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Toys ‘R’ Us launches multichannel Special Olympics campaign

BY Dan Berthiaume

Wayne, N.J. – Toys “R” Us is launching a nationwide in-store and online awareness campaign encouraging its customers to support the athletes participating the Special Olympics. Starting Feb. 1, by texting "Cheer" to 80888, customers can make a $5 donation via their mobile device that will help Special Olympics athletes.

From Feb. 1 through March 31, signage in Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide will encourage customers to text "Cheer" to 80888 to make a $5 donation via their mobile device to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. Toys “R” Us has also developed a robust online experience at Toysrus.com/2014SpecialOlympics where visitors can "meet" young athletes from across the country via an interactive map and learn how the Young Athletes Program is helping kids achieve their personal goals.

"As we eagerly count down to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey, we’re proud to shine a spotlight on the future stars of Special Olympics, and cheer on those who will be competing this year," said Kathleen Waugh, chairman, Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund. "Toys “R” Us has a long history of supporting the special needs community, and through our text-to-donate campaign we are pleased to engage our customers in supporting Special Olympics as it reveals America’s current and future champions at this summer’s USA Games."

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Survey: Moms influenced by coupons

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – An overwhelming majority (89%) of moms are regularly influenced by coupons to try new food and drink products. Conducted by online community Womensforum.com, the "Womensforum.com Supermarket Moms Survey" of 2,200 moms also finds nearly half (49%) of grocery-seeking moms see it as a frequent occurrence.

When it comes to what kinds of foodstuffs end up in their carts, coupons prompted survey respondents to make more new product purchases down the snack food aisle (73%) than elsewhere in the store. But, the study shows that coupons still hold a great deal of sway beyond newfangled potato chips and pretzels, heavily inspiring moms to buy new products in other categories as well, including:

• Frozen food (72%)

• Cereal (62%)

• Beverages (57%)

• Dairy (55%)

• Breads/bakery (42%)

This balance shifts slightly depending upon the age of the mom in question, with those older than 50 more inclined to purchase a new frozen food item rather than a new snack food.

Pointing to parity between digital and print discovery among supermarket-shopping moms, nearly half of those surveyed (46%) said that they learned about these new grocery products though online advertising – the same number that said they were exposed to new food and drink products through traditional newspaper advertising.

Hometown supermarket circulars and word-of-mouth (65% versus 51%) are also deemed powerful tools for finding out about the latest products to hit the shelves. And, contributing to the impact of the latter, 33% said they heard about new food and beverage items through their social media circles.

Print media and supermarket circulars take the lead when it comes to finding coupons (78% versus 65%), but more than half of those surveyed (55%) say they often get coupons online, with nearly four-in-10 also uncovering them on food or frugal-living blogs that share cost-saving finds.

“The power of the coupon hasn’t faded in the digital era, but has taken on new life, as women search for savings across a range of channels," said Mark Kaufman, founder and CEO, Womensforum.com.

"Moms are tapping into a variety of sources in order to discover the latest and greatest products to put in their supermarket carts," added Kaufman. "Food and beverage marketers can only ignore digital at their peril, since it is clear that a healthy media mix is necessary in order to capture her attention, and ultimately win a coveted spot on her grocery shopping list."

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Full speed ahead for Tractor Supply in Q4

BY CSA STAFF

Tractor Supply Co., the nation’s largest farm-and-ranch retailer, reported big gains in sales and earnings for the fourth quarter and full year.

The company reported nets sales of $1.42 billion in the fourth quarter, up from $1.29 billion in the same quarter last year. Comparable-store sales increased 3.5%.

Net income for the quarter was $95.9 million, up from $79.5 million in the same quarter last year.

“We are very pleased with our strong fourth-quarter and full-year results,” said CEO Greg Sandfort. “The fourth quarter marked our 17th consecutive quarter of positive comparable-store sales and our 23rd consecutive quarter of positive comparable transaction counts. In recent years, we have grown our business effectively despite challenging economic environments and volatile weather trends. We believe our results are a function of the balanced approach we take to run our business, through managing sales, margins, expenses and capital investments.”

For the full year, net sales increased 10.7% to $5.16 billion, as comps increased 4.8%. Those results came during a fiscal year in which the company opened 102 new stores and closed two stores. It had opened 92 new stores in fiscal 2012.

Full-year net income surged 18.7% to $328.2 million.

Looking ahead, the company expects comp-store sales to increase in the range of 2.5% to 4% in fiscal 2014.

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