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NRF survey details holiday spending plans

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Most consumers will take a conservative approach with their holiday gift-giving budgets, according to NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight. The average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, up slightly from the $740.57 they spent last year. NRF forecasts that holiday sales will increase 4.1% to $586.1 billion.

According to the survey, consumers will spend a considerable amount of time in stores and online this year looking for the best deal. Nearly two-thirds (65.3%) will shop at discount stores and more than half (57.8%) will shop at department stores. Clothing stores (36.2%), electronics stores (31.8%) and specialty stores (16.7%) will be popular with holiday shoppers as well. Grocery stores will also see increased foot traffic – 51.8% will shop at a grocery store for holiday items, up from 48.8% last year.

In other survey findings:

  • Setting a new high, 51.8% will shop online for gifts and other items this holiday season, up from 46.7% last year. The average person will complete about 38.8% of their shopping on retailers’ and other companies websites, another survey high.
  • More than half (52.9%) of those who own smartphones and nearly two-thirds (64.1%) of those who own tablets plan to use their devices to research and purchase holiday gifts, décor, food items, and more.
  • Specifically, 32.9% of smartphone owners will research products and compare prices with their handheld, and another 24.9% will use their phone to look up retailer information, such as store location, hours and directions. Nearly two in 10 (17.6%) will use apps to research or purchase products and 15.0% plan to purchase items.
  • Tablet owners are even more likely to use their tablet to aid in their holiday purchases. Four in 10 (44.2%) will research products or compare prices, 19.8% will redeem coupons and 27.6% will look up a retailer’s location and/or store hours. Three in 10 (30.0%) will actually make a purchase with their tablet.
  • Gift cards top holiday wish lists: 59.8% of those polled say they’d like to receive gift cards this year, up from 57.7% last year and the most in the survey’s history. Half (49.1%) say they would like clothing, 45.7%said books, CD, DVDs, videos, or video games, and more than one-third (35.8%) are requesting electronics or computer-related accessories. Nearly one-quarter (24.0%) want jewelry, the most seen since 2008.
  • According to the survey, the biggest portion of shoppers’ budget this year will go towards gifts for family members with the average person planning to spend $421.82 on children, parents, aunt, uncles and more. Additionally, people will spend $75.13 on friends, $23.48 on co-workers and $28.13 on others, such as pets and community members. Consumers will also spend on food and candy ($100.76), greeting cards ($28.66) and flowers ($19.55.) When it comes to decorations, the average person will spend $51.99, up from $49.15 last year and the most in the survey’s history. Total spending on holiday décor will reach $6.9 billion.
  • Consistent with results seen the past 10 years, 41.4% of Americans say they will begin holiday shopping before Halloween. And 22.1% say they will begin in October, up from 20.3% last year. Another 39.0% will begin in November, 16.2% will begin in first two weeks of December and 3.5% will wait until the very last minute and shop in the last two weeks of December.

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Dec-20-2012 02:51 pm

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Judge dismisses Texas civil-action suit claims against Wal-Mart

BY Staff Writer

New York — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will not face class-action gender-discrimination claims in a federal court lawsuit in Texas, Bloomberg reported. U.S District Judge Reed O’Connor has dismissed the Texas class complaint, finding that the lawsuit was filed too late.

The suit, which alleged the retailer discriminated against women in pay and promotions in the company’s Texas region, sought to represent all women hourly and salaried workers, below store managers, employed by Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club in the region.

The judge also dismissed the suit by lead plaintiff, Stephanie Odle. But he allowed other individual claims to go forward.

A similar suit is pending in California, and complaints were filed this month in Florida and Tennessee.

“We are pleased that the district court has dismissed the class action claims, recognizing the individuals must pursue their own claims,” Theodore Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for Wal-Mart, said yesterday in an interview, Bloomberg reported.

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New mixed-use project planned for Times Square; will feature nation’s largest LED screen, retail complex and hotel tower

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Maefield Development, Infinity Urban Century, The Witkoff Group and New Valley, an investment unit of Vector Group LTD announced that they have completed the $430 million acquisition of their Times Square Gateway Center development site. The purchase clears the way for construction of a 340,000-sq.-ft., 36-story, multi-use development that will anchor the northern end of Times Square, with a new retail experience, a hotel tower, and the nation’s largest single LED screen.

When fully complete in three years, the $800 million project, located at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue, will feature 130,000 sq. ft. of multi-story retail space facing the Square, a 24,000-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art LED sign wrapping around its facade at 100 feet of height, a dramatic rooftop and entertainment venue overlooking the Square, and a 500-room hotel tower.

An existing eleven-story turn-of-the-century office building currently on the site will be partially demolished to make way for the project’s retail and signage complex, expected to be operational within two years.

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