Prospects bright for holiday sales among luxury consumers
Stevens, Pa. — Luxury consumers picked up their pace of shopping in the third quarter, with luxury spending up 25.8% over last quarter, according to Unity Marketing’s Luxury Tracking Survey. "The first half of 2012 showed affluent consumers restrained in spending on luxury goods and services, but spending rebounded strongly in the third quarter survey with signs pointing to rising demand during the critical fourth quarter," said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing.
Over half (52%) of affluent consumer surveyed feel they are financially better off today than twelve months ago; this measure hasn’t been this high since first quarter 2011.
“Rising even more sharply is the percentage of luxury consumers who feel the country as a whole is doing better now as compared with three months ago,” Danziger said. “Some 37% of affluent surveyed feel the country is now moving in the right direction, up 15 percentage points from last quarter."
Unity Marketing is optimistic about prospects for the fourth quarter especially for retailers that attract affluent consumers, including both the upper-middle income HENRYS (high earners not rich yet with incomes $100,000 to $249,999) and the luxury-leaning ultra-affluents (top 2%, incomes $250,000 and above).
“These affluent consumers are the economy’s ‘heavy-lifters,’ accounting for only 20% of U.S. households, but over 40% of all consumer spending,” Danziger said. “They drive the consumer economy overall and are the primary customers for retailers like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and luxury brands such as Ralph Lauren, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Tiffany."
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NCR to acquire Retalix
Duluth, Ga. — NCR Corp. announced a definitive agreement for NCR to acquire Retalix Ltd., a leading global provider of innovative retail software and services, for a cash purchase price of $30.00 per Retalix share, for a transaction value of approximately $650 million.
NCR said the addition of Retalix will strengthen NCR’s global leadership position in the retail industry, and builds upon its successful integration of Radiant Systems into the NCR portfolio of solutions. This acquisition demonstrates NCR’s commitment to its strategy and continued transformation to a hardware-enabled, software-driven business model, delivering solutions that materially improve business processes while enabling seamless consumer experiences across touch points, locations, and channels. The transaction is expected to accelerate NCR’s corporate strategy by increasing the portfolio mix of higher-margin software and services, enabling increased value for our customers, and continued growth and improved margins for NCR shareholders.
“Retalix is a strong, strategic fit for NCR and the combination of our two companies will drive significant value for both our shareholders and customers,” said NCR chairman and CEO, Bill Nuti. “Retalix’s market-leading software and services capabilities will enhance NCR’s retail solutions, creating a world-class portfolio of offerings. That innovation, plus the addition of exceptional talent to our team, positions NCR as the global leader in retail innovation.”
NCR also expects to use Retalix’s software to accelerate the development of NCR’s enterprise software platform, creating new software modules that can be used across the retail industry and leveraged across NCR’s financial, travel and hospitality industries on a global scale.
Bing battles Google’s credibility with new campaign
Microsoft has taken offense to the practice of paying to improve one’s ranking in Google search results and has launched a campaign touting its "honest" search results.
Google is the leader in search, but Bing contend the company has begun a "pay-to-rank" practice whereby companies ranking in product searches is determined by how much they pay. Bing derides the practices as being "Scroogled," and said its approach provides consumers with more credible results.
"We don’t let who pays us for ads or other services affect how your search results are ranked," said Mike Nichols, Bing’s chief marketing officer. "Search, as a business, depends on consumer trust, and that requires keeping search results and ads separate. With Google Shopping the wall between search results and ads is gone — and so are several popular shopping sites. At Bing, we’re committed to keeping ads where they belong and will continue to deliver the most relevant search results possible."
With the Don’t Get Scroogled campaign, Bing is talking to holiday shoppers about the importance of getting unbiased, comprehensive search results when they shop online — and how changes at Google Shopping could leave them with fewer choices and higher prices this season.
Beginning today and continuing throughout the holiday shopping season, the Bing-sponsored "Don’t Get Scroogled" activities will appear online and offline, demonstrating why consumers should be concerned and helping them take action. Bing also said it was calling on Google to stop its "pay-to-rank" system for their shopping results and provide shoppers with honest search results.
Bing is urging consumers to visit http://www.scroogled.com to learn more about how to avoid getting "Scroogled," and renewing its commitment to the old rules of search by delivering objective results.
"We won’t let who pays us for ads or other services affect what you see in your shopping search results,’ according to the company. "We won’t switch to pay-to-rank to allow fees to influence the ranking of shopping search results. In short, we think that too many shoppers who use Google for their shopping are getting "Scroogled" when they should be getting fair, honest, open search results."