FINANCE

Walmart leads an increasingly promotional retail pack

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Retailer promotion activity continued to grow with a 21.6% increase to more than 11.3 billion pages in the first half of 2013, with Walmart leading in retailer activity, according to Kantar Media’s Marx report. Following on Walmart’s heels were Walgreens, Target and Family Dollar.

Seven of the top 20 retailers more than doubled their pages circulated in the first half of 2013. Walmart increased its pages circulated by 40.3% to 3.6 billion pages. Family Dollar had the largest actual decline in pages circulated among the top ten, down 37.1% in the first half of 2013.

“[Freestanding Inserts], which reach an average of more than 70 million households on a specific Sunday, remain a significant advertising vehicle for both manufacturers and retailers to influence consumer behavior,” said David Hamric, general manager, Marx. FSI coupon activity increased 3.3% based on coupons dropped during the first six months of 2013 versus the same time period a year ago.

During the first half of 2013, more than $247 billion in consumer incentives were delivered via FSI coupons in Sunday newspapers, up 8.8% from the same period in 2012. During the same six-month period, more than 153 billion coupons were distributed within more than 112 billion FSI pages.

FSI coupon average face value increased 5.3% to $1.61 for the first half of 2013. Average expiration dropped to 7.1 weeks, down 5% versus a year ago.

In the first half of 2013, non-food categories distributed more than 96.1 billion coupons, up 4.7% versus the same time period in 2012, while food categories distributed 57.2 billion coupons, an increase of 1.4%.

Rounding out the top 10 in first-half promotional activity were Safeway, CVS Pharmacy, Dollar General, PetSmart, Vons and Kroger.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

W.P. Carey acquires H&M DC in Poland for $85 million

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Real estate investment trust W.P. Carey has acquired a Hennes & Mauritz logistics center in Poznan, Poland.

W.P. Carey, through one of its affiliates, purchased the 896,911-sq.-ft. facility for $85 million.

The center, which supplies all of H&M’s Eastern European stores as well as serves as its primary European e-commerce logistics hub, will be leased back to H&M.

“We were attracted to the long-term income provided by the lease, the strong guarantee of H&M and the high quality of the property," said Jeffrey Lefleur, managing director of W. P. Carey.

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OPERATIONS

Office Depot rolls out omni-channel initiatives

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Boca Raton, Fla. — As part of its plan to support a customer-focused omni-channel experience, Office Depot said that, effective July 28, its associates will be enabled with mobile hand-held devices across all stores to provide instant access to extended product information, availability, customer reviews and on-the-spot checkout from anywhere in the store.

Designed to launch in tandem with the back-to-school push, the mobile technology will also allow associates to order out-of-stock items from Officedepot.com (with free shipping) via their mobile devices.

The office supply retailer is also rolling out in-store touch-screen kiosks and workstations to allow customers to research the full assortment of items available at Office Depot and order for delivery. Consumers can also download the Office Depot App to scan any barcode in-store to read reviews and additional product details, or use the company’s free Wi-Fi service in-store.

“Technology is constantly changing the way people shop,” said Christine Buscarino, VP customer experience, Office Depot. “We are continuing to refresh our services and our omni-channel offerings to ensure customers get what they need, when they need it. It’s about shopping for and receiving products at a time and in a way that is most convenient.”

Additionally, Office Depot has introduced a “Buy Online, Ready in One-Hour” program, which allows customers to purchase online and pick up at a store in one hour.

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