FINANCE

NRF sees only slight increase in Valentine’s Day spending

BY Staff Writer

Washington — Consumers aren’t quite ready to shell out the big bucks for their loved ones this Valentine’s Day as much as they were last year. The 2013 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted for the National Retail Federation by BIGinsight shows only a slight increase in expected sales this year with the average person planning to spend $130.97 on candy, cards, gifts and more, up from $126.03 last year. Total spending will reach $18.6 billion.

More than half (51.0%) of gift givers will buy candy, spending $1.6 billion in total, and another one-third (36.6%) will give flowers, with total spending expected to top $1.9 billion. Others will treat their special someone to jewelry (19.7%), spending more than $4.4 billion on diamonds, gold and silver.

An additional 15.6% will buy clothing, spending more than $1.6 billion. Fifteen percent of gift givers will buy gift cards, totaling to $1.5 billion.

The survey found that more than one-quarter (26.3%) of those celebrating plan to buy their gifts online, up from 19.3% last year and the most in the survey’s 10-year history. Other shoppers will seek out the perfect gift at discount stores (39.6%), department stores (33.2%), specialty stores (22.9%), floral shops (19.6%), jewelry stores (11.2%), specialty clothing stores (7.5%) and through catalogs (2.6%).

The average male will spend significantly more than the average woman this year. Men will spend an average of $175.61 on jewelry, flowers, a romantic evening out and more, while their counterparts will spend approximately $88.78.

Additionally, four in 10 (40.7%) smartphone owners will use their handhelds to shop for gifts, and 46.9% of tablet owners will use their devices to purchase items, research gift ideas and more.

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REAL ESTATE

Shopko completes conversion of acquired Pamida Stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Green Bay, Wis. — Shopko announced it has completed the conversion of 163 Pamida stores making it one of the largest U.S. retailers focused on serving smaller and rural communities. It was a year ago that Shopko and Pamida first announced their intent to merge the two companies and convert the existing Pamida locations to the Shopko Hometown store format. One year later, the conversion of the last group of Pamida stores is now complete with the final 36 stores celebrating their official grand openings as Shopko Hometown.

Shopko invested a total of $70 million into efforts to convert the Pamida stores to the Shopko Hometown format.

Shopko currently operates 176 Shopko Hometown stores, a significant jump from just 10 at this time last year.

The Shopko Hometown format combines pharmacy services with a broad and dynamic offering of strong national brands and high-value private label brands of apparel, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items, and lawn and garden products – all in attractive, well laid out, easy-to-shop store formats that range from 15,000 to 35,000 square feet.

“2012 was a watershed year for Shopko as a result of the merger with Pamida, which significantly increased our store count, employee base and overall revenue. Our team did an exceptional job of integrating the two companies into one and staying on an aggressive schedule for the store conversion efforts. All 163 stores were converted and opened on time," said Mike Bettiga, Shopko interim CEO and COO.

As the company moves into 2013 and beyond, it is solidifying the Shopko Hometown brand and opening more Hometown stores in new communities, Bettiga said.

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OPERATIONS

Men’s Wearhouse simplifies wedding planning with mobile app

BY Staff Writer

Fremont, Calif. — Men’s Wearhouse announced today the launch of a free mobile app called Wedding Tuxedo Group Manager, which provides couples with information about the rental of their wedding party’s tuxedos, simplifying the wedding planning process and providing peace of mind.

The app is equipped with a variety of wedding party management features allowing couples to manage the tuxedo rental process from start to finish, right from their iPhone, including status updates that allow the couple to view which members of the wedding party have and have not been fitted for, picked up, or returned their tuxedos, and tools for easy follow-up with members of their wedding party based on their rental status.

It also provides real-time assistance through a live “chat” functionality with Men’s Wearhouse customer service, and verification of tuxedo style, pickup and return dates

“As the largest tuxedo rental provider in North America, we’re excited to introduce a new tool that makes the tux rental process easier from start to finish, for the entire wedding party,” said Sam Stogner, SVP store operations, Men’s Wearhouse.

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Apr-29-2013 07:01 am

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