FINANCE

Report: Hedge fund buys Men’s Wearhouse stake, wants Jos. A. Bank merger

BY Dan Berthiaume

Houston – The Eminence Capital hedge fund has reportedly purchased a 9.8% stake in Men’s Wearhouse. According to the New York Times, Eminence Capital wants Men’s Wearhouse to reconsider the $2.3 billion buyout offer it recently rejected from Jos. A. Bank.

Eminence reportedly believes Jos. A. Bank is willing to make a higher bid if Men’s Wearhouse will consider it. The fund manages about $4.5 billion. Neither Eminence nor Men’s Wearhouse has commented publicly on the purchase.

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FINANCE

October same-store sales improve across verticals

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Retailers across a variety of verticals reported improved same-store sales during October 2013, compared to the same month in the previous year. Even embattled department store retailer J.C. Penney saw its same-store sales grow for the first time since December 2011, and specialty and apparel retail conglomerate L Brands and discount club retailer PriceSmart reported particularly impressive same-store sales results.

Many analysts have predicted a softening in holiday-related spending this year. While October is too early to say for certain how holiday sales for 2013 will turn out, many retailers began holiday promotions in October and even September, giving some hope for the season.

Retailers reporting October same-store sales include:

  • The Buckle: 2.6% increase
  • Cato: 3% increase
  • Costco: 3% increase
  • Fred’s: 1.4% increase
  • J.C. Penney: 0.9% increase
  • L Brands: 8% increase
  • PriceSmart: 8.8% increase
  • Stein Mart: 5.8% increase
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Brand Keys: Holiday spend down 5% in 2013

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – The average consumer will spend $825 on holiday purchases in 2013, a 5% drop from last year. According to the new Brand Keys annual holiday survey, only 19% of shoppers surveyed indicated that they started shopping for the holidays in October, 5% fewer than 2012.

Forty-five percent of perspective shoppers indicated they would begin shopping in November, with most consumers (35%) indicating they intended to wait for the traditional Thanksgiving Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Another 35% of shoppers indicated they will wait until December to shop.

Virtually all consumers interviewed indicated they’d buy some holiday gift online (98%). Other popular destinations include discount department stores (94%, up 4% from 2012), traditional department stores (76%, up 6% from 2012) and specialty and apparel stores (45%, up 5% from 2012). The only traditional outlet that dipped significantly was catalogues (50%), down 18% from last year. Ninety-five percent of consumers plan to buy gift cards.

In addition, 65% of the 15,200 U.S, consumers interviewed indicated that they used, or planned to use, their mobile devices to research shopping options for the upcoming holiday season.

“There’s a different ‘feel’ to the holiday marketplace this year,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys. “It’s calmer. Retailers didn’t start advertising for the holidays right after back-to-school like last year, and consumers don’t feel the pressure they once did. We’re not seeing the ‘Buy Now!’ or ‘Lay-It-Away’ advertising we saw in recent years.”


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