FINANCE

Survey: Annual Study Ranks Most-Competitive Retailers

BY CSA STAFF

Herndon, Va. In a study of more than 540 nationwide companies that ranked the most-competitive retailers, Publix Supermarkets retained the No. 1 retail spot for the second consecutive year with a “W score” of 92.0.

The annual Most-Competitive Retail & Consumer Goods Study, which was sponsored by SAP AG and conducted by independent research firm wRatings Corp., utilized a 100-point scale, or “W score,” to rank how well businesses built consumer and economic advantages.

Coach earned the No. 2 spot on the most-competitive list, rising from the 15th position in the 2007 ranking of most-competitive retailers. However, the retailer in the Top 20 most-competitive list that showed the biggest jump in standings was Family Dollar, which rose from a ranking of 64 in 2007 to No. 3 in the 2008 survey.

Rounding out this year’s Top 10 most-competitive retailers, in chronological placement from No. 4 to No. 10, were Claire’s Stores; Staples; New York & Co.; Gap; Michael’s Stores; Williams-Sonoma and Petco. With the exception of Williams-Sonoma, which fell from a ranking of five in 2007 to ninth place this year, each of the retailers among the Top 10 had improved its competitive positioning year over year.

Ross Stores was ranked No. 11 on the most-competitive list, falling from the No. 3 position in 2007. Neiman Marcus, American Eagle and J. Crew came in at the 12th, 13th and 14th placement respectively and each of these companies showed a marked improvement over 2007.

Gymboree, at No. 15 in 2008, lost considerable ground from its sixth-rank slot the previous year. Retailers ranked No. 16 to No. 19 in the 2008 survey—Nordstrom, Niketown, Amazon and PetSmart, respectively—each showed improvement over 2007. Kroger slipped from the 17th most-competitive slot in 2007 to No. 20 on the 2008 list.

The survey utilizes financial and consumer data, including responses from consumers as to how well retailers have met their expectations every quarter. The 2008 ratings are based on surveys and data from the first quarter of this calendar year. According to wRatings, the “W score” measures a company’s ability to generate sustainable economic profit through competitive moats, or barriers to entry, as rated by consumers. The firm stated in its release, “Each W score blends a company’s historical economic profit with its forward-looking ability to meet consumer expectations.”

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Study: Decrease in back-to-school spending expected

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Consumers plan to cut back on back-to-school spending due to higher costs of food and gas. According to a Deloitte survey, 71% of respondents said they plan to spend less on back-to-school items this year. Almost half (48%) plan to reduce their household spending by more than $100.

The survey results indicate that, this year, the vast majority of consumers (88%) will do their back-to-school shopping at discount/value department stores. Almost four in 10 (37%) will shop at dollar stores, and almost one-third (32%) will shop at office supply/computer stores.

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Sam’s targets cost-conscious collegiates

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Sam’s Club is now offering students with a valid college ID and collegiate e-mail address a year-long membership for $40 and a $15 gift card to help offset the cost of their first purchase.

In addition, each collegiate membership includes a complimentary add-on card so other students can share the savings.

 

The new college membership cards, according to Sam’s Club, is its way of addressing concerns about rising costs of education. According to a survey commissioned by Sam’s Club, 66% of Americans felt tuition was the biggest concern as the school year begins. Furthermore, 85% felt that one-stop-shopping at places such as warehouses lead to the greatest savings when purchasing items for college.

“We’ve always had a great relationship with college administrators and many of our clubs serve college towns, this new college specific membership will help us answer the needs of both parents and students, as they return or go to campus for the first time, and to make the most of their budgets,” said Mike Turner, vp of membership at Sam’s Club.

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