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Lampert’s firm trims Sears stake below 50%

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Eddie Lambert’s ESL Partners has reduced the size of its stake in Sears Holdings Corp. disclosing in a regulatory filing on that it now owns 48.4% of its shares, down from 55.4%.

In a statement, Lampert said that his fund had distributed 7.4 million shares in Sears to investors who wanted to withdraw money from his firm. He said that he had not sold any of his personal holdings.

“My significant personal ownership in the company is a sign of my confidence and alignment with all shareholders,” Lampert said.

As of Tuesday’s closing price of $55.55, Lampert’s stake is worth about $2.87 billion.

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J.Shaughness says:
Dec-05-2013 12:31 pm

The departure of investors and the sale of assets signal the impending collapse of the Sears/Kmart franchise. Death by a thousand cuts.

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Direct Wines deploys solutions from Predictix

BY Staff Writer

Atlanta — Direct Wines, the world’s largest online wine retailer, has successfully deployed advanced, end-to-end planning, promotion, forecasting and fulfillment solutions from Predictix, a provider of cloud-based, predictive analytics solutions for retailers. The applications went live last month and will support the current operation and future growth strategy of Direct Wines’ international, omni-channel business.

Based in the U.K., Direct Wines is a fast-growing, global company that serves customers in the U.K., Australia, Hong Kong, Germany and via licensed retail and wholesale partners in the US. Direct Wines is an omni-channel business, selling via catalog, online and through an estate of retail stores under the Laithwaites brand. It also provides wine clubs to customers of The Wall Street Journal, Zagat, Virgin and the Sunday Times.

Direct Wines sought a cohesive system that would let buyers and merchandisers plan, generate promotions, forecast and source products in a coordinated way. It needed an end-to-end demand and supply planning solution, with in-day promotion and fulfillment decisions and the ability to plan promotions and offers in near-real time to deal with daily demand changes.

With Predictix, Direct Wines now has better alignment between its marketing, planning, merchandising and supply chain operations, with a structured approach to range planning and the ability to plan offers that will meet revenue targets in the overall marketing plan. Direct Wines also has greater visibility into forecasted demand and projected stock requirements across all channels. This will help drive greater inventory efficiency and reduce the need for case and SKU substitution by ensuring that Direct Wines’ buyers purchase the right wine in the right quantities at the right time on a global basis.

“Predictix has helped us start to break down the walls and eliminate the silos between marketing, merchandising and supply chain,” said Simon McMurtrie, CEO, Direct Wines. “For the first time, we have an end-to-end solution that fits our unique business model. We set a number of ambitious goals for this initiative, and it has been a great team effort between Direct Wines and Predictix. We are excited about the impact this will have on our business and in helping Direct Wines provide even higher levels of customer satisfaction for wine enthusiasts around the world.”

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Why Cyber Monday matters more than ever

BY CSA STAFF

Given the origins of Cyber Monday, it should have become irrelevant in the grand scheme of online holiday sales. That’s far from the case though as evidenced by the latest insights from digital measurement firm comScore.

The leading digital measurement firm released data late Tuesday showing Cyber Monday sales increased 18% to more than $1.7 billion to establish a new record for the heaviest online shopping day in history. It was also the second day this season in which online sales surpassed $1 billion which was the case on Black Friday.

If that 18% figure sounds lower than what some other firms were quick to report late Monday and early Tuesday it is because comScore looked narrowly at spending conducted via desktop computer and excluded mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

"Any notion that Cyber Monday is declining in importance appears to be completely unfounded as its strong year-over-year growth rate of 18% resulted in yet another record for online spending in a single day," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "While it’s true that many retailers are bleeding their Cyber Monday promotions into the weekend before and the days afterward, Cyber Monday itself continues to be the most important day of the online holiday shopping season. That said, we did also see evidence of early promotions pulling some dollars forward into the weekend, so it is possible that Cyber Monday could have even been stronger were it not for the emergence of this trend."

2013 holiday season to date vs. corresponding days* in 2012

Non-travel (retail) e-commerce spending

Excludes auctions and large corporate purchases

Total U.S.: home and work desktop computers

Source: comScore
Millions ($)
2012
2013
Percent Change
Nov. 1–Dec. 2 (vs. Nov. 2–Dec. 3, 2012)
$22,048
$23,904
8%
Nov. 1–Dec. 2 (vs. Oct. 26–Nov. 26, 2012)
$19,183
$23,904
25%
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28)
$633
$766
21%
Black Friday (Nov. 29)
$1,042
$1,198
15%
Holiday weekend (Nov. 30–Dec. 1)
$1,187
$1,594
34%
Cyber Monday (Dec. 2)
$1,465
$1,735
18%
Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday
$4,327
$5,293
22%
*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 2 through

December 3, 2012)

For example, sales on Thanksgiving Day increased 21% to $766 million and Black Friday sales were up 15% to nearly $1.2 billion. The weekend after Thanksgiving posted particularly strong growth online, raking in nearly $1.6 billion for an increase of 34%, according to comScore. For the total five-day period online sales via desktop computer increased 22% to $5.3 billion.

The growth of online sales isn’t surprising, but the continued dominance of Cyber Monday and the volume of commerce conducted via desktop computers is a noteworthy situation considering the circumstances which gave rise to Cyber Monday.

"Cyber Monday was coined back in 2005 to highlight the significant spike in online spending that occurred on the first day back to work following Thanksgiving weekend," Fulgoni said. “The working theory at the time was that broadband connections at work made it easier for consumers to shop online — and indeed we see that work-based buying accounts for half of all Cyber Monday spending.”

The curious thing is that even though broadband connections are now nearly universal in homes, Cyber Monday has maintained its popularity which Fulgoni attributes to other factors.

“The fact that many people are still in the shopping mindset coming out of Thanksgiving weekend and are in front of a computer screen for eight hours might have something to do with it. Not to mention, it is easier to shop for holiday gifts for family members without them looking over your shoulder at home,” Fulgoni said.

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