OPERATIONS

Survey: Majority of consumers have plans to give retail gift cards

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Oklahoma City — The vast majority (91.4%) of American consumers plan to give up to three retail gift cards as gifts over the next three months, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Retail Gift Card Association.

However, the survey also found that consumers will continue to keep their wallets tight – only 30.6% of respondents would purchase something they would not normally buy. The rest, 69.4%, said they would spend the gift card on something they needed, or put it toward a larger purchase.

Data from the survey also showed that 71.3% feel “very satisfied” when they receive a retail gift card as a gift, and 91.4% said they plan to give one to three retail gift cards as gifts in the next three months.

"This survey shows that gift card continue to evolve in terms of their utility for many gifting occasions and they continue to be coveted by recipients," said RGCA executive director Rebekka Rea.

Additional findings include:

  • According to the survey, 29.4% of respondents gave Dad a gift card to a home improvement store, and 10.4% opted for a restaurant card;
  • 28.6% plan to give newlyweds a gift card to a home improvement store this summer, which is a higher percentage than spa/leisure, restaurant, retailer or online gift cards;
  • 73.2% prefer to give a retail gift card when giving a gift from a group of people;
  • 88.5% redeem a retail gift card within 6 months of receiving;
  • 87.7% spend the same amount, or more than the amount of the retail gift card;
  • 50.9% like giving retail gift cards because they are convenient; and
  • 84.6% like receiving retail gift cards because they can purchase what they want.
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News

Burlington benefits from cold Q1

BY CSA STAFF

BURLINGTON, N.J. — Burlington Coat Factory was the beneficiary of an unseasonably cool first quarter that resulted in soft sales at some other retailers.

The company’s net sales increased 8.4% to nearly $1.1 billion for the quarter from $982 million for the quarter ended April 28, 2012. Comparative store sales increased 3.4%.

Net income, adjusted to exclude several non-recurring expenses, was $11.1 million, an increase of 7.9% from $842 thousand for the quarter ended April 28, 2012. The increase was primarily driven by sales growth and improved gross margin rate, partially offset by increased selling and administrative expenses.

“We are very pleased with our $10.3 million increase in adjusted net Income during the quarter, which was driven by our 8.4% overall sales growth and, most important, our 3.4% comparative store sales increase,” said president and CEO Tom Kingsbury. “We continue to stay focused on delivering more fresh values to our customers on a daily basis. I would like to thank our store and corporate team for contributing to these great results.”

Burlington Coat Factory was taken private in 2006 by Bain Capital. It currently operates 503 stores in 44 states and Puerto Rico.

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STORE SPACES

Ikea to more-than-double solar array atop Denver-area store

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Conshohocken, Pa. — Ikea said Tuesday it plans to increase the solar array atop its two-year-old Centennial, Colo. store, with panel installation slated to begin in July.

Completion of what is already Colorado’s largest single-use rooftop array on a commercial building is slated for this fall, and will elevate the project to the state’s largest rooftop array of any use.

The 83,700-sq.-ft. solar addition will consist of a 623-kW system, built with 2,492 panels, and will produce 961,000 kWh of electricity annually for the store. Including the existing system, Ikea Centennial’s total 1,121-kW solar installation of 4,704 panels soon will generate 1,701,000 kWh of clean electricity yearly, the equivalent of reducing 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide, eliminating the emissions of 250 cars or powering 180 homes.

Ikea contracted with REC Solar for the development, design and installation of the system.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to double the amount of solar energy generated and used by this store,” said John Ellis, Ikea Centennial store manager. “This is another example of the Ikea commitment to create a more sustainable life for communities where we operate.”

In May, Ikea achieved its goal of completing solar installations atop nearly 90% of its U.S. buildings (39 out of 44 locations), with a generation goal of 38 MW. Ikea owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems and globally has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015.

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