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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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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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ShopperTrak weighs in with BTS outlook

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — Retail sales and traffic will increase during the back-to-school season, reflecting a recovering economy, according to ShopperTrak, the world’s largest counter and analyzer of retail traffic.

The company found that national retail sales, when compared to the same period last year, will rise 4.3% in August, and retail foot traffic will increase 0.6%.

“Back-to-school shopping is the first major ‘shopping season’ of the calendar year, and has the potential to set the tone for the holidays,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “The economy is, in many ways, stronger than it was last August. We expect that the 2013 season will continue the growth trend of both retail sales and foot traffic.”

In 2012, back-to-school sales increased 5.9% compared to the previous year. In 2011, those sales increased 4.5% over 2010.

Likewise, while this year’s retail foot traffic increase may seem incremental, it continues the positive trend. In 2012, foot traffic turned around and increased a substantial 11%, compared to the back-to-school traffic in 2011. That year, foot traffic declined 5.1% from 2010.

The expected increases in August reflect the U.S. economy’s slow but steady gains. For instance, unemployment this year is lower than it was during last year’s back-to-school time. Though consumer sentiment does not impact retail sales immediately, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index recently reached its highest level since the beginning of the recession. The last time consumer sentiment was as high as it was in May 2013 was in Sept. 2007.

In recent years, back-to-school shoppers had focused on stores with the best values. But with this positive consumer sentiment, shoppers may be more willing to “shop around” at more stores — not just the value locations — thus adding to the increased foot traffic and sales.

“On the whole, more people feel better about their financial situation than they did last year in August,” said Martin. “Parents are ready to spend on their children’s school necessities. The consumers will be browsing. In order to seize this opportunity, smart retailers must prepare their marketing and operations to increase their foot traffic, sales and ultimately, their shopper conversion rates.”

ShopperTrak measures foot traffic in more than 60,000 global locations and analyzes the data in a proprietary, econometric model to create its ShopperTrak National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) of general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other sales (GAFO).

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