FINANCE

St. Louis Will Help Macy’s Unemployed

BY CSA STAFF

St. Louis St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said Thursday that Macy’s Inc.’s decision to lay off 850 employees here would not slow the city’s progress in reviving its downtown economy.

“It all has to be put into context,” Slay said during a news conference. With a base of 90,000 jobs downtown, the city won’t be crying “woe is me,” he said.

Instead, officials hope to help the laid-off employees find new jobs downtown or in the surrounding region, Slay said. The city has made similar efforts in the past when employers have shuttered.

The retailer announced Wednesday it was making the job cuts as part of nationwide plan to consolidate operations. It plans to trim about 2,300 jobs from the firm’s current work force of about 188,000.

Like other retailers, Macy’s has struggled with disappointing sales. But it has also faced resistance from shoppers in some markets where the Macy’s name replaced local favorites it absorbed when it bought May Department Stores Co. in 2005.

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Award offers insight into marketing push

BY CSA STAFF

Wal-Mart’s increased emphasis on consumer insights, which surfaced two years ago, has resulted in The NPD Group being recognized as the syndicated supplier of the year for a department called, “insights and customer strategy.”

Accolades for supplier of the year are common throughout the retailer industry, but are typically bestowed on merchandise suppliers. In Wal-Mart’s case, the award received by The NPD Group underscores the important role now occupied by providers of consumer insights that follows a major shift several years ago that saw Wal-Mart adopt a customer segmentation strategy.

That shift followed a major overhaul of Wal-Mart’s marketing department that infused the organization with executives from the consumer packaged goods industry where customer segmentation strategies are commonplace. As Wal-Mart sought to better understand the behaviors and motivations of the customers shopping its stores, supplier teams dedicated to the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club accounts increased their research capabilities and information providers developed new products.

That was the case with The NPD Group which created a customized Consumer Tracking Service for Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, which provides the retailers and select suppliers with an extensive view of what’s happening within and across categories based on identified consumer segments.

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Market unfazed by top line disappointment

BY CSA STAFF

Investors didn’t seem to mind that January same-store sales results that Wal-Mart reported on Thursday for its U.S. operations were weaker than expected. Despite the disappointment, shares of the company traded higher on the day following an early morning sale release that showed January comps totaled 0.2%, compared to guidance of 2%. The news caused shares to open sharply lower at $47.85 from Wednesday’s close of $48.83. However, Wal-Mart shares staged a recovery throughout the day on heavier than normal trading volume to close up $1.01 at $49.84.

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