MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Smartphones edge out other technology for gifts

BY Dan Berthiaume

Austin, Texas – Smartphones are starting to edge out other popular forms of consumer technology as holiday gifts. According to a new survey from RetailMeNot and The Omnibus Company, within the next five years, less than one-in-five winter holiday gift givers plan to buy someone a portable music player (19%), desktop computer (19%), GPS device (13%) or regular cell phone (9%) for the holidays.

In addition, nearly half of consumers (46%) surveyed say they would prefer to use a smartphone over a digital camera to take most of their pictures. In other holiday-related technology findings, nearly half of the consumers surveyed feel that children should have their own cell phone (46%) or tablet (44%) at age 13 or younger. Additionally, nearly half of parents (48%) are willing to consider purchasing a tablet for their child.

The most popular electronics parents are willing to consider buying for their children are gaming consoles (62%), handheld educational devices (58%), portable music players (54%) and handheld gaming devices (54%). Fathers are more likely than mothers (68% versus 57%) to consider buying a gaming console for their child.

According to the survey, the top three categories of gifts purchased on Black Friday are apparel, electronics and entertainment. More than half of consumers (56%) believe that Black Friday provides the most savings out of all the major winter holiday sale days, beating out Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day, Green Monday and Thanksgiving.

"With a variety of new products and technologies being introduced into the marketplace, this holiday season is all about upgrading your tech," said Trae Bodge, senior editor of The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. "Black Friday sales present a huge opportunity to score deep discounts on consumer electronics. To make the most of Black Friday, smart shoppers need to map out a game plan to get this year’s hot gadgets at bargain prices."


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REAL ESTATE

99 Cents Only opens California store Nov. 14

BY Dan Berthiaume

City of Commerce, Calif. – 99 Cents Only Stores is opening a new store in Ladera Heights, Calif., on Nov. 14. The new store is approximately 19,000 sq. ft. and will feature a perishable food department, including produce, dairy and frozen foods.

99 Cents Only Stores currently operates 334 extreme value retail stores consisting of 240 stores in California, 44 in Texas, 33 in Arizona, and 17 in Nevada.

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OPERATIONS

Blockbuster to close domestic stores, end DVD by mail

BY Dan Berthiaume

Englewood, Colo. — Blockbuster L.L.C., will end its retail and by mail DVD distribution operations by early January 2014. The company will close its approximately 300 remaining U.S.-based retail stores, as well as its distribution centers.

The Blockbuster By Mail service will end mid-December and will serve existing customers until that time. During the past 18 months, Blockbuster has divested itself of assets in the U.S., as well international assets, including operations in the U.K., and Scandinavia. Parent company Dish Network will continue to support Blockbuster’s domestic and international franchise operations, relationships and agreements.

Dish will retain licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand, and key assets, including the company’s significant video library. Dish will focus on delivering the Blockbuster @Home service to Dish customers, and on its transactional streaming service for the general market, Blockbuster On Demand.

"This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment," said Joseph P. Clayton, DISH president and CEO. "Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings."

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