Report: Massachusetts retail price scanners have 99.8% accuracy
Boston – Massachusetts retail price scanners reportedly operate at a 99.8% accuracy rate. According to the Associated Press, the Massachusetts Division of Standards checked scanners at 98 different stores of 50 retailers across a wide range of verticals and discovered five overcharges out of about 2,800 individual price scans.
The highest overcharge amount was $3.80. Overcharges were assessed by comparing price indicated by the scanner at checkout to the price marked on an item or at the shelf. Each retailer that had an overcharge was fined $100 per overcharge. Accuracy improved slightly from the 2012 scanner survey, which produced a 99.6% accuracy rate.
Sam’s Club eyes greater China growth
Walmart China CEO Greg Foran reiterated the company’s goal of accelerating Sam’s Club growth in the coming years with several published reports indicating the pace of Sam’s Club openings may eventually reach 10 units annually.
Walmart currently operates 401 retail units in China, of which 356 are supercenters and only 10 are Sam’s Club. The warehouse club format has expanded slowly in China even though it was the format the company used to enter the market back in 1996 when a Sam’s and a supercenter first appeared in Shenzhen. According to published reports, Foran indicated Sam’s will increase its annual openings from two currently to about 10 over the course of the next six years.
That’s a methodical rate of growth and is consistent with the message the company shared two months ago when Foran was joined by Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke on a visit to Beijing where the pair outlined plans to open 110 new facilities during the next three years.
Sam’s Club was identified as a key part of the growth strategy with Foran noting at the time that the Sam’s business model is especially ripe for the burgeoning middle-income and upper-income consumers, and because many cities are well-suited for the format.
The other key element of Walmart’s China strategy involves opening more store is China’s smaller cities, which is somewhat of an oxymoron because cities regarded as smaller in China are larger than many metro areas in the U.S.
“In 2013, the retail industry faced challenges and strong competition, but Walmart’s confidence in the Chinese market has never been stronger,” Foran said during the October meeting in Beijing. “We adapt to market changes by making adjustments and innovations, and we will modify our operations in China by upgrading the merchandise we sell, especially in fresh food and grocery. We will improve operations and customer experience, establish best-in class food safety practices, and eliminate unnecessary costs in order to build an even stronger business.”
In addition to Sam’s and more supercenters, the company years will see Walmart elevate its store portfolio by closing up to 9% of the units in its store portfolio that are underperforming while also investing in increased remodeling activity and greater distribution capacity.
Ad effectiveness accolades overlook sales impact
Walmart dominated the airwaves this holiday season and the investment paid off, according to advertising measurement firm Ace Metrix which compiled a list of the most effective holiday ads.
Walmart topped the list with a heartwarming spot called Christmas Magic which featuring a selfless child donating a toy he desired to the Salvation Army only to discover he was the recipient of the same toy on Christmas Day. Walmart aired more than 40 unique pieces of holiday-themed creative this season, making it the most prolific advertiser of the season, according to Ace Metrix.
With less than a week to go before Christmas, the top 10 list is dominated by messages of family time, delicious treats and doing good for others, according to Ace Metrix, and stands in contrast to previous Christmas shopping seasons when top ad performers were far more shopping- and gift-centric.
“While consumers have a tendency to reward philanthropic work, this holiday season saw more do-good creative at the top than ever before,” said Peter Daboll, Ace Metrix CEO. “What stands out in this year’s philanthropic effort is the authenticity of the brand to the cause. Walmart and Duracell are true to their brand while communicating the values of the season. In fact, many of the ads on this list are successful because they effectively impart values of family, giving and togetherness.”
Others on the list based on a measurement called an Ace Score included Reynolds, Pillsbury, IHOP, USPS, Samsung, Kohl’s, Olive Garden and Lowe’s. The Ace Score is meant to measure ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reactions and attributes such as persuasion, likeability, information, attention, change, relevance, desire and watchability. It does not look at whether the ads in question had an impact on sales.
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