MOBILITY

Target plans social Halloween

BY Dan Berthiaume

Target Corp. is reaching out directly where consumers digitally congregate for its new Halloween promotion.

Target has launched a six-part YouTube interactive video series, “The House on Hallow Hill,” for Halloween this year. The interactive videos will take viewers through a haunted house and give them options to visit different themed rooms, such as “The Ghoulish Graveyard.”

Consumers are able to directly shop for items featured in the themed rooms, with a 10% discount. Target is hoping to catch people as they are in a Halloween mood and capture spur-of-the-moment sales.

The retailer is capitalizing on the growing trend of social commerce, with major social platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook providing retailers with the chance to sell merchandise directly to social media users with a click or tap inside the social platform.

In addition, Target will offer a mobile site called Treatster that lets consumers find the best local trick-or-treat spots. The discount giant created the site with 360i and used the Google Maps API to let parents tag favored locations as “treats.” Locations with a lot of votes will be marked on the site with a large pumpkin icon, the size directly related to its popularity.

Treatster does not offer Target direct sales opportunity like “The House on Hallow Hill,” but is a good CRM tool that provides customers with a valuable and fun social tool, creating positive brand image. Treatster launches Oct. 26, meaning some of the early goodwill may translate into Halloween candy sales.

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FINANCE

ShopperTrak: Holiday sales to rise 2.4%

BY Gina Acosta

Price-conscious consumers looking for a good deal are expected to fuel a sales surge on Black Friday, but not enough to lift overall holiday sales higher than last year, according to ShopperTrak.

The analytics firm predicts that Black Friday 2015 will surpass Black Friday 2014 due to the shopper who is motivated by sales and exhibits a growing tendency toward shopping earlier. In addition, an early Hanukkah, which begins 10 days sooner this year than last, will generate November sales at the expense of December.

"This year, there are a number of retailers that are choosing to remain closed on Thanksgiving, and we expect this will complement current trends and return Black Friday to the top spot for both sales and shopper visits," said Kevin Kearns, ShopperTrak chief revenue officer.

In addition, ShopperTrak reports that after an increase in sales during the 2015 back-to-school season, the 2015 holiday season will see only a 2.4% increase from last year.

Here’s what ShopperTrak sees as the high-volume shopping days this holiday season:

1. Nov. 27 – Black Friday
2. Dec. 19 – Super Saturday
3. Dec. 26 – Day after Christmas
4. Dec. 12 – Second Saturday before Christmas
5. Nov. 28 – Saturday after Thanksgiving
6. Dec. 20 – Sunday before Christmas
7. Dec. 5 – Saturday after Cyber Monday / First Saturday in December
8. Dec. 21 – Monday before Christmas
9. Dec. 13 – Second Sunday before Christmas
10. Nov. 29 – Sunday after Black Friday

Greatest number of sales dollars:

1. Nov. 27 – Black Friday
2. Dec. 19 – Super Saturday
3. Dec. 12 – Second Saturday before Christmas
4. Nov. 28 – Saturday after Thanksgiving
5. Dec. 5 – Saturday after Cyber Monday / First Saturday in December
6. Dec. 20 – Sunday before Christmas
7. Dec. 13 – Second Sunday before Christmas
8. Dec. 21 – Monday before Christmas
9. Nov. 21 – Saturday before Thanksgiving
10. Dec. 26 – Day after Christmas

"While our rankings illustrate the most impactful days of the holiday season, it's important that retailers don't lose sight of the other days," Kearns added. "As we saw in 2014, a significant portion of sales are generated throughout the entire holiday season, and it's vital that retailers optimize operations and marketing in order to make the most of each and every day."

Get more holiday sales data at Shoppertrak.com.

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FINANCE

The Fresh Market explores bid for company

BY Gina Acosta

Just a few weeks after installing a new CEO, the Fresh Market is planning to conduct a strategic review that may include a sale of the specialty grocery chain.

The company says it has retained J.P. Morgan Securities as its financial advisor to assist in this process, which may result in the company continuing to pursue value-enhancing initiatives as a standalone company, capital structure optimization, or a sale of the company or other business combination.

Rich Noll, the company's lead independent director, said: "The company recently announced the appointment of Rick Anicetti, a seasoned leader with significant experience and success operating grocery businesses in highly competitive environments, as president and CEO. Since joining the company, Rick and his team have been working to identify and execute on opportunities to improve the company's sales growth and to drive operational efficiencies. The board of directors has determined, consistent with its obligations to the company and its stockholders and together with the work being done by management, that it is also prudent to conduct a strategic and financial review of the business focusing on the company's and its stockholders' best interests."

The Fresh Market has struggled with declining same store sales due to an outdated business model and ever-increasing competition in the grocery space. Its main competitors in the specialty grocery business are Sprouts, Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s.

The company operates 178 stores in 27 states across the United States.

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