News

A Valentine’s Day alternative

BY CSA STAFF

What could be more romantic than a quiet night at home, snuggling on the couch, while watching a sentimental movie with your significant other? Dinner at a fancy restaurant, jewelry and a dozen roses come to mind, however with those option off the table for cash-strapped consumers, Target this week offered a viable alternative in the form of a promotion called, “the new movie night.”

That headline is featured on the cover of the retailer’s most recent circular along with a couple watching a “chick flick,” as suggested by the box of Kleenex brand tissues held by a male model who is rolling his eyes as his girlfriend or wife glances at him. Featured products included microwave popcorn, candy, carbonated beverages, frozen pizza and select DVDs for $10.

The ad creates a new romantic possibility for Target customers to consider, as spending on traditional Valentines Day merchandise this year is expected to decline to a per person average of $102 compared to nearly $123 last year, according to survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation. Total Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.7 billion.

“While some Americans will forego a gift and opt for quality time at home instead, others will simply set budgets and fixed amounts when exchanging presents,” said Phil Rist, EVP strategic initiatives at BIGresearch, the firm that conducts consumer surveys for NRF. “Valentine’s Day this year will be more about small tokens of affection rather than extravagant purchases.”

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FINANCE

Retail Container Traffic Marks Lowest Level in Four Years

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. Year-over-year cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports fell for the 17th straight month in December, completing the slowest year since 2004 as the U.S. economic downturn continued, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released on Thursday by the National Retail Federation and IHS Global Insight.

Volume for the year was estimated at 15.3 million 20-ft.-equivalent units, compared with 16.5 million TEU in 2007. That would be a decline of 7.1% and the lowest total since 2004, when 14 million TEU moved through the ports.

One TEU is one 20-ft. container or its equivalent.

“Two thousand eight was a slow year for the ports for the simple reason that it was a slow year for retail sales,” said Jonathan Gold, VP, supply chain and customs policy, NRF. “We don’t expect a significant increase in traffic at the ports until retail sales return to normal levels, and even then retailers will be careful not to over-stock.”

U.S. ports surveyed handled 1.23 million TEU in November, the last month for which actual numbers are available. That was down 10.3% from the 2008 peak of 1.37 million TEU set in October and down 11.8% from Nov. 2007.

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News

Destination Maternity to open more Motherhood Maternity shops at Babies’R’Us stores

BY CSA STAFF

PHILADELPHIA Destination Maternity announced that it is doubling the number of Motherhood Maternity apparel shops at Babies”R”Us, the nation’s. An additional 69 shops are opening in Babies”R”Us stores, bringing the total in-store shops to 138.

Destination Maternity has operated maternity apparel shops in select Babies”R”Us stores since 1999.

Ed Krell, CEO of Destination Maternity, commented, “We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with Babies”R”Us. Babies”R”Us is the one-stop shopping destination for new and expectant parents, and Destination Maternity is the authority on maternity apparel – the expansion of our partnership is a win-win for our respective companies and for expecting moms and their growing families!”

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