OPERATIONS

Survey: Back-to-school shoppers looking for best deals

BY Marianne Wilson

Los Angeles — A new survey by PriceGrabber confirms that consumers are determined to think frugally when shopping for back-to-school this year, with 57% of respondents saying they will attempt to buy more items that are "on sale," while 42% say they will comparison shop for the best price.

The 2013 back-to-school study found that shoppers are looking for deals online, as 39% said they will shop online more than in prior years. Another 39% plan to buy only the necessities; 26% will use more store coupons; while 19% said they will shop at less expensive stores.

Back-to-school shoppers plan to cash in on store loyalty programs with 16% planning to increase their use of store or credit cards offering rewards points. Only 11% of consumers said they would maintain their 2012 shopping habits from last fall, leaving a majority of shoppers looking for the best budget buys.

Of the consumers who indicated that social media will impact their back-to-school shopping decisions, 85% said that Facebook would influence them most. YouTube ranked second at 23%, and Pinterest ranked a close third at 22%. In fourth place, 19% said that Twitter would influence their back-to-school shopping decisions this year, while 8% indicated "other" social media channels. MySpace ranked the least popular among social media channels that would influence back-to-school shoppers.

In other findings, 46% of back-to-school shoppers said they would use their smartphone to find deals this year. When mobile shoppers were asked to select all the ways they plan to use their smartphone to save money on back-to-school items 67% noted they will check prices online before making offline purchases; 47% will read retailer discount emails while in the store; another 47% will have retailer coupons directly texted to their phone; 42% plan to make purchases online from their mobile phone; 30% will use mobile apps and bar code scanners; and 29% will check store inventory online before shopping in-store.

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REAL ESTATE

Target to open in King of Prussia, Pa.

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Target announced plans to open a store in King of Prussia, Pa., in July 2014.

The new store, located on West DeKalb Pike, will be part of the Valley Forge Shopping Center. This will be the first Target store in the city of King of Prussia.

“Pennsylvania continues to be a strong market for Target, and we’re eager to expand our presence in the state this year,” said Samir Shah, Target’s senior VP of stores, Northeast.

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INVENTORY

The Shoe Gallery improves operational efficiency with Celerant

BY Marianne Wilson

Staten Island, N.Y. — The Shoe Gallery has stepped up inventory control with the help of Celerant Technology Corp. The chain has been using Celerant’s real-time, retail management system, Command Retail, to manage all areas of its retail operation for the past seven years.

It is also using the supplier’s Style Matrix tool, a three-dimensional graphical representation of all the SKUs by size, width, and color, to improve operational efficiency.

“With the Matrix we can see what we have in stock and what we’ve sold and we can easily buy our most popular items and restock,” said Shoe Gallery CFO Will Brooks. “If we didn’t have the size/width/color matrix, we’d have to revert back to pen and paper and go to the sales floor and stock room to count the inventory before placing reorders. With Celerant, I can look at the Matrix and create a purchase order with ease. It’s saved so much time!”

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