OPERATIONS

NPD: Consumers using stores as showrooms in home retail categories

BY Staff Writer

Port Washington, N.Y. — There is evidence in the home retail sector that consumers increasingly are first researching a product in physical store and then making their actual purchase online, according to The NPD Group.

The practice is known as “showrooming,” and NPD reports that 15%-20% of consumers in 2011 were “showrooming” categories like stand mixers, electric knives, sewing machines, and some floor cleaners. Other categories like power tools, hairsetters, and robotic vacuums are now beginning to show signs of the “showrooming” trend as well.

“We are a long way off from a world of online-only shopping. The majority of consumers buy their kitchen appliances, personal care, and home environment products in a brick-and-mortar store. That being said the prevalence of smart phones provides consumers with the ability to do price comparisons in real-time, while still in the store, increasing the challenge retailers are faced with to offer the best price,” said Perry James, president of home and office Supplies, The NPD Group.

According to NPD, the majority of home-related purchases were made in brick-and-mortar stores in 2011, with online sales accounting for a 13% dollar share of small appliances and a five percent dollar share of home improvement sales in 2011.

“The need to touch and feel a product before making the purchase is still very compelling for most customers, and that is what initially gets them in the door,” Jemes said. “Once they have the items in their hands, and have decided they want it, the need for immediate gratification can be too strong to go home and wait for an item to be shipped to their home, even if it is the less expensive option.”

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News

Verifone Systems acquires Lift Retail Marketing

BY Staff Writer

San Jose, Calif. — VeriFone Systems has acquired Lift Retail Marketing Technology Inc., Atlanta. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lift Retail developed and markets the Lift Station, a network-connected digital marketing hub that integrates with point-of-sale systems (POS) in the convenience store and petroleum retailing market.

Lift Retail will be incorporated into VeriFone’s solutions portfolio as a product and services offering called LiftRetail Solutions, which will integrate with all leading retail POS systems in the convenience store/petroleum segment.

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FINANCE

Ascena Retail Group Q2 profit up 50%; opening 125 stores in fiscal 2012

BY Marianne Wilson

Suffern, N.Y. — Ascenta Retail Group Inc., whose brands include Dressbarn, Maurices, and Justice, said its fiscal second-quarter profit rose 50% on higher sales. The company raised its earnings forecast for the current fiscal year.

Ascena said that during the quarter ended Jan. 28 it earned $63.7 million, compared with $42.5 million in the same period a year before.

Revenue during the quarter rose 15% to $862 million. E-commerce sales jumped 61% to $52 million in the quarter.

As the spring shopping season starts, Ascena Retail Group said it plans to open about 85 stores and close around 20 other locations. For the full 2012 fiscal year, it plans to open 145 stores and close 55, and will close the year with about some 2,600 locations.

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