FINANCE

Nielsen: U.S. consumers spending looking up

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — North American consumers opened their wallets in the first quarter of 2013 and exhibited a desire to spend again, although they remain cautious, according to the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions. Forty-two percent said they plan to spend on discretionary items this year, a six-point rise from fourth quarter 2012, and up from the average of 33% over the past three years.

North America led the other regions in terms of spending intentions, followed by the Asia-Pacific region, which reported an increase of two percentage points to 39%. Comparatively, spending intentions declined among respondents in Latin America (35%), Middle East/Africa (33%) and Europe (27%). The Nielsen report measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents with Internet access in 58 countries.

“In the U.S., the increase in reported discretionary spending is not a rising tide affecting all ships,” said James Russo, senior VP, global consumer insights, Nielsen. “Nearly four years after the official recession hit, more than three-quarters of Americans are still feeling the effects. With close to two-thirds of Americans living pay check to pay check, consumers are significantly affected by continued volatile economic factors, such as job growth, rising food and fuel prices.”

Study highlights include:

  • 49% of Americans said their personal financial prospects looked “good to excellent”, up from 43% in the previous quarter and encouraged by signs of an improving labor market.
  • 23% of Americans said they intended to spend on home improvement and decorating projects (an increase of six points compared to fourth quarter 2012).
  • 22% of Americans plan on spending on out of home entertainment (an increase of two percentage points compared to fourth quarter 2012).
  • 25% of Americans plan on buying new clothes (a decline from 27% reported in fourth quarter 2012).
  • Confidence in key Asian export economies rebounded strongly in the first quarter.
  • Consumer confidence in central and northern Europe increased, surpassing year-ago levels.
  • Latin Americans reported spending restraint and the region’s confidence dipped two points in the first quarter.
  • Consumer confidence in the Middle East/Africa region declined to the lowest level in three years.
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OPERATIONS

Destination XL launches ad campaign to support expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

Canton, Mass. — Destination XL Group on May 5 launched a national advertising campaign designed to draw attention to the many challenges men who wear extra large sizes face when shopping for clothes and position Destination XO stores as the one-stop-shopping solution for the style needs of this underserved consumer.

The new campaign coincides with the retailer’s accelerated store expansion plan. The company, which currently has more than 50 stores across the country, expects to operate between 105 and 112 stores by the end of the fiscal year, and more than 200 stores by 2016.

In conjunction with the ad campaign, DXL will soft-launch a real-time marketing initiative designed to acknowledge common challenges XL guys face, like cramped airplane seats, ill-fitting clothing and uncomfortable car rides. Consumers are encouraged to share their #bigguyproblems via Twitter with @DestinationXL

The TV and radio spots, titled "No Man’s Land," use humor to underscore the shared and relatable shopping frustrations bigger guys face in shopping. The retailer teamed with Interpublic Agency, Gotham, to create the spot.

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REAL ESTATE

Modell’s to open in Arlington, Va.

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Modell’s Sporting Goods will celebrate the grand opening of its store in Arlington, Va., on May 9.

The store is located in Pentagon Centre. With its opening, Modell’s will have a total of 154 storefronts.

“We are thrilled to have our 18th store in the Virginia-Maryland area,” said Modell’s president and CEO Mitchell Modell. “We look forward to becoming a stronghold in our new community and getting them everything they need for the summer.”

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