OPERATIONS

Report: The five types of social back-to-school consumer

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston – Retailers trying to successfully attract business from back-to-school shoppers need to understand the different types of customer segments they must target. According to a new report from social media analytics software provider Crimson Hexagon, back-to-school consumers fall into five broad categories based on how they broadcast their goals, choices, experiences, and opinions about back-to-school shopping on social media.

The five types of social back-to-school consumer are:

The Lifecaster:
The Lifecaster broadcasts his or her daily activities through social media. During the back-to-school season, parents and students make multiple trips to various retailers to complete their school shopping amid other activities, including school physicals, last-minute errands and appointments, and trying to enjoy the last days of summer.

The TV Junkie: TV audiences are tweeting and posting in growing numbers, and the TV Junkie is tweeting and posting about back-to-school shopping as well.

The Enthusiast:
The Enthusiast loves back-to-school shopping, and treats it like a holiday. Black Friday and the winter holidays and back-to-school are the two biggest seasons for most retailers. Crimson Hexagon analysis finds that back-to-school time also stands out to shoppers as a season to look forward to with enthusiasm.

The Deal-Seeker: With so many items to buy before heading back to the classroom or college, The Deal-Seeker is looking to save money. The Deal-Seeker shares shopping conquests, such as how much money they saved and how many items they got for a low price, with their social networks.

The Procrastinator: School starts at the end of the summer, whether The Procrastinator has crossed everything off of his list or not. The Procrastinator knows that time is getting short, yet maybe has yet to start back-to-school shopping, or she still needs a few crucial items before heading back to school.

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FINANCE

Aeropostale predicts wider Q2 loss based on slumping sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – As a result of slumping net and same-store sales, Aeropostale is forecasting a net loss per share of between 42 cents and 44 cents during the second fiscal quarter of this year, which is 19 cents higher than the previously issued guidance. The revised estimate is based on a 6% decrease in net sales to $454 million, from $485.3 million in the year ago period.

Same-store sales, including the e-commerce channel, for the second quarter decreased by 15%. In addition, Aeropostale cited lower-than-expected income tax benefit due to a change in the estimated effective tax rate to 25% from 45% resulting from lower taxable income; an after-tax charge resulting from store asset impairment charges; and an after-tax charge as a result of the accounting effect related to retirement features of its stock based compensation plan.

“During the second quarter, we continued to experience the challenging trends we faced in the first quarter,” said Thomas P. Johnson, CEO. “Our performance was driven by an increase in promotional activity as we navigated through balancing our assortment, weak traffic trends and a challenging retail environment, particularly during the July selling period. As we reposition the Aeropostale brand, we believe our current merchandise assortment is more fashionable and relevant. Our entire organization is focused intently on accelerating customer adoption and regaining market share.”

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FINANCE

Law firm investigates Saks buyout

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Law firm Morgan & Morgan is investigating potential legal claims against the board of directors of Saks Inc. relating to the proposed acquisition of Saks by Hudson’s Bay Company. Morgan & Morgan’s investigation concerns whether Saks’ board of directors breached its fiduciary duties to act in the best interests of Saks’ shareholders and to take all necessary steps to ensure that Saks’ shareholders receive the maximum value readily available for their shares of Saks common stock.

Under the terms of the proposal, public shareholders of Saks will receive $16 per share in cash for each share of Saks they own. Morgan & Morgan says some analysts have estimated actual share value to be as high as $18.50.

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