TECHNOLOGY

Study: Even younger shoppers like stores

BY Marianne Wilson

More than three-quarters of consumers are shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores just as much as or more than they did a year ago.

That’s according to Consumer View, a new quarterly report from the National Retail Federation. NRF is working with Toluna Analytics to produce the report, which is designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to stores, online channels, customer loyalty, technology and other issues.

According to the report, 21% of consumers surveyed are primarily online shoppers (defined as those who purchase more than half of their items online). Seventy-nine percent said they purchase half or less of their items online. Among Millennials and Generation Z, 34% are primarily online shoppers, but the majority still make most of their purchases in stores.

The survey found that consumers like technologies that transform the store experience. For consumers who had tried buy online, pick up in store, 68% said it improved their shopping experience. Similarly, 66% of those who had tried in-app store navigation and 65% of those who had used mobile payment while shopping said it had a positive impact.

Other innovations have made less of an impression, with 44% saying in-store digital displays had no impact on their shopping experience and 43% saying the same about the use of tablets of smartphones by store associates.

Of those surveyed, 86% buy their groceries mostly or entirely in-store, as do 65% for home improvement items/tools, 64% for personal care/beauty products and 57% for home decor/furnishings. Clothing is split with 49% shopping in stores, 13% shopping online and 38% shopping equally in stores and online. The findings for consumer electronics are largely the same.

Books, music and video games were the only category where consumers purchase the majority or all their items online (37%), with 27% shopping mostly or entirely in stores and 36% split.

Among shoppers overall, 69% said they go to a store because they need something right away and 65% wanted to see an item before purchasing. Among Millennials, 55% go to stores as a social activity, 50% to pick up an item bought online and 44% to talk to a sales associate. In both groups, 66% said they go to stores simply because they prefer to shop in stores

“This report shows that the bricks-and-mortar store is still the cornerstone of American retail and likely will be for many years to come, as consumers seek authentic interaction and experiences with retailers,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Despite the changes in our industry, there is an appeal to seeing and touching merchandise in person and being able to engage with fellow human beings that has yet to go away. Even younger shoppers see the value of the store.”

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M.Abrams says:
Oct-16-2017 08:50 pm

Congratulation on your new post Mr. Crawford. I am a shareholder of small amount but since we have no store in Tallahassee, I drove up to Cairo, Ga., about 55 miles, home of Jackie Robinson of baseball fame, just to see a Rite Aid in action. Across from the city's hospital was a small independent drug store, U Buy Em or something like that. Further into town was a Rite Aid right across from a Walgreen. Seems to me the Rite Aid is in the wrong place and needs to be near the hospital, as it will lose business to Walgreen. I walked in and clerk was nice but I could see only one or two people in the whole store in the afternoon. Most of the town seemed to be at the Wal Mart. I don't know the future of Rite Aid or the Walgreen but I do know that there is a lot of competition. Rite Aid is doing its best to keep up but I fear that unless somehow Rite Aid is able to establish itself in a different manner there isn't much to be done. Paint and clean the outside, fix up the store outside at least. Offer free hotdogs or something. I don't know what can be done but I do wish you the best.

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FINANCE

Retailers support new tax reform proposal

BY Marianne Wilson

The National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association are throwing its support behind the tax reform proposal released Wednesday by the Trump administration and congressional leadership.

According to the NRF, the measure could provide a major boost for the nation’s economy.

"We look forward to hearing more details but this is a very positive step forward to achieving the kind of comprehensive tax reform that is needed to keep our nation’s economy competitive in the global environment,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “This plan would provide much-needed relief for corporations, small businesses and middle-class individuals alike, and would help draw foreign capital and investment to the United States. This is the framework we need to unlock job creation and economic growth.”

RILA executive VP of government affairs Jennifer Safavian said the framework for the new proposal represents an "historic opportunity" to fix a broken tax code and boost economic growth.

"Today's announcement from the Administration, House and Senate leadership, and the Chairmen of the tax-writing Committees on a framework to overhaul our current system is a step in the right direction to put money back into family budgets and keep America competitive in the global marketplace," she stated. "Despite being one of our country's top economic drivers, America's retailers face an average domestic tax rate of 36.7% — nearly 10 percentage points higher than the average for all industries. Tax reform that scrutinizes credits and deductions not applicable to all taxpayers and flattens rates for all will spur investment, job creation, and consumer savings."

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FINANCE

Pier I loss widens in Q2

BY Marianne Wilson

Pier 1 Imports Inc. reported a wider-than-expected loss in its second quarter and forecast a smaller per-share profit for the year that analysts had expected.

Pier 1 lost $7.8 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with a loss of $4 million, or 5 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time items, the company reported a loss of 5 cents a share in the quarter.

Revenue rose 0.4% to $407.6 million, compared with $405.8 million in the same period last year. Analysts had expected a loss of 6 cents a share on sales of $407 million, and a rise of 0.7% for comparable-store sales.

Same-store sales rose 1.8% in the quarter. E-commerce sales penetration reached 27%.

Alasdair James, president and CEO, noted that the company achieved solid top-line performance and year-over-year improvement in merchandise margin in a challenging retail environment.

"However, this level of performance does not reflect our expectations for the business," he said. "We believe there is far greater potential ahead to optimize the Pier 1 Imports brand and improve our long-term profitability.”

Pier I updated its full-year outlook to "reflect the anticipated impact" of hurricanes Harvey and Irma" on the third quarter. The company expects full-year earnings in the range of 31 cents to 41 cents per share. Analysts had expected a fiscal 2018 EPS of 46 cents a share.

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