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Survey: Most e-commerce companies expect better holiday sales

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — A survey released Tuesday by Chase Paymentech, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co., found that online companies are expecting the 2012 holiday shopping season to be better than last year.

According to the Chase Paymentech eHoliday Shopping Monitor, 59% of e-commerce companies surveyed expect better sales volume this season than in 2011, while almost half (47%) expect it to be better than pre-recession levels in 2007.

This survey arrives ahead of the Chase Holiday Pulse, which, for the seventh year, will present actual aggregated daily payment processing activity for 50 U.S. online retailers.

“E-commerce payment activity provides a unique window into the country’s economic health during the busiest shopping season of the year,” said Mike Duffy, president of Chase Paymentech.

Nearly half (45%) of the companies surveyed expect to see an increase in their e-commerce sales over last year, and 53% expect their e-commerce holiday sales to remain similar to last year. On average, these companies expect more than half (51%) of their holiday sales to come from e-commerce. While the e-commerce cash register rings, mobile commerce is expected to account for only 6% of holiday sales.

However, nearly half (45%) do not believe average ticket prices will change from last year and only 39%) expect average ticket prices to be higher.

Despite the expectations for a strong shopping season, the e-commerce companies surveyed expect that they will face some marketing challenges over the coming months. More than half (52%) indicated “reaching new customers” would be “significantly challenging,” followed by “offering competitive pricing” (25%) and “reaching return customers” (23%).

Of those who plan to use digital promotions, companies said Facebook (86%) and Twitter (70%) are the social media sites they plan to use most to reach customers.

The vast majority (65%) surveyed believe the 2012 shopping season will have a positive impact on the U.S. economy. Overall, 80% say the U.S. economy will either remain the same or improve over the next 12 months, compared with only 20% expecting conditions to get worse.

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RadioShack swings to big loss in Q3

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Fort Worth, Texas — RadioShack Corp. reported Tuesday a wider-than-expected loss of $47 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a profit of $300,000 for the same period last year. Sales dropped from $1.03 billion to $1.0 billion and same-store sales dropped 1.6%.

“Overall, our business performed below expectations,” said Dorvin Lively, interim CEO. However, he said, going forward the focus will be on stabilizing profitability. “We have a focused set of initiatives that we believe will accomplish this goal, however, it will take some time to fully address the challenges this business faces," Lively said.

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Former NRF ARTS director joins board of software solutions provider

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas — Software solutions provider Starmount has named Richard Mader, president of Mader International Consulting and director emeritus of the Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), to its board of directors.

As executive director of ARTS, a division of the National Retail Federation (NRF) — a position he held from 1999 to 2012 — Mader led the development of industry standards that would lower the costs of retail technology.

Mader has over 40 years’ experience in retail information management, having served as SVP and CIO for Boscov’s and Bon-Ton Department Stores, among other executive positions. He is recognized as a leader in retail technology and has presented at conferences throughout the world.

“I am delighted to join the board of Starmount,” Mader said. “I’ve known Jerry Rightmer and Joe Halloum since their days at 360Commerce — a company that was instrumental in shaping the direction of retail POS. I have worked closely with Jerry and his team on ARTS standards for many years, and their understanding of the retail industry has now elevated Starmount to a leadership position in mobile POS and mobile selling. Starmount applications embody the ARTS vision of building on standards that protect retailers’ investments and provide the flexibility to support rapid innovation and change.”

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