MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Walmart kicks off online holiday deals early

BY Marianne Wilson

San Bruno, Calif. — Walmart on Friday kicked off its online holiday deals, a month earlier than usual, and announced that it is offering free shipping on about 99% of its online items this year for orders over $50. (Last year, only about 15% of its assortment qualified for free shipping). The moves come as retailers get ready for what is expected to be an extremely competitive season, one marked by intense promotional activity. Retailers are also challenged by this year’s calendar: Thanksgiving falls late, on Nov. 28, resulting in six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas compared to last year.

The chain’s online sales event on November 1 features some 300 early-bird specials and includes items from JVC 42-inch LED televisions for $299 to Xelio 10.1-inch tablets for $49. According to the retailer, those are Walmart.com’s lowest prices in those categories.

Customers can learn about Walmart’s holiday deals through the season by signing up for the retailer’s emails, liking Walmart on Facebook on or downloading the mobile app.

"We know that our customers start shopping for the holidays on Nov. 1 because historically our traffic spikes the day after Halloween," said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com.


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News

FTC greenlights OfficeMax & Office Depot proposed merger

BY CSA STAFF

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has given Office Max and Office Depot clearance to proceed with their proposed merger. The companies anticipate completing the transaction after market close on Nov. 5, subject to the satisfaction of remaining closing conditions.

The companies announced their entry into a definitive merger agreement Feb. 20. The combined company, which would have had combined revenue for the 12 months ended June 29 of approximately $17 billion, will have significantly improved financial strength and flexibility, as well as the ability to deliver long-term operating performance and improvements through its increased competitiveness and cost synergies.

“We have been preparing for the integration for the past several months and are delighted that, with this key regulatory milestone now complete, we have taken another step in our path to becoming a combined company,” said Neil Austrian, chairman and CEO of Office Depot. “This merger represents a new beginning for Office Depot and OfficeMax — one that will enable us to create a stronger, more efficient global provider better able to compete in the dynamic and rapidly changing office solutions industry. We remain confident that the transaction will benefit our customers and shareholders for years to come, and will provide exciting new opportunities for associates as part of a global business.”

“We are very pleased to receive FTC clearance, which positions us to consummate this much-anticipated and transformative merger,” said Ravi Saligram, president and CEO of OfficeMax. “We are excited about the significant progress we have made in our integration planning, and to see the expertise and collaboration demonstrated by integration team members of both companies. Objective decisions aimed at identifying the best systems and processes for the combined company continue to be made at an appropriate pace. OfficeMax and Office Depot share a similar vision for the future, and will greatly benefit from drawing on the industry’s most talented people and combining our best practices. Our goal remains to ensure a smooth transition for all of our stakeholders and to begin capturing cost synergies as soon as possible after closing.”

Office Depot and OfficeMax each expect to announce third quarter earnings after market close Nov. 4.

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FINANCE

FTC approves Office Max-Office Depot deal

BY Marianne Wilson

Naperville, Ill. — The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has approved the merger of Office Max Inc. and Office Depot, the retailers said in a joint statement on Friday. The companies anticipate completing the transaction after market close on November 5, 2013.

The combined company, which would have had combined revenue for the 12 months ended June 29, 2013 of approximately $17 billion, will have significantly improved financial strength and flexibility, with the ability to deliver long-term operating performance and improvements through its increased competitiveness and cost synergies, the retailers said in the statement.

"This merger represents a new beginning for Office Depot and OfficeMax – one that will enable us to create a stronger, more efficient global provider better able to compete in the dynamic and rapidly changing office solutions industry said Neil Austrian, chairman and CEO of Office Depot. “We remain confident that the transaction will benefit our customers and shareholders for years to come, and will provide exciting new opportunities for associates as part of a global business."

Office Depot and OfficeMax each expect to announce third quarter earnings after market close on November 4, 2013.

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