MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Mintel: High-income households shopping dollar stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago — Dollar stores are not just for lower- and middle-income shoppers. In fact, half (50%) of respondents from the highest-income households ($150k+) say that they are shopping at dollar stores the same amount this year compared to last year, with 10% say they are doing so more than last year, according to new research from Mintel. Only 32% of respondents from the highest-income households claim not to shop at dollar stores.

“Dollar and discount stores benefit from continued consumer caution regarding spending, as well as an improved level of acceptance and satisfaction of the products offered and the shopping experience in these channels," said Ali Lipson, retail analyst at Mintel. "However, some consumers do have a perception of lesser quality offered at these retailers, thus choosing other channels over dollar and discount stores. In order to reverse this perception, dollar and discount stores need to promote brand name offerings to those who are unaware that well-known brands are offered at these stores. "

Some 78% of dollar-store shoppers say that stores are conveniently located, and almost three-quarters (74%) of shoppers think that dollar stores offer better prices than other retailers. But convenience and price aren’t the only features driving consumers to dollar stores: 59% of respondents say these stores are pleasant to shop in, while 54% believe brands and products sold at dollar stores are just as good as other retailers.

However, income shoppers do have an issue with the brands and products sold. Dollar store shoppers who live in households earning less than $25K are satisfied with the selection (64%), while only 34% of those in $150K+ households find the brands and products at dollar stores just as good as other retailers.

Younger men and women, those aged 18-34, are more likely than those in other age groups to say they are shopping at dollar stores more often this year compared to last year (33% of men and 31% of women versus 24% of all respondents).

"Younger consumers are an important group to target for dollar and discount stores. This group is likely to be from lower-income households as many may be students and others who are starting out in their careers and could benefit from the discount prices and convenience of these venues," said Lipson.

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FINANCE

Leonard Green & Partners unit to buy Juicy Couture for $195 million

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Fifth & Pacific Cos., formerly known as Liz Claiborne, agreed to sell its Juicy Couture brand to Authentic Brands Group for $195 million, according to various reports.

"This decision is the result of a process we began last year—studying our resource allocation needs, our capital structure, and the operating risks and opportunities associated with a three-brand portfolio while still maximizing shareholder value," said William McComb, CEO of Fifth & Pacific, in a statement.

Fifth & Pacific has said it wants to focus on its higher-end Kate Spade brand. The company has been selling its brands and, with the sale of Juicy, is now down to just two: Kate Spade and Lucky Brand.

Juicy, best known for its brightly-colored velour track suits, has been struggling since the sweatsuits and the brand fell out of favor.

Authentic Brands, a division of Leonard Green & Partners, will get a $10 million guaranteed minimum royalty from Fifth & Pacific, Reuters reported.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Retail imports cargo moving despite government shutdown concerns

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Despite concerns over the government shutdown, import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to grow 9.1% in October over the same month last year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released Monday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. The numbers reflect merchandise ordered months before the shutdown as retailers planned for the holiday season.


“With the holidays nearly here, retailers are making sure their shelves are well-stocked,” NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Cargo is continuing to move through the ports but the government shutdown has left some agencies short-handed, so NRF will monitor the situation closely as the holidays approach.”


U.S. Customs and Border Protection has furloughed 6,000 workers because of the government shutdown that began last week, but Acting Commissioner Thomas Winkowski said the impact at the docks should be “minimal” since ports will remain open, with inspectors continuing to work and process cargo. But other government agencies that have a role in clearing cargo at the ports have not remained as staffed as CBP, leaving retailers cautious.


Cargo import numbers do not correlate directly with sales because they count only the number of cargo containers, not the value of the merchandise inside them. August, September and October are the months when most of the holiday season’s merchandise is brought into the country. The 4.42 million cargo containers expected for those months combined is a 5.9% increase over last year and accounts for 25.6% of all retail imports for the entire year.

Despite the current increases, container traffic growth overall has been slow this year, and the reduced demand for shipping capacity has ocean carriers cutting the number of vessels on the water and taking other steps, Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said.

“The supply-and-demand balance dictates pricing,” Hackett said. “This has left the carriers to find ways to cut costs as a means to better financial results. Using larger ships is one solution, and larger alliances as a means to managing capacity is another.”

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

"Juicy Couture is a leading lifestyle brand that is recognized worldwide," said Authentic CEO Jamie Salter, noting that he is excited to realize the brand’s global potential, in a statement. His company has been snapping up labels in recent years, purchasing menswear brands Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx out of bankruptcy last year, for example.

As part of the transition, Fifth & Pacific has entered into a short-term licensing agreement through the first half of next year, which includes a $10 million minimum royalty payment for Authentic.

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