expected to generate more than $65 million in annualized savings beginning in its fourth quarter.

Other elements of the program include a reduction of planned capital spending from an expected $85 million in fiscal 2008 to approximately $45 million in fiscal 2009 and the closure of an additional 23 underperforming locations, bringing the total number of planned store closures to approximately 105 in fiscal 2008.

Zale said it anticipates the total program cost, including severance-related benefits, of less than $4 million pre-tax, will be incurred largely in the companys fiscal third quarter ending April 30.

Zale president and ceo Neal Goldberg said, In order to improve Zales overall performance and provide our value-oriented customer with an exceptional experience, it is essential that we reduce the companys infrastructure costs, which have outpaced its sales growth since 2002. The program we are announcing today follows an extensive review, and will enhance our operational effectiveness significantly. It builds upon steps we have already taken to reduce redundancies, simplify processes and create a more agile company, such as the realignment of our merchandise and sourcing organizations. 

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Winn-Dixie sells off dairies

BY CSA STAFF

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores today announced that it plans to sell its two dairies to Southeast Milk, a Florida-based cooperative of more than 300 family-owned dairy farms. The dairies are located in Plant City, Fla. and Hammond, La.

According to the company, the dairies will remain in full production and Winn-Dixie associates working in the plants will become employees of SMI at the close of the sale.

Winn-Dixie President, ceo and chairman of the board, Peter Lynch said, “We have concluded that the sale of our dairies is in the company’s best interest as we continue to sharpen our focus on the retail operation of our business. We are pleased that SMI recognizes the value of our dairies and the associates who work there, and we look forward to a successful partnership.”

Upon completion of this transaction, Winn-Dixie will operate one manufacturing plant its private label Chek Cola plant located in Fitzgerald, Ga.

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