FINANCE

Oracle to buy e-commerce software maker ATG for $1 billion

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Oracle Corp. announced Tuesday it would purchase e-commerce software company Art Technology Group (ATG) for approximately $1 billion in cash. Industry experts said the deal underscores Oracle’s desire to strengthen its e-commerce and customer relationship management business, particularly given the growth of mobile devices.

“More than 1,000 global enterprises rely on ATG’s solutions to help increase the value of their online customer interactions,” said Bob Burke, president and CEO of ATG. “This combination will enhance the ability to bring all their commerce activities together — creating a more consistent and relevant experience for their customers across all interaction channels, including online, in stores, via mobile devices and with call centers.”

ATG’s e-commerce software platform is highly complementary to Oracle’s CRM, ERP, retail and supply chain applications as well as its middleware and business intelligence technologies.

The acquisition is up for stockholder and regulatory approval and is expected to close in early 2011.

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FINANCE

Survey: Holiday sales to hit $519 billion; strongest growth will be in electronics

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Holiday retail sales will grow by a strong 4.5% [+/- 0.5%] year-over-year to a record $519 billion, according to retail consulting and research firm Customer Growth Partners, New Canaan, Conn.

“Consumers have endured over two years of economic body blows, but have been slowly picking themselves off the mat since last year, despite the employment woes,” said Craig Johnson, president Consumer Growth Partners (CPG). “The 83% of Americans with full-time jobs are beginning to spend again, and they will drive retailers to the best year-over-over holiday sales growth since 2005.”

CGP’s 4.5% forecast for the November-December holiday shopping season is above consensus estimates of 2% to 3% growth (National Retail Federation has forecast growth of 2.3%). The CGP forecast includes direct-to-consumer sales, primarily e-commerce sales, which are excluded in NRF’s forecast. Direct sales have been the fastest growing segment of retail since the 1990’s, and in 2009 represented some 10% of total holiday sales.

  • Among merchandise categories, the strongest growth will come in electronics and appliances, up some 6%, led primarily by e-reader, iPad and mobile phone growth — and secondarily by major appliances, which will exceed their surprise performance at last year’s Black Friday sales.
  • Pent-up demand will drive home-related categories to their strongest growth in half a decade, over 5%, including both home-furnishings and home-improvement retailers.
  • Discount and other value retailers will continue to shine in holiday 2010, led by off-price retailers such as TJX and Ross Stores, low-priced “fast fashionistas” such as Forever 21 H&M and Love Culture, and big boxers such as Costco and an outperforming Target.
  • Sweaters will remain the single most common holiday gift — and may well see a sharp increase as consumers stock up before near Civil War record cotton prices work their way through the supply chain early next year.
  • Traditional holiday retail categories will enjoy a stellar year, including luxury segments such as jewelry, and toys, where expanded distribution — e.g. Toys “R” Us’ pop-up stores — and strong competition from Walmart and Target will drive sales.
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FINANCE

Subway opens 500 locations in third quarter

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Subway announced that it opened 500 new locations in third quarter 2010, or from July 1 to Sept. 30. The chain said its franchisees opened units in 45 counties, 42 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces.

Highlights for the period include reaching more than 33,500 locations worldwide, of which 9,900 can be found in international markets. Of special note is the milestone of 1,100 restaurants reached by the McLean, Va.-Subway Development Corp. of Washington, the company that oversees the chain’s single largest development territory, which includes all of Virginia and Delaware, Washington, D.C., and most of Maryland.

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