FINANCE

Staples names VP, treasurer and tax

BY Staff Writer

Framingham, Mass. — Staples announced the appointment of John Buchta to VP, treasurer and tax. Buchta adds the role of treasurer to his current responsibilities as VP, tax, and will continue to report to Christine Komola, executive VP and CFO.

Buchta joined Staples in 2011 as VP, tax. Prior to Staples, he was a partner at Ernst & Young.

Buchta succeeds Lisa Scopa, who has been appointed VP, high growth markets.

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Accenture: holiday spending to increase 11%

BY CSA STAFF

Shoppers in the United States plan on spending an average of $646 on gifts this holiday season, representing an 11% increase over the $582 they planned to spend, on average, in 2012, according to Accenture’s annual holiday shopping survey. The forecast uptick is more optimistic than other holiday surveys released to date.

“The average dollar spend is trending up, and we are seeing a consumer mindset shifting from ‘cautious’ to ‘sensible,’ which is good news for retailers,” said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “However, retailers are mindful that during the 2013 Thanksgiving-Christmas shopping period, they will have six days less in which to tempt shoppers through their doors, so many will go big and go early.”

The survey also shows that the appeal of Black Friday shopping for consumers has reached a five-year high, with 55% of shoppers say they are likely to shop on the day after Thanksgiving versus 53% in 2012. However, 30% of shoppers said they will do most of their Black Friday shopping online, compared to 25% in 2012.

Survey results also indicate that Thanksgiving Day has emerged as an established season event, with 38% of shoppers likely to shop on the holiday. Of those shoppers, 41% indicated that they will be out shopping between 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

“Thanksgiving Day shopping is now a firm fixture in the holiday season, “Donnelly said. “We will see more stores opening early on that day in order to capture their share of consumer spending. Although retailers’ main draw on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday will be ‘doorbuster’ deals, shoppers will be demanding discounts of 30% or more throughout the season.” (Sixty-two% of respondents said it will take a discount of 30% or more to persuade them to make a purchase, compared to 52% in 2012.)

Discount retailers will remain the top destination for shoppers this season (76%), while 50% of survey respondents said they will shop at online-only retailers, compared to 44% in 2012.

The survey results indicate that consumers expect to shop seamlessly across in-store, online and mobile channels this holiday season. More shoppers — 63% versus 56% in 2012 — are likely to participate in “showrooming” this holiday season, which the survey defined as going into a physical store to see a product and then searching online for a better price and making their purchase online.

However, 65% also plan to participate in “webrooming,” or browsing online and then going to a store to make their purchase. Survey respondents said that avoiding shipping costs (47%) and being able to touch and feel a product before purchase (46%) were their primary motivations for webrooming.

Although 42% of consumers plan to spend at least half of their holiday shopping dollars online, they also will be looking to take advantage of store-focused technology-enabled services, such as purchase online with in-store delivery or pick-up (36%), and the ability to see up-to-date information on product availability (21%).

In other survey results:

Gift cards are still number one on consumers’ shopping lists (56%), followed by apparel (54%), toys (44%) and personal electronics (27%), including laptops, tablets and smartphones.

A growing number of consumers will make purchases or research gifts using their tablets (19% versus 15% in 2012) and smartphones (18% versus 14% in 2012).

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Microsoft partners with First Data to power digital deals

BY CSA STAFF

Global ecommerce and payment processing leader First Data Corporation and Microsoft to simplify retailers ability to offer and redeem local deal offers.

The companies said that First Data’s OfferWise solution has been integrated with Microsoft’s Bing Offers Card-Linked which consolidates local deals from a number of deal providers. OfferWise is an open platform that enables retailers to electronically attach offers to any consumer payment card or mobile wallet to allow streamlined and automatic redemption of the offer at the point of sale.

“We believe the card-linked applications space is an exciting area of innovation where we continue to be focused,” said Dom Morea, SVP of Advanced Solutions and Innovation with First Data. “Microsoft is an important addition to the roster of publishers using our capabilities with the First Data OfferWise solution to transform merchant marketing, advertising and offers.”

With Bing Offers Card-Linked, merchants have frictionless redemption of an “offer” or “deal” at checkout without the consumer having to use a paper coupon, voucher or promotion code on their mobile device. Other benefits to retailers include no need to change the POS system, no additional effort required to train staff in handling redemptions, and no need to wait for payments from deal promoters.

“We’re focused on connecting digital advertising to the physical world and doing so in a way that minimizes friction for merchants and consumers so they can engage with each other in valuable ways. We believe that card-linked offers will play a key role in delivering on this promise,” said Erik Jorgensen, general manager of local advertising with Microsoft Corp.

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