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October metrics suggest higher holiday spending, lower traffic

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Several key retail customer metrics during October 2013 indicate holiday spending will rise this year compared to last year, even as holiday store traffic levels decline. According to data on nearly 20 million domestic shopping sessions during October analyzed by in-store retail analytics technology provider Euclid, window conversion in October, defined as the number of shoppers that enter a store as a percentage of the total foot traffic, rose to 8.3% from 6.5% last year, but decreased from 8.7% in September 2013.

Euclid analysis indicates the improvement in conversion rate over last year is a positive sign that the increased promotional efforts seen during the month are having an influence on the shopping trips that are still occurring.

Other metrics reported by Euclid include the percentage of shoppers who entered a store but left within five minutes ("bounce rate") was 10.5% in October 2013, up from 9% in October 2012. In addition, active repeat customers, defined as individuals returning to a store location more than once in 30 days, totaled 11.7% of total visits measured, up 0.3 percentage point from the previous month, but less than the 13.6% seen in October last year. Euclid says this uptick in shopper loyalty compared to September is a positive sign entering the holidays, as observers would expect visit frequency to rise. However, shopper frequency has a ways to go to full recovery.

Shopping session duration, defined as the mean time from store entry to store exit, was 21.5 minutes in October, a 5.5% decline from 22.8 minutes last year and also down from 21.9 minutes in September 2013. Shorter shopping sessions during the last two months reveal shoppers have become more deliberate with trips to the store, showing less interest in browsing through extraneous merchandise.

Euclid expects holiday sales to rise compared to last year, driven by increased disposable income, a very promotional holiday, and pent up demand from several weeks of depressed spending. Having said this, Euclid predicts that overall traffic will drop year-over-year as the shortened holiday period and continued economic uncertainty result in more focused shopping. Bounce rates will continue to rise and overall visit durations will shrink as shoppers, pressed for time, have less patience for longer lines and less interest in extensive browsing. Euclid also expects a decline in repeat customers compared to last year as a result of the fewer trips to store locations.

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Staples extends Black Friday sales

BY CSA STAFF

In addition to opening stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Staples is extending Black Friday sales the entire week of Nov. 24 through Cyber Monday on Dec. 2.

The retailer’s Black Friday promotions include online daily deals changed on a daily basis, trade-in/trade-up technology recycling programs that give holiday shoppers cash toward to the purchase of a new product, and free shipping for members of the Staples Rewards loyalty program and on all purchases of more than $45.

“At Staples, we’re making it easy for shoppers to find the perfect gift with amazing deals leading up to Black Friday through Cyber Monday,” said Alison Corcoran, senior VP of North American stores and online marketing, Staples. “Staples provides more ways than ever to shop this holiday season, including our new Staples.com online storefront, in store with our knowledgeable associates, new Staples.com kiosk or at the Holiday Center.”

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Under Armour to acquire fitness technology company

BY CSA STAFF

Under Armour is in the process of acquiring MapMyFitness, a fitness technology company powering one of the world’s largest digital fitness communities.

Under Armour will leverage the fitness platform to expand its digital capabilities. MapMyFitness has one of the largest connected fitness communities in the world and offers a diverse suite of websites and mobile applications under its flagship brands MapMyRun and MapMyRide. Utilizing GPS and other advanced technologies, MapMyFitness provides users with the ability to map, record and share their workouts.

"This partnership is about Under Armour enhancing our digital expertise to drive the future of performance innovation for the global athlete community," said Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour. "We will build on the community of more than 20 million registered users that MapMyFitness has cultivated in the connected fitness space, and together we will serve as a destination for the measurement and analytics needs of all athletes. Innovation has always been at the core of our company, and now we are better positioned to design open, digital products for the athlete of tomorrow and become more proactive in providing solutions that will help people across the world lead healthier lifestyles."

"MapMyFitness has engaged and built a global community, making advanced training tools more accessible through our web and mobile platforms,” said Robin Thurston, MapMyFitness co-founder and CEO. “The combination of Under Armour’s powerful commitment to athletes and innovation and our connected fitness technology allows us to better serve the needs of athletes around the world."

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Under Armour, MapMyFitness will continue to operate out of its headquarters in Austin, Texas.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2013 and the company’s previously provided 2013 guidance and preliminary 2014 outlook remain unchanged.

Under Armour was advised by the investment banking advisory firm Peter J. Solomon Company and the law firm King & Spalding LLP. MapMyFitness was advised by the investment firm Allen & Company and the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, Professional Corporation.

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