FINANCE

Report: CIT stops backing Sears supplier loans

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — According to a report by Bloomberg, CIT Group has decided to stop financing loans to suppliers waiting to be paid by Sears.

CIT Group has not commented on the matter.

Sears Holdings Corp. told Bloomberg that it disagrees with CIT’s decision but said it won’t have a big impact on its operations. It said that CIT’s payables represented less than 5% of its inventories, and noted that other lenders are still financing the loans.

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OPERATIONS

ForeSee: Apple, Amazon dominate mobile satisfaction

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Ann Arbor, Mich. — A mobile commerce study released Thursday by customer experience analytics firm ForeSee found that Apple and Amazon rank far above all other retailers when it comes to mobile customer satisfaction.

When measuring how satisfied customers are with mobile shopping experiences of 16 of the largest e-retailers in the United States, Apple and Amazon, which scored 85 and 84, respectively, on the study’s 100-point scale, topped the list by a wide margin.

Bestbuy.com and Staples.com tied for sixth with mobile experience scores of 76. Walmart.com and Sears.com were in the rear, with scores of 72 and 71, respectively.

According to the research, shoppers are generally more satisfied with traditional websites than they are with their mobile counterparts. The average mobile satisfaction score for the 16 retailers measured in the report is 76, compared to 79 for the same companies’ websites.

However, a few companies had comparable performance on mobile and web: Apple (a standout with a mobile score two points higher than its web score), Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, Staples, Netflix, Dell and Blockbuster. Others reveal large gaps between the website and the mobile experience, including Avon (satisfaction 8 points lower on mobile) and Walmart (7 points lower).

“As the adoption of smartphones increases, more consumers are using them to access retailer websites,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “More and more, there is expectation that companies will address the mobile environment in ways that are effective and user-friendly. Mobile commerce is still relatively new and there is a lot of room for innovation and improvement.”

In addition, the ForeSee study showed that satisfaction with the mobile experience has a significant cross-channel impact. Mobile shoppers who are highly satisfied with their mobile experience are 54% more likely to consider the company next time they want to make a similar purchase, and twice as likely to buy from the retailer’s mobile channel again.

Other findings from the research showed the growing role that mobile is playing in the retail experience:

  • A third of online shoppers (34%) used their mobile phones to research products while 15% made a purchase directly from their phone, up from 11% last year.
  • One in five online shoppers (19%) used a mobile phone to compare prices or products while shopping in a retail location.
  • Nineteen percent of all online shoppers are now using mobile phones to compare prices while shopping inside a store.
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OPERATIONS

Sears apparel and home chief resigns

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings Corp. confirmed Thursday that John Goodman, its chief of apparel and home division, has resigned the company, effective immediately.

Goodman was hired two years ago as executive VP of apparel and home, charged with turning around the retailer’s clothing business. His departure, which Sears says happened last week, coincides with the Jan. 3 arrival of Ron Boire, the former Brookstone president and CEO, as executive VP and chief merchandising officer for Sears and Kmart brands.

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