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NRF: Holiday sales up 3%, falling short of 4.1% forecast

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Total holiday retail sales increased 3% to $579.8 billion, below the National Retail Federation s projected forecast of 4.1%. Non-store holiday sales grew 11%, below the 12% growth forecast by Shop.org. (The NRF sales figures exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.)

“For over six months, we’ve been saying that the fiscal cliff and economic uncertainty could impact holiday sales. As the number shows, these issues had a visible impact on consumer spending this holiday season,” said Matthew Shay, CEO, NRF.

Heading into 2013, consumers could continue to think twice about making discretionary purchases, warned NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.

In related news, December retail sales increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and increased 4.7% adjusted year-over-year, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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P.Lopez says:
Apr-10-2013 10:47 am

Heading into 2013, consumers could continue to think twice about making discretionary purchases, warned NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. ChatRandom

P.Lopez says:
Apr-10-2013 10:47 am

Heading into 2013, consumers could continue to think twice about making discretionary purchases, warned NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. ChatRandom

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Former Procter & Gamble exec named CEO of Crossmark

BY CSA STAFF

PLANO, Texas — Former Procter & Gamble executive Joe Crafton has been named CEO of Crossmark, a leader in sales and marketing services in the consumer goods industry. Crafton, who served as president of Crossmark until his promotion, succeeds John Thompson, who has been CEO since 2010.

Thompson will now be chief strategy officer, focusing primarily on acquisitions and strategic alliances. He remains a shareholder, serves on the company’s board and will continue to be responsible for overseeing the company’s international businesses.

Ben Fischer will maintain his role as COO and has assumed the additional title of president as well as other responsibilities.

The changes in leadership come after a recent majority investment in Crossmark by an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing. Thompson explains the investment brings a renewed focus on growth.

“We have charted a course for the future that positions us well to grow our business and better serve our clients,” Thompson said. “I chose to create the new chief strategy officer role in order to better focus my efforts on external growth opportunities. Simultaneously, Joe and Ben will continue to develop and lead new initiatives that will continue to enhance service to our clients and customers.”

Crafton began his Crossmark career in 1988, was elected to the board in 2000 and held a variety of leadership positions before being appointed president of the company in 2010. Prior to joining the company, Crafton was a manager with Procter & Gamble.

“For nearly 25 years, Joe has proven himself in a variety of Crossmark senior leadership roles in both the legacy sales agency business as well as emerging and innovative service businesses,” said Jim Neary, managing director, Warburg Pincus. “Under Joe’s leadership of the company’s marketing services division, Crossmark has become the North American leader of in-store marketing services.”

“We have great people and a strong culture of exceeding clients’ expectations with service excellence. With the twin tailwinds of both outsourcing and shopper marketing, we are well positioned for significant growth. I look forward to building on our company’s strong foundation and to continue delivering more value and growth for our clients and customers,” Crafton said.

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Web caching solution enhances online browsing in stores

BY CSA STAFF

DAYTON, Ohio — Stratacache, a leading provider of scalable, high-performance digital signs, content distribution and video acceleration technologies, has unveiled a Web caching solution at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and Expo.

Called Retail Cache, the solution enhances Web browsing, so customers can use in-store tablets to check out catalogs or order out-of-stock merchandise, without encountering slow, unreliable Internet connectivity.

Stratacache explains that Retail Cache makes website content available to customers at the local, in-store wireless network speed, which provides much faster speed connections. Retailers have the option to pre-populate the cache with specific content their customers want, delivering the most bandwidth-intensive applications to online shoppers.

“In today’s digital age, customers are using in-store tablets to browse mobile catalogs, order out-of-stock products and complete sales transactions, however the advantages of providing in-store access to Web-based marketing and sales material is lost if the online experience is slow or unreliable,” said Chris Riegel, Stratacache CEO. “The Retail Cache overcomes this challenge, delivering website content at the local, in-store wireless network speed for a faster Web browsing experience that keeps consumers coming back.”

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