BREAKING NEWS

Cyber Monday breaks online record — so does mobile

BY Marianne Wilson

It’s official:  Cyber Monday was the largest online shopping day in history, with sales totaling $6.59 billion, up from $5.6 billion last year.

Sales rose 16.8% over last year, according to data from Adobe.  In comparison, Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day brought in $5.03 billion and $2.87 billion in revenue, respectively.

Mobile set a new record, recording its first $2 billion day. Smartphones accounted for 37.6% of retail visits and 21.3% of revenue. Tablets accounted for 8.2% of retail visits and 9.1% of revenue.

“This year, mobile shopping was dominant both in the morning and afternoon, and desktop only staged a comeback in the evening when people were home,” said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights. “Smartphones have become the de facto device for mobile shopping, while tablets continue to be more used as entertainment and gaming devices.

Top sellers on Cyber Monday include the Nintendo Switch, PJ Masks and Hatchimals & Colleggtibles figurines, Apple AirPods, streaming devices like Google Chromecast and Roku, and Super Mario Odyssey, the video game. The holiday shopping season so far (November 1 to 27) drove a total of $50 billion in online revenue, a 16.8% increase over last year. Adobe predicts this will be the first-ever holiday season to break $100 billion in online sales.

Additional findings include:
Top retail promotion drivers: Search drove the majority of online sales on Cyber Monday at 41.7% (paid search at 22.9%, organic search at 18.8%). Direct traffic and email drove 24.8% and 24.9%, respectively.

Record Thanksgiving week online sales: November 23 through 26 totaled $13.03 billion, up 14.4% over last year. Thanksgiving Day spend totaled $2.87 billion (up 18.3%) while Black Friday hit $5.03 billion (up 16.9%). Thanksgiving weekend (November 25 and 26) saw $5.12 billion in revenue. Online spend surpassed at least $1 billion every day in the lead up to Thanksgiving.

Full holiday season online sales: For the rest of the season, 13 days are projected to exceed $2 billion in online sales, bringing the total to 18 $2 billion days this holiday season, over double the number from last year.

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BREAKING NEWS

Walmart’s online sales explode; lifts profit outlook on strong third quarter

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is heading into the crucial holiday season on fire, with the chain posting a 50% increase in online sales in its third quarter and topping the Street’s profit, revenue and comp sales estimates.

The retail giant’s total revenue rose 4.2% to $123.18 billion in the quarter, versus estimates of $121 billion. Net sales at Walmart’s U.S. operations totaled $77.724 billion, up from $74.550 billion in the prior-year period. Net sales at Walmart International rose 4.1% to $29.5 billion, with 10 of its 11 eleven markets posting positive comp sales.

Same-store sales for U.S. stores, excluding fuel, rose 2.7%, compared with an anticipated increase of 1.8%. It was Walmart’s 13th consecutive quarterly increase. Comp traffic was up 1.5%.

Walmart reported net income of $1.75 billion, or 58 cents a share, which included a $283 million charge to account for a likely fine related to an ongoing Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violation investigation. Excluding that charge and other one-time costs, Walmart earned $1 a share, topping Wall Street estimates of 97 cents per share.

Industry experts said that Walmart’s strong quarterly performance show that its heavy investments in digital and store enhancements, along with heavy discounting, are paying off.

“Today’s results show that Walmart is a retailer on the front foot,” commented Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “Admittedly, the investments it is making in price and e-commerce are taking their toll on the bottom line, but they are also positioning the company for significant future success.”

Walmart raised its full-year earnings expectations as it heads into the holiday season. It now forecasts adjusted earnings per share ranging from $4.38 to $4.46 in fiscal 2018. It previously expected earning $4.30 to $4.40 a share.

“We have momentum and it’s encouraging to see customers responding to our store and e-commerce initiatives,” stated Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon. “Existing customers have become advocates for popular initiatives like online grocery and free two-day shipping, and as a result, new customers, suppliers and partnerships are coming to Walmart.”

Last week, Walmart announced a partnership with Lord & Taylor, that will see Walmart launch an online “flagship store” on Walmart.com that will offer premium fashion brands directly from the department store retailer. The discounter is also is building relationships with premium brands, including Bose and KitchenAid.

“Walmart’s longer-term aim is clear: It wants to become the go-to online destination for both every day and specialty items,” said Saunders. “The push into higher-end products should also help to bolster online margins.”

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BREAKING NEWS

Walgreens to close 600 stores following Rite Aid buy

BY Marianne Wilson

Walgreens Boots Alliance expects to shutter about 600 stores in the wake of its purchase of 1,932 stores from rival Rite Aid.

The closings will start next year and take place over 18 months, Walgreens CFO George Fairweather said on the chain’s quarterly earnings call. The stores marked for closing will mostly be Rite Aid locations. The retailer expects to close stores within a mile of another Walgreens or Rite Aid location.

In September, Walgreens won regulatory approval to buy 1,932 stores and three distribution centers from Rite Aid for $4.38 billion.

In its quarterly earnings report released Wednesday, Walgreens said the first few Rite Aid locations have been acquired in the past week. Ownership of the remaining stores is expected to be transferred in phases and be completed by spring 2018.

Walgreens expects to complete the integration of the acquired stores and related assets within the next three years for an estimated cost of approximately $750 million, which will be reported as acquisition-related costs. The company also plans to spend approximately $500 million of capital on store conversions and related activities.

For its fourth quarter ended Aug.31, Walgreens’ earnings dropped 22% to $802 million. Earnings were impacted by more than $300 million in termination fees and costs related to the company’s decision to call off it acquisition of Rite Aid. Excluding one-time items, Walgreens reported adjusted earnings of $1.31 per share. Analysts expected earnings of $1.22 per share.

Total revenue rose 5.3% to a better-tjan-expected $30.15 billion. Same-store sales rose 3%. Sales in Walgreens’ U.S. retail pharmacy division’s sales rose 7.5% to $22.3 billion; same-store rose 3.1%.

Pharmacy sales, which made up 72.1% of the division’s sales in the quarter, increased 12.6%, primarily due to higher prescription volumes and its new combined specialty pharmacy and mail services company, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime. Retail sales fell 3.9%, with same-store sales down 2.1%.

For commentary on Walgreens results, click here.

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M.Cooper says:
Oct-31-2017 08:56 am

The previous comment was posted by M Cooper Sr. retired.

M.Cooper says:
Oct-31-2017 08:53 am

Has the FTC and Walgreens thought or cared about the approximate 1200 Pharmacists, 600 Managers or 3000 hourly that will be without a job? I know that Walgreens will take this opportunity to upgrade positions however end result is lost jobs.

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