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Survey: 88% of retailers plan Cyber Monday specials

BY CSA STAFF

Washington – Retailers have big plans for Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving), according to Shop.org’s eHoliday Survey, conducted by BIGresearch. Nearly nine in ten (88.2%) retailers will have a special promotion for Cyber Monday, up from 72.2% in 2007.
Retailers’ Cyber Monday plans are more robust this year with nearly half of companies offering specific deals (49.0%, up from 42.9% last year) and many planning one-day sales (41.2% vs. 32.9% last year) and free shipping on all purchases (21.6% vs. 15.7% last year). In addition, the majority of retailers (62.7%) will send promotions and deals to shoppers through a special Cyber Monday email.

Although many will opt to shop for holiday gifts online from home, many Americans also set aside time over their lunch hours or at the end of the day to shop online from work. According to the survey, 54.5% of workers with Internet access, or 70.1 million people, will shop for holiday gifts from the office this year. Employees most likely to shop from work include men (56.5%) and young adults 25-34 (71.8%).

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Walmart announces pro bono legal services program for Arkansas

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. – The Walmart legal department announced plans to undertake an in-house pro bono program in which its attorneys, paralegals, and support staff will participate in legal aid projects in the Arkansas community. In doing so, Walmart has become the 100th signatory to the national Corporate Pro Bono Challenge, a voluntary benchmark developed and administered by Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), a partnership project of the Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), designed to encourage and promote pro bono service with in-house lawyers and legal departments.

In addition, the Walmart legal department and the Walmart Foundation today announced a $115,000 donation to Legal Aid of Arkansas and the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission. The grant will help the Commission continue its efforts to address key issues raised by low-income clients, including family law, consumer practice, financial, housing, and employment matters.

"Our pro bono effort is a natural extension of our company’s overall belief in being a good corporate citizen," said Jeff Gearhart, executive VP and general counsel of Walmart. "Helping to ensure that access to legal services is a reality for all of our citizens, regardless of their ability to pay, is consistent with Walmart’s commitment to making a difference in the communities that we serve."

The $115,000 award from the Walmart Foundation will assist Legal Aid of Arkansas in funding its Medical-Legal Partnership with Mid-Delta Health Systems, which serves patients in six of Arkansas’ poorest counties, located in the Mississippi River Delta area.

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SpendingPulse survey shows uptick heading into holidays

BY CSA STAFF

New York — Shoppers opened up their wallets in early November, providing retailers with some early holiday cheer. Spending on apparel, jewelry and luxury goods showed strong increases from the same time a year ago, according to MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which includes transactions in all forms including cash.

“Although some sectors such as furniture and furnishings remain flat or slightly down, we are now beginning to see sharper increases in key holiday categories, indicating a solid start to the holiday season,” observed Michael McNamara, VP, research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “For now at least, we are seeing some decent growth numbers and while levels are not yet back to 2007, the year-over-year growth stats are helping to get the holiday season off to an encouraging start.”

For the pre-season period through Nov. 13, total apparel sales were up 9.7% against the same period last year. This number is over October’s year-over-year increase of 8.2% for the category, and further builds on the 7-out-of-10 months’ year-over-year gains for the sector in 2010.

The SpendingPulse Luxury ex-Jewelry Index, which tallies sales at high-end restaurant, food stores, department stores and general apparel categories, also was a gainer. Through November 13, the Luxury Index was up 6.7%, in sharp contrast to the same period last year, when luxury fell by 9.2%, and again building on October’s year-over-year momentum, wherein the category was up by 4.2% year over year.

E-commerce returned to double digit gains, continuing to build on the 7%-plus gains of August, September and October, hitting an 11.4% year-over year increase.

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