Wal-Mart to Exit South Korea
New York City, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said South Korea’s Shinsegae Co. agreed to buy Wal-Mart’s South Korean retail business for 825 billion won, or $882 million. Shinsegae said plans to operate Wal-Mart Korea as a separate subsidiary and the stores will be renamed E-Mart, the name of its discount chain that accounts for about 30% of the local discount store market. “As we continue to focus our efforts where we can have the greatest impact on our growth strategy, it became increasingly clear that in South Korea’s current environment it would be difficult for us to reach the scale we desired,” Mike Duke, VP of Wal-Mart, said in a statement.
Survey: Fluctuating Gas Prices Increasingly Impact Consumer Spending
Washington, D.C., The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2006 Gas Prices Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey from BIGresearch reported 76.0% of consumers believe fluctuating gas prices impacted their spending habits, up from 67.2% in 2005 and 56.8% in 2004. While consumers seemed resilient in the face of higher energy costs, a tipping point may soon be in sight. This could reduce flexible spending and cause the economy to lose much of the steam built up over the last two years.
Report: Retailers Should Up Hip Factor on Web to Attract Young Shoppers
Boston, Anew report from Forrester Research showed retail marketers should up their hip factor on the Web in order to lure and keep the next generation of spenders. “The 73 million people under the age of 18 in the United States represent one thing to marketers and sellers: the next generation of spenders,” Forrester analyst Carrie A. Johnson said in a statement. “But those marketers are more ‘American Bandstand’ than ‘American Idol,’ making it hard to understand this connected, gadget-grabbing group.” Forrester said young shoppers are on line looking for computer hardware, software, music, DVDs and books, yet only a small percentage of teens shop on line for apparel and accessories, linens and home decor, and footwear.
Young shoppers break into two distinct age groups—under 18 and 18 to 21 years old. While the over 18 crowd has more money to spend, $193 a month compared to $76, both market segments have one thing in common. “[Young shoppers are] always on line,” Forrester reported. “The majority of both groups have broadband at home and go on line daily. The on-line behavior of older teens illustrates that this is a generation that has hardly known life without the Web.” The report also said that the majority of all teens also seek out social content and shopping tools like consumer ratings on Shopzilla and Shopping.com and reviews and peer-to-peer sales channels like eBay and Craigslist. “Just as teens bring along friends to the mall, they find ways to incorporate their friends into on-line research,” the report said. “They use tools like ‘e-mail a friend’ links on retail sites, wish lists, and use instant messaging when shopping to get purchasing help from friends,” Johnson added.