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ShopperTrak Report: Retail sales rise 2.4% in September

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago The National Retail Sales Estimate released Friday by ShopperTrak found that total GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) retail sales for the month of September increased 2.4%, while ShopperTrak’s Retail Traffic Index reported total U.S. foot traffic rose 1.1% for the same period as compared with last year.

September’s slight year-over-year traffic increase was a bit unexpected, said ShopperTrak, as retailers have seen slower levels throughout 2010. Previous to last month, total U.S. foot traffic was flat in August and posted year-over-year declines in July, June and May.

ShopperTrak reported that although traffic numbers were up, results throughout the country were mixed. Regionally, traffic was down in the Northeast due to wet weather from various tropical storms and also slipped in the West most likely due to warmer weather slowing fall seasonal sales. Throughout the month, SRTI traffic data showed the Midwest and South experienced stronger year-over-year gains behind some cooler weather, which boosted fall merchandise sales and positively impacted the comprehensive monthly traffic figure.

Looking at September sales performance, ShopperTrak’s data showed a minimal 2.4% increase as retailers reported the expected rather slower levels following the August back-to-school spending rush, which generated a slightly higher 3.7% retail sales increase for the month. Sales will most likely show a bit of an uptick in October behind Columbus Day and some Halloween spending, said ShopperTrak, followed by a larger rise in November behind Black Friday weekend, the official starting point of the holiday shopping season.

On a month-over-month comparison, total U.S. foot traffic and retail sales decreased a significant — but expected — 13.9% and 9.4% respectively as the August comparison month contained back-to-school levels.

“The slight traffic increase last month was a bit of a surprise as September is annually a slower month between back-to-school and various holidays, and because our data has shown a pattern throughout 2010 of slower traffic levels with a bigger spend as consumers shop more economically,” said Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak. “Smart retailers will most likely push holiday promotions throughout October in an effort to maintain these slightly higher levels and possibly drive sales as the critical November/December holiday shopping period approaches.”

ShopperTrak also reported that foot traffic in the apparel & accessories store segment was flat compared with last year, followed by the wireless & electronics segment which fell 1.0%.

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Target helps cardholders save

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target is offering customers that shop with their Target REDcard to save 5% on nearly all purchases at any Target store or on Target.com.

Beginning Oct. 17, the retailer said it would extend the savings program to all Target REDcard products, including the Target credit card, Target Visa credit card and Target debit card. In addition to receiving 5% off nearly all purchases using a REDcard, guests will receive a coupon good for 5% off a future day of shopping every time they fill five prescriptions at a Target pharmacy with a Target REDcard.

This new rewards program will replace the existing rewards program in which new account holders receive an initial 10% off coupon and existing cardholders earn coupons for 10% off a future day of shopping. The existing program ends on Oct. 16 at close of business.

“This innovative, new initiative will provide Target REDcard holders with tremendous value on our exciting merchandise assortment –– everything from electronics to fresh food,” said Terry Scully, Target financial services president. “This program makes Target’s low prices even lower, so there’s no need for Target REDcard holders to shop around.”

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NACS names supplier board chairman

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA Hershey’s VP customer industry affairs recently joined the National Association of Convenience Stores’ supplier board as chairman.

Tom Joyce will serve as the NACS supplier board chairman for the 2010-2011 term, NACS said. The NACS Supplier Board is comprised of individuals from NACS supplier member companies that represent different product and service categories in the convenience store industry.

In related news, VP convenience sales for Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, Scott Hill, will serve as chairman of the NACS supplier board for the 2011-2012 term.

Joyce and Hill were named to their positions during the NACS supplier board meeting at the NACS Show in Atlanta. As chair and chair-elect of the NACS Supplier Board, Joyce and Hill also serve as members of the NACS board of directors.

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