OPERATIONS

Target to open at midnight on Black Friday

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Target Corp. said Friday that it will open its stores across the country at midnight on Thanksgiving for the first time in the retailer’s history.

Stores opened at 4 a.m. on Black Friday last year.

Target, which said its move was in response to customer demand, said its stores will stay open for 23 hours and close at 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25.

Last year, most Walmart stores opened by midnight on Thanksgiving.

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OPERATIONS

RadioShack campaign garners social media award

BY Staff Writer

Fort Worth, Texas — A holiday social media program has earned RadioShack top honors in a national media award event.

The retailer’s 2010 holiday social media program, supported by imc2 as RadioShack’s social media agency, won in its category at the Fifth Annual Forrester Groundswell Awards.

RadioShack’s 2010 holiday social media program, themed "Holiday Heroes," was designed to drive store traffic and support sales while simultaneously building a community and trust in the social media space. Through the program, RadioShack grew its social fan base and saw an increase in positive online conversations and engagement. RadioShack created an integrated platform to inform consumers about its variety of holiday products, suggesting gifts for purchase and rewarding the consumer as a Holiday Hero.

The campaign included the Twitter promoted trend #IfIHadSuperPowers as the main engagement opportunity, inspired by RadioShack’s "Holiday Hero" television spots. This paid promotion landed the second-highest resonance score for a promoted trend in Twitter history at the time. Another promoted hashtag on Twitter, #UNeedANewPhone, resulted in a 38% increase in @RadioShack followers in 12 days. Finally, RadioShack collaborated with Foursquare to create the Holiday Hero badge, which offered exclusive discounts and offers for Foursquare users who "unlocked" the badge. This final component grew RadioShack’s fan base on Foursquare from zero to 19,333 in 60 days.

Due to the success rate and impressive increase in fans and positive sentiment, RadioShack’s 2010 Holiday Campaign was selected from more than 200 entrants for the Forrester Groundswell Awards this year, winning top honors for its category, "Business-to-Consumer North America: Energizing."

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Toy imports dip 9% in U.S. despite approaching holidays

BY Staff Writer

Newark, N.J. — A report released Friday by the Journal of Commerce/PIERS showed that U.S. toy imports dropped 9% year-over-year in September, as the country’s retailers apparently chose caution heading into the 2011 holiday season.

The drop in container volume, most of it from China, was the eighth straight for toys coming into the United States and a strong sign that the nation’s stores are concerned with figures showing waning consumer confidence and opting to keep inventories lean rather than face deep-discount sales.

The 60,616 twenty-foot-equivalent units arriving at ports in September, according to measurements by PIERS, marked a 7.6% year-to-date drop – or 30,430 fewer containers – from the same period last year.

"There is a strong inverse correlation between toys imports volume (in 20-ft. equivalent units) and toys import prices over the last seven years," said Mario O. Moreno, economist for the Journal of Commerce/PIERS. "When toys import prices increase, the tendency for demand is to decline … 74% of the time."

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