FINANCE

NRF: May retail sales jump 4.8% year-over-year

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation reported Thursday that retail sales in May increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted from April and rose 4.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

The results, which excluded automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were boosted by improved consumer confidence and spending.

“The American consumer continues to drive the U.S. economy,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “In spite of fluctuating gas prices, severe weather in much of the country and fiscal policy uncertainty, consumers continue to demonstrate an inherent resiliency and flexibility.”

May retail sales, released earlier Thursday by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed that total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.3% adjusted year-over-year.



Other findings from the May retail sales report include the following unadjusted, year-over-year results:

  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales surged 9.3%;
  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased a robust 4.8%;
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales dipped 0.2%;
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales edged up 0.1%;
  • General merchandise stores’ sales increased 2.3%;
  • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.5%;
  • Nonstore retailers’ sales surged 11.5%; and
  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 1.8%.
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News

Container Store launches upgraded mobile with Usablenet

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Coppell, Texas — The Container Store has launched an upgraded mobile web experience in partnership with mobile and multichannel technology provider Usablenet.

The refreshed site was designed to give users a seamless, innovative next-generation mobile shopping experience.

Having seen its mobile site traffic increase 62% in the past year, Container Store tapped Usablenet to make more features from the desktop site available on mobile. The retailer wanted to also strengthen visual navigation and social integration, offering customers a more engaging experience overall.

The new mobile experience is backed by U-Control, Usablenet’s content-publishing tool which allows Container Store to quickly refresh site banners, mobile promotions and navigational icon links.

Next-generation features of the retailer’s upgraded mobile web experience include a refreshed homepage that features navigational icons that link to specific product categories, the ability to share products across Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks, an enhanced browsing process that allows customers to access items in their cart via an overlay that does not navigate away from the page they are on, and the addition of shoppable hotspots on banner images. Moreover, in addition to reading reviews, customers can also write reviews and rate products directly from their mobile phones.

“Our goal with this updated mobile site is to offer our loyal shoppers a deeply engaging and socially integrated experience with our brand,” said Jessica Coogan, online marketing director for The Container Store. "Usablenet’s technology allowed us to implement features previously found only on the desktop site — such as banners and homepage icons — that we can switch out at a moment’s notice to constantly provide customers with new, real-time items and special deals.”

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Most dads want mobile offer alerts

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — A new U.S. study conducted online by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Placecast showed that fathers use their mobile phones to save money.

The Wave IV poll in the Alert Shopper series of research revealed that 58% of American dads with smartphones said they had taken action on a promotion or coupon received on their phones, outpacing moms and those without kids.

According to the findings from this study, “Digital Dads” (those with smartphones and kids under 18 in the household) are emerging as a powerful segment for marketers to connect with. Not only are “Mobile Moms” finding ways to save money using their phones; now, Digital Dads are finding real value in checking their phones for offers from brands they like, and are more likely than others to opt-in to location-based offers and share deals with friends.

“At first we were surprised to see how interested fathers are in getting offers on their phones – but it really makes sense, because men from 18-34 have historically been early adopters to new tech, and those ages overlap with the dad demographic,” says Placecast CEO Alistair Goodman.

Other report highlights include:

  • Seven out of 10 (69%) dads who have smartphones and don’t already receive mobile alerts say they are at least somewhat interested in receiving them from merchants on their phones (provided it was opt-in), while 60% of mobile moms said the same, as did just over four out of 10 (42%) of those without kids in the household.
  • Dads are more likely to take action on a mobile offer than moms; 58% of dads surveyed said they had taken action on a promotion or coupon received on their phones, compared to 46% of moms, and just 31% of those without kids in the household.
  • Over half (53%) of the Digital Dads who are at least somewhat interested or already receive alerts said they would recommend the store to others, compared to just under half of the moms (48%) and 35% of those without kids in the household.
  • Four out of 5 Digital Dads and Mobile Moms would find location-based mobile offers at least somewhat useful, with dads having a very slight lead – 81% of dads versus 79% of moms. Parents are significantly more interested in the convenience of local offers than those without kids in the household, of which 55% said that local mobile alerts would be useful.
  • 55% of Dads have a tablet, compared to 39% of moms and just 30% of those without kids in the household.

“We know that men in the Millennial group (18 – 34) are taking on broader responsibilities in parenting, not the least of which is shopping for their families,” said Kathryn Koegel, chief of insights at Primary Impact, the research consultancy that analyzed the Harris Interactive data. “We always used to speak of women as the primary household shopper and heavy user of coupons, but as the Alert Shopper IV attests to, mobile devices are their activation point. Dads today are researching, responding to and redeeming all manner of promotions via their phones and tablets.”

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