TECHNOLOGY

Retail Next: The biggest, busiest shopping days of the year will be…

BY Marianne Wilson

Move over Black Friday.

The biggest shopping day in terms of holiday sales is expected to be Friday, Dec. 23, while the biggest day in terms of store traffic is expected to be Saturday, Dec. 17, according to RetailNext Inc. (See lists at end of story.) It’s the first time in many years that Black Friday failed to top either of the lists.

"As retailers have continued the trend to open more stores on Thanksgiving Day, it has pilfered away both sales and traffic from Black Friday," said Shelley E. Kohan, VP of retail consulting at RetailNext. "This year, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, most shoppers will want to cut short their shopping early on Saturday, Dec. 24, leaving the day before, Friday, as retail's biggest opportunity for sales. For store visits, Super Saturday will lead the way, with Black Friday a very close second."

RetailNext is predicting a 3.2% year-over-year lift in sales, driven in part by a 14.9% increase in sales through digital channels.

"There will be slight degrees of variability in early November due to the U.S. Presidential election," added Kohan, "but the residual angst from Election 2016 will subside by Thanksgiving. As compared to last year, there are two additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and when coupled with generally positive economic indicators, the retail industry looks for a strong close to the year."

Here is how RetailNext sees the holiday period playing out:

Top 10 Biggest Shopping Days (Sales)

1. Friday, Dec. 23

2. Super Saturday, Dec. 17

3. Black Friday, Nov. 25

4. Thursday, Dec. 22

5. Wednesday, Dec. 21

6. Sunday, Dec. 18

7. Saturday, Dec. 24

8. Saturday, Dec. 10

9. Friday, Dec. 16

10. Saturday, Dec. 3

Top 10 Busiest Shopping Days (Shopper Visits)

1. Super Saturday, Dec. 17

2. Black Friday, Nov. 25

3. Friday, Dec. 23

4. Saturday, Dec. 10

5. Monday, Dec. 26

6. Sunday, Dec. 18

7. Saturday, Dec. 24

8. Thursday, Dec. 22

9. Wednesday, Dec. 21

10. Saturday, Dec. 3

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B.Lackey says:
Dec-09-2016 04:35 pm

From a retailer's point of view, I would have to agree with my co-workers and middle/upper managers who all believe we should adopt Christmas Sunday(much like Easter Sunday is always on the third Sunday in April) be on the last Sunday of every December Same with Halloween, we too believe it should always fall on the last Saturday night in October, much like Thanksgiving is always on the last Thursday in November. It just makes better business (and common) sense retail wise.

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TECHNOLOGY

Walmart to slow new store growth, invest in remodels and online

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart gave a lackluster profit outlook for next year, and said it will slow new store openings as it invests in remodels and digital initiatives.

The chain on Thursday outlined its plans for the next several years ahead of a meeting with investors. In a big change for a company whose growth has been fueled by aggressive store expansion, Walmart going forward said it will rely more on comp sales and e-commerce growth to drive the top line. Although the retailer is pulling back on new store growth, it plans to increase investments in e-commerce, technology, store remodels and other customer initiatives.

Walmart will open 130 stores in the United States this year, down from its original projection of 135 to 155. And next year, it will open only about 55 U.S. stores, including 35 supercenters and 20 of its newer, small-format Neighborhood Market locations. By contrast, Walmart opened 60 supercenters and 70 smaller-format stores this year.

Capital expenditures will total about $11 billion this year and next, with most of the investment going to e-commerce and digital initiatives and remodeling its stores. The chain has been investing heavily in the digital area as seen in its most recent $3.3 billion acquisition of e-commerce startup Jet.com. And on Thursday, Walmart said it had boosted its stake in JD.com, China’s second-largest online retailer, to 10.8% from 5.9%.

Walmart reiterated its full-year profit outlook. For fiscal 2017, the retailer expects adjusted earnings per share of $4.15 to $4.35.

It expects fiscal 2018 earnings per share to be relatively flat compared to fiscal 2017 earnings. Looking further ahead, it foresees fiscal 2019 earnings per share growth of about 5%.

Walmart said it remains on track to generate approximately $80 billion in operating cash flow from fiscal year 2017 through fiscal year 2019.

“We are encouraged by the progress we’re seeing across our business, and we’re moving with speed to position the company to win the future of retail,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said. “Our customers want us to run great stores, provide a great e-commerce experience and find ways to save them money and time seamlessly — so that’s what we’re doing.”

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Home decor retailer betas membership-only loyalty program

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Bed Bath & Beyond is taking a loyalty lesson from Amazon.com.

The chain, which is synonymous with blanketing its customer base with ubiquitous $5 off and 20% off discount coupons, is beta testing a paid membership-based loyalty program that rewards participating customers with exclusive benefits online and in-store. Analysts speculate that the program, if successful, could lead to the demise of the wildly popular coupons, which have become a drain on the retailer’s profit.

Called Beyond+, the loyalty program is $29, plus tax, for a year-long membership. Once enrolled, members receive 20% off all purchases made at Bed Bath & Beyond stores or online, as well as free shipping on all online orders.

Members can access the loyalty program by downloading the Bed Bath & Beyond app, and clicking on the “My Offers” section. Users get their benefits by choosing the app’s Beyond+ discount offer and showing it to the cashier. They also have the option of printing out the discount coupon to redeem in-store.

When shopping online, members enter their enrolled email address in the billing section during checkout. They must select both the Beyond+ free shipping and discount offers during each transaction to receive benefits on every order.

The chain accepted a small group of consumers to participate in the beta test, and it is no longer accepting any new members, according to the company’s website. Bed Bath & Beyond is already preparing to pilot the program, which will also have a limited number of memberships available. The chain has not announced a pilot launch date, but all existing accounts will automatically renew after one year, according to the company’s website.

Beyond+ is not valid at the chain’s other banners, including buybuy Baby, Harmon Face Values, Christmas Tree Shops, Cost Plus Market, One Kings Lane and Of a Kind.

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