OPERATIONS

ShopperTrak report identifies 10 busiest holiday shopping days

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — A report released Tuesday by retail foot traffic counter ShopperTrak identified the 10 holiday shopping days that will make or break the period for retailers.

“Since Christmas falls on different calendar days each year, the shift impacts which days are the busiest,” said ShopperTrak co-founder Bill Martin. “Some change in ranking or drop off completely.”

Martin added that retailers cannot assume historical patterns will completely repeat themselves, and only by tracking in-store traffic “can they understand the trends and prepare to capture business this holiday season.”

According to ShopperTrak, the week before Christmas will be especially important this year, as five of the top sales and foot traffic days will occur between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24. While Black Friday is typically the strongest shopping day of the season, one third of all holiday sales are historically made in the week prior to Christmas. Retailers can expect consumers walking into their stores that week have conducted plenty of online research and are ready to buy, said Martin.

Prior to Christmas, ShopperTrak said it expects Black Friday (Friday, Nov. 25) to remain the top performing sales and foot-traffic day for the eighth year in a row, followed by Super Saturday on Dec. 17. Last year, Black Friday showed an increase in both sales and foot traffic over 2009; foot traffic increased 2.2% and sales increased 0.3%, representing $10.69 billion in consumer spending and the largest dollar amount ever spent on the day.

Black Saturday, the day after Black Friday, historically shows a decline in sales from the previous day, but remains one of the season’s top performers. Black Saturday 2010 showed a 0.9% sales decrease from the previous year, representing $6.06 billion dollars spent. This year, ShopperTrak expects Black Saturday to rank sixth in both sales and foot-traffic.

Last year’s top 10 busiest GAFO Retail Sales days accounted for 28% of GAFO retail sales for the November and December holiday season, and ShopperTrak said it expects this year’s Top 10 to be just as important. Ranked by sales dollars, highest to lowest, the Top 10 holiday shopping days are projected to be Friday, Nov. 25 (Black Friday), Saturday, Dec. 17 (Super Saturday), Friday, Dec. 23, Monday, Dec. 26, Thursday, Dec. 22, Saturday Nov. 26 (Black Saturday), Sunday, Dec. 18, Saturday, Dec. 10, Monday, Dec. 19 and Saturday, Dec. 3.

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OPERATIONS

Target CFO to retire

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Target Corp. said Tuesday that its CFO and executive VP Doug Scovanner will retire from his posts effective March 31, 2012.

He will remain with the company for the next five months to assist with the transition, according to the retailer.

A successor has not yet been named.

Scovanner has served in his current role since 1999.

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FINANCE

RILA responds to Bank of America decision to abandon debit fee charge

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Arlington, Va. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association on Tuesday issued a statement in response to Bank of America’s decision to abandon its plan to charge new fees on debit card users.

“Today’s news is proof-positive that consumers remain swipe fee reforms biggest winners,” said Katherine Lugar, RILA executive VP public affairs, in the statement. “Bank of America and its big bank peers are no longer free to fleece merchants and consumers at will. This outcome is just what consumers deserve, what reform advocates predicted and what we will fight to extend to the credit card market.”

The action by Bank of America follows decisions by competitors to drop customer trials of the new fees. SunTrust Banks Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. also said they will stop charging customers for debit-card transactions.

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