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RILA report: Same-store sales rises suggest rise in consumer activity

BY CSA STAFF

Arlington, Va. — After same-store sales reports on Thursday showed strengthened performance among most major retail chains, the Retail Industry Leaders Association said that November results may suggest that consumer activity is on the rise, and could indicate the strongest holiday shopping season retailers have experienced in recent years.

“Retailers are more optimistic this year than they have been in several years, evidenced by inventory levels higher than a year ago,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy. “Retailers have approached the 2010 holiday season eager to attract value-conscious consumers to their stores and earn their business.”

Retailers are carrying more inventory this year compared with last, but by only a small margin. This year’s inventory is expected to strike a good balance to sufficiently meet consumer demand, according to RILA.

Discounting is expected to continue this holiday season, but the reductions are projected to be less drastic than last year. With regard to promotions, an uptick in social media and mobile strategies is expected. On-line strategies include free shipping, special on-line discounts, friends and family discounts, on-line coupons and discount promotions.

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Kantar report: Same-store sales get big lift, thanks to promotions

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, Ohio — Kantar Retail said Thursday that same-store sales got a big lift to 6% growth in November from a strong promotional environment, as well as from an easy year-ago comparison period and shifting shopper spending intentions.

The sales-weighted composite for the 30 retailers reporting — most of them apparel retailers — was better than the 1.7% same-store sales gain last month and the 0.9% gain in November of 2009 for the same measure. (The calculations don’t include Walmart, which stopped reporting monthly results in April 2009.)

"Shoppers have been shaking off their recent cautiousness about spending and any last doubts may have been removed by all the great deals that came early and often in November,” said Frank Badillo, senior economist, Kantar Retail. “The rest of the holiday looks positive given shoppers’ spending plans, but they will no doubt be looking for more big promotions to sustain this kind of spending pace.”

According to Kantar Retail’s ShopperScape survey, the strong November same-store sales results may be getting support from shopper spending intentions. In November, the percentage of shoppers planning to spend less in the coming month compared with the same period a year ago edged lower for the second month in a row, and slightly more shoppers are planning to spend more in the coming month. The percentage of shoppers planning to spend about the same as last year held steady.

Spending plans for the rest of the holiday shopping season continue to suggest that it will be a better holiday than last year, according to the survey. In November, 49% of shoppers planned to spend about the same on holiday gifts as last year, which is seven percentage points higher than the same time last year.

The percentage of shoppers planning to spend less on holiday gifts was 36%, which is seven percentage points lower than the same time last year. The percentage of shoppers planning to spend more held steady at 9%.

Online retailers are expected to benefit most from shoppers’ holiday spending plans. More than half (54%) of shoppers plan to shop online, which is 10 percentage points above last year. Among the other retailers seeing growing shopper interest in their online offers are traditional department stores, value department stores and warehouse clubs.

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Conn’s narrows loss in Q3

BY CSA STAFF

Beaumont, Texas — Consumer electronics chain Conn’s reported Thursday that it narrowed its loss for the quarter ended Oct. 31 to $5.1 million, compared with a $14.4 million loss a year earlier.

Revenue fell 14% to $169.9 million, from $197.5 million. Analysts expected revenue of $167.1 million.

Same-store sales fell 16.3% during the quarter.

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