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Study: More than 40% of smartphone and tablet owners ‘showroom’

BY Alaric Dearment

Whiting, Ind. — An online consumer survey shows that nearly half of consumers go into brick-and-mortar stores with their smartphones to research items without buying them and then looked for the same item at a lower price online.

The 2,361-adult survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin.com between Sept. 18 and 20, found that 43% of smartphone and tablet owners have engaged in the practice, known as "showrooming."

Of the shoppers who have showroomed, nearly all have sometimes or often bought a showroomed item online for a lower price later on, according to the survey; 28% of respondents said they did this often, while 68% said they do it sometimes. Forty-four percent said they were "not at all" concerned that showrooming may drive brick-and-mortar retailers out of business, while 41% said they were somewhat concerned, and 15% said they were very or extremely concerned.

"Consumers are using technology to find as many ways to save as possible, and showrooming is a prime example of that," CouponCabin.com president and chief savings officer Jackie Warrick said. "As showrooming becomes more widespread, some stores are concerned and are changing their strategies, offering new incentives and providing special offers to keep shoppers buying at their retail locations."

When asked what kinds of items they had showroomed, 50% of respondents said home electronics, while 44% said tech devices. Meanwhile, 40% said they showroomed entertainment items; 31% said they showroomed clothing; 29% said they showroomed shoes; and 24% said they showroomed computers.

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Supervalu reports Q2 loss

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Supervalu Inc. on Thursday reported a loss of $111 for its second quarter, compared with net income of $60 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue fell 4.6% to $8.04 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 8, from $8.43 billion in the year-earlier quarter. The decrease in net sales was blamed on both a decline in identical store sales and the sale of a majority of the company’s gas stations, which had contributed $158 million in revenue in the second quarter last year.

“We have accomplished a number of important steps since I became president and chief executive officer mid-way through the second quarter, including the successful refinancing of our credit facility, restructuring our executive leadership team, and announcing the closure of 60 stores,” said Wayne Sales, president, CEO, and chairman, Supervalu. “Our team is aggressively focused on four key strategic imperatives necessary to improve our business: driving profitable retail sales, growing Save-A-Lot, building our network of successful independent retailers, and reducing costs.

The company also announced Thursday that Leon Bergmann is leaving and will be succeeded as president of independent business by Janel Haugarth, effective immediately. Haugarth will continue to lead Supervalu’s business optimization efforts.

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Toys’R’Us extends layaway through December

BY CSA STAFF

WAYNE, N.J. — Toys"R"Us has extended its free layaway program through Dec. 16. The program, announced in September, was originally slated to end on Oct. 31.

In addition, the retailer announced that it pay it forward every time someone offers to pay off the balance of a layaway offer for someone in their community. For each layaway balance paid off as an act of kindness, the company will donate $200 worth of toys – the approximate average value of a layaway order created at Toys"R"Us – to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, up to $1 million worth of toys.

"Since we introduced our new free layaway offer in early September, we’ve seen a fantastic response from parents and gift-givers who value the opportunity to pay for their holiday purchases over time, without having to incur an upfront fee. We’re pleased to extend this offer for those customers who may not have started their Christmas shopping yet, but would like the flexibility of paying for their purchases incrementally now through mid-December," said Troy Rice, EVP stores and services for Toys"R"Us, U.S. "At the same time, we’re excited to expand upon our ongoing commitment to Toys for Tots, by paying it forward each time a generous benefactor visits one of our stores and pays off the layaway balance of someone in their local community this holiday season. Now, through these inspiring acts of Giving Back, more children in need will have gifts to open on Christmas morning."

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