OPERATIONS

Target’s holiday plans include new price match and more in-store digital capabilities

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Target announced that, for the first time ever, it will offer shoppers the ability to match select online competitors’ prices in its stores between Nov. 1 and Dec. 16. Qualifying online retailers include Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com and Toysrus.com.

Additionally, Target is also extending its in-store digital capabilities for the holiday season, has extended the timeframe for its price match policy for the holiday season, and new this year, the policy includes Target.com. If a guest purchases a qualifying item at Target stores between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, and then finds it for less at Target.com or in a local competitor’s printed ad, Target will match that price.

Target is also extending its in-store digital capabilities for the holiday season. Customers can shop from television spots, bus shelter ads and catalog pages by using their mobile phones to send a text or scan a QR code. Target’s “shoppable” holiday advertising begins Nov. 7.

Also, free WiFi is now available in all Target stores. The service will provide better access to Target’s mobile app, and enable guests to redeem Target mobile coupons and scan QR codes throughout the store.

QR codes will be displayed alongside each of Target’s top toys, allowing guests to purchase this year’s 20 hottest toys from their mobile phones and have them shipped for free to anyone, anywhere in the U.S. QR codes are also now found in the shoe section at Target stores, giving guests another opportunity to easily purchase the shoes they love in the right size and color.

Target is also piloting wayfinding technology in a small number of stores, including all new CityTarget locations, where guests’ smartphones can recognize their location in a Target store and help guide them to products.

In another holiday extra, shoppers with Target-branded debit and credit cards will receive an extra 30 days on the retailer’s existing return policy on nearly all purchases paid with the card at stores and online.

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FINANCE

NRF survey details holiday spending plans

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Most consumers will take a conservative approach with their holiday gift-giving budgets, according to NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight. The average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, up slightly from the $740.57 they spent last year. NRF forecasts that holiday sales will increase 4.1% to $586.1 billion.

According to the survey, consumers will spend a considerable amount of time in stores and online this year looking for the best deal. Nearly two-thirds (65.3%) will shop at discount stores and more than half (57.8%) will shop at department stores. Clothing stores (36.2%), electronics stores (31.8%) and specialty stores (16.7%) will be popular with holiday shoppers as well. Grocery stores will also see increased foot traffic – 51.8% will shop at a grocery store for holiday items, up from 48.8% last year.

In other survey findings:

  • Setting a new high, 51.8% will shop online for gifts and other items this holiday season, up from 46.7% last year. The average person will complete about 38.8% of their shopping on retailers’ and other companies websites, another survey high.
  • More than half (52.9%) of those who own smartphones and nearly two-thirds (64.1%) of those who own tablets plan to use their devices to research and purchase holiday gifts, décor, food items, and more.
  • Specifically, 32.9% of smartphone owners will research products and compare prices with their handheld, and another 24.9% will use their phone to look up retailer information, such as store location, hours and directions. Nearly two in 10 (17.6%) will use apps to research or purchase products and 15.0% plan to purchase items.
  • Tablet owners are even more likely to use their tablet to aid in their holiday purchases. Four in 10 (44.2%) will research products or compare prices, 19.8% will redeem coupons and 27.6% will look up a retailer’s location and/or store hours. Three in 10 (30.0%) will actually make a purchase with their tablet.
  • Gift cards top holiday wish lists: 59.8% of those polled say they’d like to receive gift cards this year, up from 57.7% last year and the most in the survey’s history. Half (49.1%) say they would like clothing, 45.7%said books, CD, DVDs, videos, or video games, and more than one-third (35.8%) are requesting electronics or computer-related accessories. Nearly one-quarter (24.0%) want jewelry, the most seen since 2008.
  • According to the survey, the biggest portion of shoppers’ budget this year will go towards gifts for family members with the average person planning to spend $421.82 on children, parents, aunt, uncles and more. Additionally, people will spend $75.13 on friends, $23.48 on co-workers and $28.13 on others, such as pets and community members. Consumers will also spend on food and candy ($100.76), greeting cards ($28.66) and flowers ($19.55.) When it comes to decorations, the average person will spend $51.99, up from $49.15 last year and the most in the survey’s history. Total spending on holiday décor will reach $6.9 billion.
  • Consistent with results seen the past 10 years, 41.4% of Americans say they will begin holiday shopping before Halloween. And 22.1% say they will begin in October, up from 20.3% last year. Another 39.0% will begin in November, 16.2% will begin in first two weeks of December and 3.5% will wait until the very last minute and shop in the last two weeks of December.
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STORE SPACES

Corner Bakery Café announces expansion plans

BY Marianne Wilson

Dallas — Corner Bakery Café has announced expansion plans for Portland, Ore., Minneapolis-St. Paul and Orlando, Fla.

The targeted expansion calls for 18 new locations in Minneapolis-St. Paul, 18 in Orlando and 11 in Portland. Corner Bakery Cafe is currently evaluating potential franchisees for each market.

"These markets are a perfect for Corner Bakery Cafe,” said Jonathan Benjamin, VP franchising, Corner Bakery Cafe. “Each is known for their strong neighborhoods and with our neighborhood approach to development, we expect each new restaurant to quickly become a favorite gathering place for local families and friends.

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