MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Many brands lack effective response to social complaints

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta – More than 50% of brands don’t have a strategy in place to manage responses to social media complaints from customers. Results of a recent survey conducted by Social Media Marketing University (SMMU) shows that 58.2% of brands receive customer complaints via social media “occasionally,” 10.9% receive them “somewhat often” and 4.9% receive them “very often.”

In total, almost 75% of brands receive social media complaints. In addition, survey results show:

• 26.1% of brands’ reputations have been tarnished as a result of negative social media posts; 15.2 percent lost customers and 11.4% lost revenue.

• 23.4% of brands not only do not have a strategy in place to manage negative social commentary, but do not have plans to develop one. 24.5% of brands are in the process of developing a strategy and 7.6% have strategies in place that are currently proving to be ineffective.

“So many brands are buying into the ‘friending equals spending’ mentality,” said John Souza, founder of Social Media Marketing University. “They want the benefits of social media but aren’t truly aware of the investment of effort that’s required to see a return. As a result, this lack of effort rarely produces desired results and can lead to alienation of customers, fans and followers. It can even escalate to a backlash of negativity.”

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STORE SPACES

Ross Dress for Less expanding in Chicago area

BY CSA STAFF

Dublin, Calif. – Ross Dress for Less will open four new locations in the greater Chicago area on March 8, 2014. These openings bring the total number of Chicago area stores to 35 for the retailer.

New locations will be in Pullman Park Shopping Center in Chicago, Lake Park Pointe Shopping Center in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Waukegan Plaza in Waukegan, and Butterfield Plaza in Downers Grove. Together, Ross Dress for Less and DD’s Discounts currently operate approximately 1,300 off-price apparel and home fashion stores in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.

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FINANCE

Conn’s preliminary Q4 sales look strong; plans 15-20 new stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

The Woodlands, Texas – Conn’s Inc. released preliminary fourth quarter net sales and same-store sales results for its retail segment that suggest strong financial performance. On a year-over-year basis, Conn’s net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 were an estimated $301.6 million, increasing $93.3 million, or 44.8%, from the same period last year.

Net sales represent total product sales, repair service agreement commissions and service revenues. Same store sales rose an estimated 33.4% over the comparable prior-year period. In addition, Conn’s expects to open 15 to 20 new HomePlus stores in fiscal 2015.

Theodore M. Wright, chairman and CEO of Conn’s, said bad weather did not impede the retailer’s sales, but increases in wholesale television prices have affected electronics sales.

“Unusually severe weather in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 did not prevent us from reaching our sales objectives,” said Wright. “Since the first of the year, however, vendor-supported promotion of televisions has declined compared to the holiday season and the same period a year ago. Net purchase prices for consumers increased significantly for many of our key television models and same store sales trends in electronics are below fourth-quarter fiscal 2014 levels. While our sales outlook for other product categories remains positive, we have revised our fiscal 2015 guidance to include lower expected sales rates in electronics.”

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