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Study: A majority of millennials shop online for groceries

BY CSA STAFF

When it comes to shopping for groceries, millennials are apparently no fan of supermarkets.

Nearly two-thirds of millennials shop online weekly for groceries, and this demographic has the potential to transform the retail grocery business, according to new research released by Clavis Insight.

Health and wellness products are what millennials purchase most, with 69% shopping in this category at least once a month. Millennials also frequent the pet category, with 25% of those surveyed making a weekly purchase in this category, according to the research.

Conversely, the 55-plus demographic is much less likely to shop online for personal care and beauty items, with only 54% saying they did so in the past month compared to 91% of Millennials.

Clavis Insight also found that more than four-in-10 millennials use a mobile device as their primary shopping device, indicating that online grocers “need to ensure that they have their sites optimized for mobile shopping.

Other insights from the Clavis Insight study were:

69% of Millennials use smartphones to research products while in brick-and-mortar locations. 67% of shoppers are checking the price, 25% are checking ratings and reviews, and 9% are looking for more information about the product.

Older generations are slow to catch on to mobile shopping, as only 28% of 35-54 year olds and 18% of 55+ year olds using a mobile device as their primary shopping device.

Of those surveyed, fresh groceries and household products were the most popular online categories shopped for in the past month, with almost 90% each. However, when it comes to an actual purchase, clothing (70%) and electronics (52%) were the most purchased categories.

84% of those aged 35-54 shop online for groceries at least once a month, with 72% shopping on a desktop or laptop. Pets (34%), household items (34%) and health/wellness (39%) were the most researched categories among this age group.

Cost was the number one driver for online purchases- showing that shoppers value online as a cost-effective alternative to in-store shopping. Convenience and need were also significant drivers for online purchases.

Clavis Insight analyzed online shopping habits of 500 U.S. consumers, looking at frequency, preferred method of shopping and key performance indicators critical to driving online purchases.

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Early Internet sensation goes private

BY Marianne Wilson

The $500 million sale of online diamond and jewelry retailer Blue Nile has been completed.

The company was acquired by an investor group comprised of Bain Capital Private Equity, Bow Street and Adama Partners for $40.75 per share in cash. The transaction, first announced on Nov. 7, 2016, was approved by shareholders on Feb.2, 2017.

Founded online in 1999, Blue Nile is credited with disrupting the diamond and engagement ring market, simplifying and bringing transparency to the buying process. It features some 200,000 diamonds that can be matched with over 200 settings and is the largest online seller of diamonds.

In June 2015, the company opened its first brick-and-mortar outpost (knows as a Webroom), in Garden City, New York. It has since opened an additional four locations.

"Blue Nile has disrupted and transformed the way consumers shop for and purchase diamonds and fine jewelry by creating price transparency while simultaneously providing value to suppliers," said Blue Nile chairman, CEO and president Harvey Kanter. "As we enter the next phase of growth, Blue Nile will continue to expand our vision and focus on putting the customer first by reaching them the way they prefer to shop whether it’s a computer, mobile device, or in one of our Webrooms.”

With the transaction completed, trading in Blue Nile’s common stock on the NASDAQ will be suspended effective Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

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VF Corp. sales slip in Q4

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

An inconsistent U.S. marketplace and the sale of one of its business units contributed to lower fourth quarter sales for VF Corp.

The company, whose brands include The North Face and Timberland, reported that its net sales fell 0.1% to of $3.2 billion, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016.

Total revenue came in at $3.3 billion, down 0.2%.

On August 26, 2016, the company completed the sale of its Contemporary Brands businesses, which included the 7 For All Mankind, Splendid and Ella Moss brands. The company’s net loss from these discontinued operations was $98 million in 2016, which includes both the loss on the sale of the Contemporary Brands businesses and the operating results of the businesses.

International revenue in the fourth quarter was up 5%, and represented 34% of total VF’s fourth quarter sales, compared to 33% in the same period last year.

Direct-to-consumer revenue was also up 11% in the fourth quarter, driven by a mid-teen increase in both the outdoor and action sports and international divisions, VF said.

The company’s e-commerce business continued its strong momentum with 21% revenue growth during the quarter. Overall, direct-to-consumer revenue reached 37% of total fourth quarter revenue compared with 33% for the same period last year.

There were 1,507 VF-owned retail stores at the end of the quarter compared with 1,405 at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015.

Looking ahead, VF plans to place a stronger focus on the customer and meeting their needs — a move that the company expects will increase revenue for fiscal 2017, albeit at a low single-digit percentage rate. Similarly, VF expects international revenue to grow at a low single-digit per-centage rate.

Meanwhile, VF expects its direct-to-consumer revenue to remain strong, growing at a high single-digit percentage rate. This will include the addition of about 50 stores and mid-single-digit comparable sales growth, and an expected increase of approximately 25% in e-commerce revenue, the company said.

“The pace of change in both our industry and the broader consumer landscape is happening at an accelerated rate,” said Steve Rendle, president and CEO.

“The proliferation of technology and innovation across all aspects of our lives has shifted consumers’ shopping behaviors and elevated their expectations when engaging with our brands,” he said. “We are pivoting to become more agile and consumer centric to compete and win in this changing global marketplace.”

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