FINANCE

True Value earnings drop on rising sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – True Value Company reported declining earnings in the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013 even as sales moderately increased compared to the same periods a year earlier. The retailer posted quarterly earnings of $12.5 million, a decrease of 57% from $29.1 million for the same period a year ago.

For the full fiscal year, True Value posted earnings of $55.3 million, a decrease of 26.2% from $74.9 million for the same period a year ago. True Value said the profit decrease was primarily driven by a 2012 fourth quarter litigation settlement gain of an ongoing matter.

Fourth quarter revenue was $340.7 million, up 0.2% from $340 million. Full year revenue was $1.41 billion, a 1% increase from about $1.4 billion. Same-store sales improved 2.1% during the fiscal year.

"We ramped things up in late summer, right through December, and I’m pleased to report we ended the year with increases in gross billings, revenue and comparable store sales," said president and CEO John Hartmann. "Our largest increase in both retail and wholesale comp store sales was in the farm, ranch, auto & pet product category. This category was up at wholesale 11.2%."

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Hispanic consumers more likely to use mobile for local shopping sources

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chantilly, Va. — Hispanic consumers are outpacing non-Hispanics in their adoption of mobile, social and online sources for local shopping. According to BIA/Kelsey’s Consumer Commerce Monitor study, nearly a quarter (23.6%) of Hispanic consumers reported they use tablets for local shopping, compared with 15.5% of non-Hispanics. And nearly half (48.5%) of Hispanic consumers use mobile devices for local shopping, compared with 32% of non-Hispanics. Among mobile Hispanic consumers, 52.5% report using their tablets and 42.5% report using their smartphones daily for local shopping.

When using social media for local shopping, Hispanic consumers index higher than non-Hispanics on all social media networks, except Facebook, with 61% of Hispanics and 67 of non-Hispanics reporting they use Facebook for local shopping. Other social networks used for local shopping include:

• YouTube: 17.7% by Hispanics; 10.3% by non-Hispanics
• Yahoo: 16.8% by Hispanics; 16.4% by non-Hispanics
• Google+: 11.9% by Hispanics; 10.8% by non-Hispanics
• Twitter: 11.1% by Hispanics; 6.7% by non-Hispanics

Despite their heavy social media use, 83.2% of Hispanic consumers list family and friends as their most trustworthy source for local shopping information. "How the Hispanic consumer shops will affect how a local business advertises and builds loyalty with this community," said Celine Matthiessen, VP analysis and insights, BIA/Kelsey.

"An integrated social, mobile and loyalty strategy will be a necessity to attract this demographic, as Hispanic consumers are very loyal to local businesses. Hispanic respondents to the CCM study reported that they supported an average of six businesses by becoming a fan or follower or liking a local business."

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News

Mastercard, Syniverse partner on mobile payment services for travelers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Purchase, N.Y. – MasterCard and Syniverse are partnering to deliver a number of mobile and payment services for consumers to use when traveling abroad. The two companies are currently in pilot-phase for an opt-in service that will enable card transactions for users only when they have their mobile device switched on in a specific geolocation abroad.

This service aims to reduce consumers’ frustrations associated with having their payment cards used without their knowledge or having their own transactions unnecessarily declined when trying to make purchases in another country. Financial institutions will also have an additional tool that will help them make more effective decisions when approving or declining a transaction on behalf of their customers.

In addition, mobile users could also have a choice of prepaid data packages that they can purchase directly from their phones when they arrive in their destination country. In the future, brands could implement targeted offers, which will be made more relevant by knowing the location of a mobile device, for example in close proximity to a retail store.

“This collaboration of two global technology leaders opens up a whole new range of possibilities for end users, ensuring a seamless payment and mobile experience,” said Hany Fam, president, global strategic alliances, MasterCard. “By leveraging the speed and intelligence of our global network and combining it with geolocation solutions, we are enabling your MasterCard to uniquely work where you and your phone are, anywhere in the world.”

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