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C-SUITE

Longtime Kroger vet jumps ship for Target

BY Marianne Wilson

A 30-year veteran of The Kroger Co. has joined Target Corp. to head up the discounter’s struggling grocery business.

Target has appointed Jeff Burt as senior VP, grocery, fresh food and beverage, effective April 10.

Burt joins Target from The Kroger Co., where he was most recently the president of the Fred Meyer division. In this role, he was responsible for the executive management of stores, fuel stations, distribution centers, manufacturing plants and 38,000 employees. During his 30-year career at Kroger, Burt held a number of leadership positions, including leading the chain’s central division, overseeing various merchandise categories, overall merchandising and operations.

Target has been working to turnaround its grocery business, which accounts for one-fifth of the company’s sales. The retailer has been searching for a new grocery head since Anne Dament left the company last year amid continuing grocery sales declines.

Burt will report to Target’s executive VP and chief merchandising officer, Mark Tritton.

“After an extensive search to find a new leader to join our team, I’m confident that Jeff is the right person for the charge. His vast industry expertise will accelerate our plans to bring a unique food and beverage experience to Target guests,” said Tritton.

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MOBILITY

Fashion retailer steps up its mobile experience

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Charlotte Russe is taking steps to blend its online and offline experiences.

The young women’s apparel specialty chain recently added a mobile commerce platform from PredictSpring designed to deliver a next-generation app to its customers. The app delivers the three key elements most demanded by Charlotte Russe’s customer: speed, flexibility, and a smooth blend of the online and offline brand experience.

For example, the app allows users to browse and shop Charlotte Russe’s Instagram feed within the app, and access exclusive offers and flash sales — a feature that provides a “VIP experience” to customers. It also gives users insight into real-time in-store inventory, enabling customers to check item availability in any of Charlotte Russe’s 550 stores.

“Our customer demands instant gratification and the ability to shop with the single touch of a button, anywhere and anytime on their mobile de-vice,” said Carrie Welch, senior VP of digital experience, Charlotte Russe.

“Speed is essential to our customer and pivotal to building brand loyal-ty,” she added. “The PredictSpring platform is unrivaled, with our app performing between 20 and 30 times faster than a typical mobile experi-ence. Also, the integration with digital wallet, Apple Pay has proven key to driving increased conversion.”

The Charlotte Russe app is available for download in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play Store. Since its launch in July 2016, the app has had over 1 million downloads.

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TECHNOLOGY

Study: Consumers in rebellion against full prices

BY Marianne Wilson

Shoppers are no longer willing to pay full price as deep discounts influence consumer behavior.

That is one of the key findings of a new consumer report by First Insight, which found that widespread discounting by department stores and mass merchants is significantly influencing the expectations of discounts when consumers shop in other product categories.

The study found that while expectations are similar across genders, they vary by age, with baby-boomers expecting deeper discounts than millennials and Gen-Xers. Indeed, 76% of baby-boomers will not pay full price when shopping for home electronics, home appliances, furniture, smartphones and vehicles, according to the first in a series of reports by First Insight. The survey results were announced Monday during Shoptalk in Las Vegas.

“The results of this survey indicate that the rampant discounting that has become the norm in department stores and mass merchants has had a clear impact on consumers and the way they now consider purchases in every aspect of their lives,” said Greg Petro, CEO and founder of First Insight. “In categories ranging from home electronics to automobiles, a vast majority of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers are less likely to consider purchasing at full price, with Millennials less impacted by discounts overall. This is an incredibly useful finding, and retailers need to be aware of these shifting expectations within their target audiences in order to compete, while still maximizing profits and sales. It’s a delicate balance.”

Additional findings of the survey include:

• Consumers expect discounts every time they shop

Ninety percent of all consumers surveyed acknowledged that discounts in department stores and mass merchants significantly influenced, or somewhat influenced, their expectations for discounts in home electronics. Similar expectations were shared by consumers shopping for home appliances (88%), furniture (86%), smartphones (83%) and vehicles (80%).

• Baby-boomers are least likely to pay full price.

The vast majority of baby-boomers surveyed expect some level of discount in order to consider a purchase. Across every category including vehicles, smartphones, furniture, and home appliances, more than 70% of baby-boomers said they would ‘definitely not’ or ‘probably not’ purchase an item in these categories at full price, with an even higher 79% stating a discount would likely be necessary when purchasing home electronics.

• Discounts have less impact on millennials.

Less than half of millennials stated they would ‘definitely not’ or ‘probably not’ buy vehicles (39%), furniture (40%), home appliances (42%) and home electronics (41%) at full price. Only 35% would be less likely to buy a smartphone at full price.

• Deepest discounts expected in electronics, home appliances and furniture.

Roughly 80% of all respondents reported they would ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ buy a product that met their needs at the deepest discounts suggested by the study in categories of home electronics, home appliances and furniture.

However, deep discounts showed a significantly lower impact on purchase decisions surrounding smartphones and vehicles with only 66% and 55% of respondents saying they’d definitely or probably buy these products if deeply discounted, respectively.

Discount rates were selected based on discounts commonly observed within each category, with deep discounts in home electronics, home appliances and furniture at 40%, smartphones at 20% and vehicles at 15%.

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