FINANCE

Report: Restaurant sales growth to continue in 2014

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – Despite economic challenges, the restaurant industry should experience its fifth consecutive year of sales growth in 2014. According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast, industry sales are projected to exceed $683 billion in 2014, up 3.6% from 2013’s sales volume of $659.3 billion.

In addition, NRA data predicts that in 2014, the restaurant industry will employ 13.5 million individuals and remain the nation’s second-largest private sector employer. The restaurant workforce continued to grow at a robust rate in 2013, keeping the industry among the economy’s leaders in job creation.

Eating-and-drinking places are projected to add jobs at a 2.8% rate in 2014, which will represent the 15th consecutive year in which industry job growth outpaced the overall economy.

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R.Barnfield says:
Mar-04-2014 05:16 am

Employers in the United
Employers in the United States added more jobs than expected last month, according to a private sector report. It is only the latest report to indicate some, but not enough, growth in the stagnant U.S. economy.

R.Barnfield says:
Mar-04-2014 05:16 am

Employers in the United States added more jobs than expected last month, according to a private sector report. It is only the latest report to indicate some, but not enough, growth in the stagnant U.S. economy.

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OPERATIONS

Report: LLBean.com tops in December online customer service

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – LLBean.com was ranked No. 1 in customer service among all major online retailers during the month of December 2013. According to the Stella Monthly Ranking from the StellaService customer service analysis firm, LLBean.com snared this honor for the second consecutive month.

In addition, during December 2013 Amazon.com ranked first in returns in the mass merchant category for the second consecutive month with an average of just two days to issue a refund, beating out all competitors in the vertical by more than three days. Lowes.com was the top rated shipper in the month of December. Lowes.com ranked at the top in a month when shipping delays made headlines by being fast at fulfilling orders and also sourcing products from stores in the same city as the order was placed or within a 150-mile radius, leading to faster transit speeds.

Fab.com improved in the month of December to join the Top 10 overall retailers. In the mass merchant category, Fab took the top spot in email response time and packaging fit, and it was ranked in the top five in shipping.

The top 10 overall online retailers for customer service in December were L.L.Bean, Wayfair, Net-A-Porter, Ralph Lauren, Fab.com, Lululemon, J.Crew, Barneys, Sierra Trading Post, and Sur La Table. December is the highest overall volume online shopping month of the year.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Report: 2013 breaks records for holiday email transactions, volume, revenue

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – The volume of emails sent by marketers increased nearly 13% during the 2013 holiday season compared with the 2012 holiday season, which also saw record highs in volume. Data from Experian Marketing Services shows that while email click-through rates and transaction metrics decreased year over year, the increase in email volume led to a 9% rise in the number of total transactions from email marketing campaigns and an 18.4% increase in overall revenue.

Furthermore, email volume within the last 10 days of the holiday season increased 35.8% from 2012. According to the Experian Marketing Services analysis, two of the top 10 transaction days of the 2013 holiday season occurred during the first half of November. In 2012, the earliest top 10 transaction day was the day before Thanksgiving.

In 2013, Nov. 8 and Nov. 15 made it into the top 10 (seventh and fifth, respectively). Meanwhile, eight out of the 10 days were Fridays. The percentage of total emails opened on mobile devices increased in 2013 for most industries. Multichannel retailers had the highest percentage of mobile opens this holiday season at 65% and were the only industry to receive more than half of their clicks on mobile as well.

The email volume and performance metrics are based on Experian Marketing Services’ analysis of 385 current brands that also mailed during the 2012 holiday season. All data was viewed at three days from sent.

“Marketers have become more sophisticated in their email marketing strategies, and we’re seeing that reflected in the data,” said Peter DeNunzio, general manager, cross-channel marketing, Experian Marketing Services. “Traditionally, as email volume increases, performance decreases, but in the 2013 holiday season we saw the opposite. An increase in total transactions and revenue tells us that leading marketers have found their stride, sending more relevant emails to each customer based on his or her unique needs.”

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