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Study: Immediate gratification, sensory experience fuels brick-and-mortar shopping

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio — Despite the growing popularity of online shopping, millions of consumers will flock to the stores this Black Friday. According to a recent study from WD Partners, "Amazon Can’t Do That: Consumer Desire & the Store of the Future,” 79% of consumers rank instant ownership as a top factor in influencing how they shop.

Other store-friendly top influencers include sensory experience and product immersion (75%), emotional experience of interacting with live human beings, community, and personal service.

"The store should be a place of inspiration and ideas that leaves shoppers with a high or sense of euphoria. The in-store shopping experience must offer more than a warehouse does," said Lee Paterson, executive VP of creative services of WD Partners. "Retailers who provide this type of shopping experience will be successful this holiday shopping season."

The study is based on quantitative and qualitative shopper research by WD Partners. In May 2013, more than 1,700 consumers were surveyed using a nationally syndicated panel.

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PetSmart net income jumps 12% in Q3

BY Dan Berthiaume

Phoenix – PetSmart reported a 12% increase in net income, to $92 million from $82 million a year earlier, during the third quarter of 2013. Total sales grew about 4%, to $1.69 billion from $1.62 billion, while same-store sales increased 2.7%.

Looking ahead, PetSmart predicts same-store sales growth of 3%-3.5% and total sales growth of approximately 3% for fiscal 2013. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, PetSmart forecasts same-store sales growth of 2.5%-3.5% and a 2%-3% decrease in total sales.

“Given the challenged consumer environment during the quarter, we are pleased with our results and level of execution,” said David Lenhardt, CEO. “Our performance demonstrates the strength and stability of our business.”

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Destination XL net loss grows in Q3 amid costs

BY Dan Berthiaume

Canton, Mass. – Men’s big-and-tall apparel retailer Destination XL reported a loss of $4.1 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, up from $1.6 million a year earlier.

Net sales dropped fractionally to $88.2 million from $88.7 million, partially offset by a 4.4% increase in same-store sales.

Destination XL cited $5.8 million in transition costs as it moves to its DXL format, as a primary driver of its increased net loss. Transition costs, which include pre-opening rent and payroll, store training, infrastructure costs, store closing costs and lease exit costs, are primarily start-up costs associated with the DXL transformation that the company says will not continue once a DXL store is open and the company has completed the transformation in 2015. During this three-year transition, the company expects to incur transition costs of approximately $10 million per year.

Looking ahead, Destination XL expects full-year fiscal results to come in at the low end of previously issued guidance, including a same-store sales increase of approximately 5% and total sales of approximately $395 million. The company expects to open approximately 53 DXL stores (compared with prior guidance of between 55-58 stores) while closing 102 Casual Male XL and Rochester Clothing stores. Certain DXL stores previously anticipated to open in 2013, will instead be opened in early 2014.

"We turned in a solid financial performance, and made excellent progress on our DXL strategy in the third quarter," said president and CEO David Levin. "For the first two months of the quarter, sales were negatively affected by the soft overall retail market due to the government shutdown as well as unseasonably warm fall weather. We then saw a very strong rebound in traffic and sales in DXL stores during October as a direct result of the start of our fall national marketing campaign at the end of September. In fact, we reported a 30.2% increase in sales across all DXL stores in October, and a 25.3% increase for those that have been open longer than a year. In addition, average transaction size for our DXL stores increased by 18.7% during October, traffic increased 11.0% and new customer penetration increased 34.6% over last year.”

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