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Supervalu in pay freeze at headquarters

BY Staff Writer

Minneapolis — Supervalu on Friday said it would implement a pay freeze for all employees at its corporate headquarters and said it would also reduce or suspend matching contributions to workers’ 401(k) plans, effective next year.

“As we have stated during our last two earnings calls, we need to immediately take costs out of the business in order to fund our growth plans. As a result, Supervalu today announced changes to team member compensation and benefits, as they are the largest administrative expense,” the company said in a statement.

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Report: Wal-Mart files unfair U.S. labor practice charge against union

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, requesting that the National Labor Relations Board halt alleged unlawful attempts to disrupt Wal-Mart’s business.

Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar told Reuters that the retailer cannot allow the UFCW to “continue to intentionally seek to create an environment that could directly and adversely impact our customers and associates. If they do, they will be held accountable,” he said.

The move comes week before what is projected to be the largest organized action against Wal-Mart, as a small group of Walmart workers prepare to strike on Black Friday. Numerous other protests and rallies have taken place outside Walmart stores around the country, as workers push for better wages, increased benefits and improved working conditions.

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RetailMeNot survey: Most shoppers plan to spend same or more on Black Friday

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Austin, Texas — Online coupon site RetailMeNot.com on Friday released its second annual Black Friday edition of the Shoppers Trend Report, which showed that 71% of holiday shoppers plan to spend “about the same” or “more” than they spent last year versus 63% who said "about the same" or "more" in 2011.

The report, conducted by The Omnibus Co., also showed that, in 2012, 29% of shoppers plan to spend "less" than they spent last year versus 37% who said "less" in 2011. This year, 26% plan to spend "more" than they spent last year versus 11% who said "more" in 2011. This year 45% say they intend to spend "about the same" as they spent last year versus 52% who said "about the same" in 2011.

This holiday shopping season, consumers expect to spend an average of $172 per person on gifts.

Men plan to spend an average of $215 per person on gifts, while women plan to spend an average of $131 per person.

Holiday shoppers ages 30 to 39 plan to spend the most this holiday season on gifts, reporting an average of $245 per person.

The STR also revealed other consumer shopping insights leading into the holiday shopping season. When asked which type of promotional offer would be most likely to result in a purchase, consumers who would be interested in such an offer at all express interest in a buy one, get one free deal (45%), followed by a specific dollar amount off (17%) or a specific percentage off (17%), then free shipping (16%).

In 2011, free shipping ranked first in popularity with 26%, followed closely by a certain percentage off (23%), buy one, get one free offers (20%) and a certain dollar amount off (18%).

Similar to 2011, very few consumers this year are most inclined to purchase an item if the promotional offer is a loyalty program points benefit (3%), while 3% would never purchase an item using a promotional offer, down from 11% last year.

According to the survey, clothing and accessories is the most popular gift category again this year, with 28% of consumers stating most of their purchases will fall within that category. In 2011, a majority (54%) of consumers said clothing and accessories were most likely to be on their gift lists.

Other popular items topping the list for shoppers this year include consumer electronics, such as TVs, video games, tablets, e-readers and mobile phones (22%); toys (18%); and books, movies & music (12%).

This year, very few report that most of their gift purchases will be in home goods (6%), bath & beauty (4%), travel (2%) or luxury (1%) gifts.

In 2011, popular items included books, movies and music (44%); consumer electronics. such as TVs, e-readers and video games (37%); toys (34%); bath and beauty products/treatments (26%); and furniture or appliances (18%).

This year, men will be more likely than women to make most of their gift purchases in the consumer electronics category (30% versus 14%).

Sixty-nine percent of shoppers plan to do more or the same amount of online shopping for gifts this holiday season.

Shopping online for holiday gifts more this year than last year is more common among:

  • Consumers age 18–39 (40%) versus those over 40 years of age (20%).
  • Those who will spend more than $75 per person on gifts (38%) versus consumers who will spend less money (22%).
  • Consumers who use a mobile device (38%) versus those who don’t (17%).
  • Consumers who plan to purchase tech gifts this year (38%) versus those who don’t (16%).

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