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Report: Twitter, tablets gain importance in e-commerce

BY Dan Berthiaume

Conshohocken, Pa. — Twitter and tablets are quickly rising in importance to retailers’ e-commerce efforts, while email is losing steam. According to the second quarter 2013 Monetate E-commerce Quarterly, Twitter experienced the fastest growth among all social networks in referrals to e-commerce sites, moving from 5.4% of social referrals in second quarter 2012 to 9.64% in second quarter 2013 – a 77% gain.

The numbers show Facebook is still the dominant social force in e-commerce with 61.43% of social media referrals to websites in second quarter 2013, up from 56.89% the previous year. Pinterest continues to expand its role, moving from 14.47% to 21.87% in the same interval.

In addition, mobile is expanding its device share of e-commerce traffic, moving from 15.2% in second quarter 2012 to 22.13% in second quarter 2013. Within that share, tablets represent 12.44% of mobile traffic and smartphones hold a 9.69% share. A year earlier, smartphones were slightly more popular as e-commerce devices.

Meanwhile, both referral traffic and conversion rates to e-commerce websites from email decreased since last year. Referral traffic dropped from 3.75% in the second quarter of 2012 to 2.36% in second quarter 2013, while conversions slipped from 3.56% to 3.34% in the same interval.

Interestingly, average order value from email increased during that time, from $89.43 in second quarter 2012 to $99.93 in second quarter 2013.

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Lower-than-expected retail sales affect Men’s Wearhouse second quarter

BY CSA STAFF

The Men’s Wearhouse experienced a decline in customer traffic and a subsequent drop in retail clothing sales during the second quarter ended Aug. 3, and has lowered its guidance as a result.

"Retail clothing sales during the second quarter were below our internal plan as we experienced a decline in customer traffic compared to last year’s second quarter. We believe this is primarily due to macro issues affecting the apparel retailing space," explained Doug Ewert, president and CEO. "Despite the difficult economic climate, we remain committed to our operating and capital allocation plans that were laid out earlier this year. Throughout the past six months we have improved financial flexibility, purchased the American designer brand Joseph Abboud and its U.S. manufacturing operations, and repurchased approximately $152 million of our shares; and we continue to evaluate strategic alternatives for our K&G operations.

In July, the company signed a definitive agreement to acquire JA Holding, Inc., the parent company of the American clothing brand, Joseph Abboud, for approximately $97.5 million in cash consideration, subject to certain adjustments. The transaction closed on Aug. 6 and was funded with the $100 million term loan available under the company’s credit facility.

Total net sales for the quarter decreased 2.3% to $647.3 million from $662.3 million for the same prior year period. Retail segment sales for the quarter decreased by 1.9% or $11.2 million and corporate apparel sales decreased by 6.6% or $3.8 million as compared to the prior year quarter.

Net sales at core flagship brand Men’s Wearhouse stores, which represented 66% of total second quarter sales were down 0.7% from last year’s second quarter sales. Comparable store sales increased 0.7%, but were below internal expectations. The higher margin tuxedo rental revenues comparable store sales increased 0.4% in the quarter.

Moores, the Canadian retail brand, represented 12% of total second quarter sales, had a comparable store sales decrease of 4.9% due mainly to decreased average transactions per store and units sold per transaction that more than offset increased average unit retails. K&G represented 13% of the company’s total second quarter sales and had a comparable store sales decrease of 3%.

The corporate apparel segment, which represented 8% of total second quarter sales, had a sales decrease of 6.6% due mainly to an expected lower level of customer-directed new uniform rollouts in the U.K.

The consolidated total gross margin was down 3.6% with the total gross margin rate decreasing 65 basis points primarily because of an Easter-related shift in tuxedo revenues and the deleveraging of occupancy costs. The retail segment total gross margin was down 3.4% and the corporate apparel gross margin decreased 6.1%.

The company remains confident about its merchandising and operating strategies, but citing concerns about "the current macro trends in the apparel industry," it is lowering its comp store growth assumptions by approximately 2% at Men’s Wearhouse and Moores, resulting in a full year expectation of adjusted earnings per share of $2.40 to $2.50.

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The top toys at Walmart are…

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart released an annual top toy list on Thursday with an important distinction from earlier versions – it was selected by kids and will be marketed and merchandise as “Chosen by Kids.”

Walmart said this year’s list of 20 top toys was compiled by bringing together 1,000 kids from 18 months to 10 years to test, play with and help select items for inclusion on the “Chosen by Kids,” list. The products will be grouped together throughout the season on special in-store displays, on Walmart.com and featured in newspaper circulars beginning later this month. They are also eligible for Walmart’s layaway program which begins Friday, September 13.

"We are taking the guesswork out of customers’ holiday toy shopping by turning to kids to tell us what the real top toys are," said Scott McCall, SVP of toys and seasonal at Walmart U.S. "Kids told us they want interactive toys as well as classic brands. After hearing this feedback, we did what we do best. We made price investments to offer absolutely great savings on these holiday toys and more for our customers."

The “Chosen by Kids” toy list includes:

  • VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset
  • Baby Alive Real Surprises Doll
  • Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Crawl Around Car
  • Little People Fun Sounds Farm
  • Playskool Sesame Street Big Hugs Elmo
  • Doc McStuffins Get Better Check Up Center
  • Fisher Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Batcave
  • Sofia the First Talking Doll and Animal Friends
  • FurReal Friends Cuddles My Giggly Monkey
  • Disney Planes Dusty Crophopper Wing Control RC
  • Hot Wheels Triple Track Twister
  • Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Secret Sewer Lair Playset
  • Flutterbye Flying Fairy Doll
  • Barbie Dreamhouse
  • Air Hogs Quad X4 Stunt RC
  • Nerf N-Strike Elite Rapidstrike CS-18
  • Furby Boom!
  • Zoomer
  • Crayola Marker Maker

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