News

PriceGrabber: Almost half of Americans plan to spend less this holiday season

BY CSA STAFF

LOS ANGELES — The state of the economy continues to impact consumers’ holiday shopping decisions as many plan to spend less or the same this year.

According to a new survey of 3,070 U.S. online shopping consumers, conducted by PriceGrabber, 45% said that they plan to spend less this year, while 49% plan to spend the same, compared with 2010. Additionally, more than two-thirds of those surveyed (68%) said the economic climate will affect their overall spending, with many of them attributing their decision to an increase in prices for food, gas and other necessities.

Despite having a negative outlook on the economy, 70% of consumers believed retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year due to the current state of the economy. Shoppers said that such discounts as price cuts and free shipping, as well as coupons and blowout sales, will entice them to buy (75%).

"Our survey data found that shoppers are not only expecting to find great prices and bargains this holiday season, but 53% will start shopping earlier this year to spread out the impact of purchases, and 33% are beginning their holiday shopping in October," PriceGrabber general manager Graham Jones said. "This finding implies that consumers are strategizing to capitalize on the holiday sales that appear to begin earlier in the season each year, as we just recently saw with the back-to-school shopping season. The economy’s resistance to improve significantly will give retailers added incentive to lower their prices, especially as consumers have become savvier since the beginning of the economic downturn."

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STORE SPACES

Subway opens 400 new locations in August/September, expands green offerings

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Milford, Conn. — Subway said Monday that it opened more than 400 sandwich shops during August and September in 44 countries, 36 U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces.

The new restaurants account for more than 480,000 sq. ft. of retail space and bring the total number of Subways to just over 35,300 locations in 98 countries.

During the two-month period, the chain also announced the opening of five new “Green” Subway Eco-Restaurants, making 14 in all. Each is designed with environmentally friendly elements to reduce energy, water, and waste consumption in cost-effective ways.

“All of these new eco-restaurants reflect the brand’s commitment to social responsibility and sustainability,” said Elizabeth Stewart, who heads the chain’s corporate social responsibility efforts.

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OPERATIONS

Massmart to open 23 new stores over eight months

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Johannesburg, South Africa — A Bloomberg report on Sunday said that Massmart Holdings Ltd., the South African retailer controlled by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., will open 23 new outlets over the next eight months, part of its plan to not only expand its coverage area but also to add jobs in the region. The plan calls for 15,000 jobs over the next three years.

The retailer also said it will repeat a price-cut promotion at its stores.

Massmart reduced prices for 10 weeks starting in July, shortly after Wal-Mart’s acquisition of a controlling stake was approved by South African authorities.

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