FINANCE

Wal-Mart to give store data to Nielsen

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Wal-Mart Stores said its Walmart and Sam’s Club divisions will now report their U.S. sales data to Nielsen Holdings, which will become the retailer’s primary provider for market information, tools and training, the companies said in a joint announcement on Thursday.

Nielsen gathers and analyzes sales information from a variety of U.S. chain stores, giving manufacturers, Wall Street analysts and others a glimpse at how products are selling.

Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores had not provided its information in more than a decade, which meant that Nielsen’s widely used metrics were missing the country’s largest retailer in terms of revenue.

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FINANCE

ShopperTrak: Expect fewer back-to-school shoppers, bigger tickets

BY Staff Writer

Chicago — A report released Thursday by ShopperTrak found that retailers should expect fewer shoppers this back-to-school season, but average tickets are anticipated to be larger.

According to ShopperTrak, national retail sales, when compared with the same period last year, will rise 3.8% in August, while foot traffic will decrease 2.9%.

ShopperTrak measures foot-traffic in more than 25,000 stores in the United States and analyzes the data in a proprietary econometric model to create its National Retail Sales Estimate of general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other sales (GAFO).

U.S. retail spending has been positive since February 2010, and ShopperTrak’s back-to-school sales increase prediction follows 17 consecutive months of year-over-year growth, according to previous ShopperTrak NRSE reports. Because gas prices are 30% higher this summer than last, however, ShopperTrak expects foot-traffic to drop by 2.9%. In 2010, the back-to-school season saw a 0.5% decline in foot-traffic compared with 2009. The forecasted numbers may drop further, said ShopperTrak, if Congress fails to act on the U.S. debt ceiling and nervous Americans decide to cut their spending.

“With back-to-school shoppers planning fewer trips to the store — and continued economic certainty — retailers must maximize the limited number of opportunities to convert browsers to buyers,” said ShopperTrak co-founder, Bill Martin. “Tracking daily foot traffic and understanding store traffic patterns will equip retailers with meaningful business intelligence to ensure the best possible in-store experience for the customer and the maximum shopper conversion rate for the store.”

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OPERATIONS

Neiman Marcus hires new HR chief

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — A Wednesday report in the Dallas Business Journal said that Neiman Marcus has hired a new chief human resources officer.

Sandra Brooslin-Viviano joined the company on July 18 as senior VP human resources, succeeding the newly retired Maritea O’Dea.

Brooslin-Viviano, 55, was previously executive VP human resources for New York and Co.

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