SUPPLY CHAIN

Shop.org: Retailers planning last-minute holiday shipping rush

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — A report released Wednesday by Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, found that retailers are in tune with the last-minute shipping intentions of the average consumer.

According to Shop.org’s 2012 eHoliday Study conducted by BIGinsight, 45.7% of retailers will end standard shipping promotions by Monday, Dec. 17, in direct response to the average consumer’s tendency to wait until the last minute to finish holiday shopping.

Some retailers surveyed (5.7%) will end standard shipping promotions by Dec. 21.

“Even after weeks of record-level online traffic to their sites, retailers are well aware that millions of their customers will still shop at the very last minute, regardless of how early they may have started their shopping this year,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “For some procrastinators, express and standard free shipping offers could be the deciding factor in whether or not they purchase something. In anticipation, retailers will save some of the best deals of the year for the final stretch to reel in the countless last minute holiday shoppers we see each year.”

Consumers waiting until the very last minute, however, may have to hunt a little more diligently to find free or expedited shipping offers to guarantee Christmas delivery. While more than half (43.3%) of retailers surveyed will offer free expedited shipping through Dec. 20 or Dec. 21, 36.7% say they will not offer expedited free shipping offers at all this year. Additionally, extreme procrastinators will have until Dec. 22 when 13.3% of companies’ free expedited shipping promotions expire.

According to Shop.org’s eHoliday survey, nine-in-10 online retailers (89.7%) will provide a free shipping offer at some point during the 2012 holiday season, and consumers are keen to take advantage of these deals as more than one-third (35%) said they specifically choose to shop online because of free shipping.

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Bain Capital-owned sourcing solution firms taps new GM

BY CSA STAFF

NORWALK, Conn. — LogicSource, a sourcing solutions firm owned by Bain Capital, has appointed Sam Vail to the newly created GM spot for its OneMarket technology division. Vail will be responsible for driving OneMarket’s “Concept-to-Customer” solutions strategy, product marketing and business development.

LogicSource’s proprietary OneMarket platform is centered on an e-procurement application that specializes in managing complex, frequently specified items such as print, packaging and retail operations goods. OneMarket also includes digital asset management, dynamic publishing, and business analytics modules, which together offer clients a fully integrated, end-to-end marketing production and execution solution.

“OneMarket is transforming the way our clients think about and manage their creative processes, and is enabling seamless collaboration across the enterprise from marketing creative, traffic, project management, procurement and transacting with external suppliers,” Vail said. “OneMarket delivers real value by supporting categories of complex, highly configured and detailed specification products that horizontal solutions simply do not handle effectively.”

An executive with 25 years of senior leadership experience, Vail has worked with large and emerging growth software and Internet companies to create and execute business-building strategies. He established a proven track record in developing strategic partnering relationships, opening new distribution channels and markets and deploying novel sales, marketing and business development approaches at companies such as Gartner, ISG and Unisys. He also brings experience as an operating partner at private equity firms Kidd & Company and Spencer Trask. Most recently, Vail was a partner at Information Services Group, a technology insights and sourcing advisory services company where he successfully launched and developed a consulting practice that led one of the world’s largest sourcing contracts in 2012.

“Sam truly understands how to align software products with market needs, and knows how to deliver comprehensive B2B solutions,” said David Pennino, president and CEO of LogicSource. “I am confident he will speed the adoption of OneMarket and enhance its impact by actively listening to our customers and continuously innovating in order to address our clients’ most critical business challenges.”

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Sales and profits top estimates at Costco

BY CSA STAFF

Growth in sales and membership income at Costco helped the company produce earnings per share of 95 cents and beat analysts’ estimates by two cents.

Sales for the company’s first quarter ended November 25, increased 10% to $23.2 billion from $21.2 billion and profits increased 30% to $416 million, or 95 cents a share, from $320 million, or 73 cents a share. The profit performance benefited from the inclusion of charges totaling $29 million, or 7 cents a share, in the prior year reporting period. On an adjusted basis excluding those charges from the prior year, profits increased a slightly less impressive 19.2%.

Same store sales increased 6% domestically and 7% internationally, excluding fuel sales and foreign exchange effects.

Membership trends remain solid as fee income advanced 14.3% to $511 million from $447 million the prior year.

The company ended the quarter with cash, cash equivalents and short term investments totaling $5.6 billion, nearly a 15% increase from $4.8 billion at the end of the comparable period the prior year. Costco will expend a large portion of those resources in the coming weeks as it plans to pay a special dividend of $7 a share to help investors avoid an imminent tax increase on dividends. In total, Costco will pay out roughly $3 billion before year end and plans to issue new debt to finance the move.

Costco ended the period with 621 warehouses worldwide, consisting of 448 clubs in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 23 in the United Kingdom, 13 in Japan, nine in Taiwan, eight in Korea, and three in Australia.

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