OPERATIONS

Survey: Some consumers think Black Friday sales start too early

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Whiting, Ind. — Survey results released Wednesday by CouponCabin found that nearly a third (31%) of U.S. consumers feel that holiday shopping is starting too soon, with many stores opening their doors to shoppers Thursday, and in some cases, even Wednesday, night.

Stress is a factor, as many respondents reported that a variety of factors make Black Friday a nerve-wracking holiday. When asked which of the following stressed them out about Black Friday, U.S. adults said the following:

  • The thought of that many people in one store is scary: 34%
  • The item I want might be out of stock before I can purchase it: 28%
  • The competition among other shoppers for deals: – 26%
  • There are so many deals it’s overwhelming: 16%
  • Other: 8%

Even with the possibility of a stressful situation, many will still check out the sales on Black Friday this year. Two-in-five (40%) adults plan to shop either online or in-store this Black Friday. On the flip side, 60% said they aren’t sure or don’t plan to shop on Black Friday. Some shop the sale every year, as 16% said it’s a tradition in their family.

"Even though some people will avoid Black Friday this year, others who embrace it are likely to find huge discounts on a variety of items," said Jackie Warrick, president and CEO at CouponCabin.com. "If you’re one of the shoppers seeking deals this year, make sure to do your research ahead of time, plan your shopping strategy and check out the offers online before you make your buying decisions."

Some shoppers anticipate buying more on Black Friday this year than in years past. In fact, more than one-in-five (21%) of those who plan to shop in stores or online on Black Friday plan to spend more this year than they did last year. Fifty-two percent plan to spend the same amount, while 18% plan to spend less.

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OPERATIONS

Cabela’s selects PTC for lifecycle management

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Needham, Mass. — PTC said Tuesday that Cabela’s has chosen PTC Windchill FlexPLM software, the company’s Product Lifecycle Management solution for retail.

Cabela’s is using PTC PLM solutions to manage the entire lifecycle of its apparel products from conception through design, technical design, sourcing, and manufacturing to commercialization. By integrating business processes, workflow and data, PTC solutions are enabling Cabela’s to increase fill rates and improve margins, thus supporting Cabela’s core strategy of improving merchandising performance.

In selecting PTC solutions, Cabela’s was particularly interested in the proven processes and practices enabled by its out-of-the-box capabilities. Being able to implement a comprehensive retail PLM system in a short period of time has allowed Cabela’s to quickly realize value and reduce product cycle-time from ideation to commercialization.

“We take our brand very seriously at Cabela’s and that is why we partnered with PTC,” said Gabriel Garcia, PLM manager for Cabela’s. “Being able to implement a best practices PLM solution out-of-the-box was crucial for us. By week three with PTC, we were already adding design content and adding much more to our apparel brand line.”

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News

Staples results reflect economic weakness

BY CSA STAFF

Third quarter sales at Staples declined 2% to a little less than $6.4 billion and a host of previously announced charges resulted in the company reporting a loss of $569 million or 85 cents a share.

The profit picture looks a little better if charges related to the impairment of goodwill and other assets, restructuring, accelerated amortization and related tax charges are excluded. On an adjusted basis, profit fell to $310 million from $324 million while earnings per share were flat at 46 cents due to share repurchase activity. So far this year, Staples has spent $362 million to buy back 27.4 million shares.

"During the third quarter we launched a new strategic plan to become the product authority for businesses, restructured our organization, and generated solid earnings excluding charges," said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and CEO. "Going forward, we are in a much stronger position to pursue our best growth opportunities."

Those opportunities were disclosed in the press release which detailed third quarter results, but opportunities for improvement were evident in many areas of the business based on third quarter results.

North American Retail sales of $2.6 billion were flat with the prior year, same store sales declined 1% and operating profits increased less than 1% to $285 million. Lower sales of computers and software were somewhat offset by growth of copy and print services and core office supplies.

Sales for the North American Delivery business unit increased 1% to $2.6 billion, but operating profits declined to $227 million from $245 million. The sales increase primarily reflects growth of facilities and breakroom supplies and copy and print services, partially offset by the previously announced loss of two large contract customers during the third quarter of 2011.

International sales decreased 12%, or 8% when measured in local currencies, to $1.1 billion, resulting in an operating loss of $1.7 million compared to a prior year operating profit of $35 million. Staples said the results reflect weak sales in Europe and Australia. Economic weakness drove declines in the company’s European delivery businesses, as well as a 6% decline in comparable store sales in Europe.

Staples may not be knocking the cover off of the ball when it comes to top line sales growth, but investors can take comfort in the company’s ability to generate cash until such time as improved economic conditions produce higher spending by business and consumers. Staples expects to generate more than $1 billion of free cash flow this year and maintain share repurchase activity that will result in the buy back of roughly $450 million worth of stock.

 

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