Facebook gives users more ways to like retailers

Facebook, emoji, retail, retailing todayA new collection of five emojis created by Facebook gives users of the social media platform new ways to express themselves that could have huge implications for retailers.

Facebook has released “Reactions,” a set of five emoji that expand upon the “Like” button. The new emoji are small icons representing love, haha, wow, sad and angry. Users will be able to respond with the expanded set of emotions to all posts, including advertisers, pages and accounts. The emoji will not be placed in Facebook-owned social products such as Instagram, at least for the time being.

Reactions will work on both the mobile and desktop versions of Facebook. Mobile users will see the emoji pop up when they touch the Like button, while desktop users will see the emoji when they hover over the Like button or click on it. Interestingly, one emoji that was piloted, “yay,” did not make the final cut.

As reported in Retailing Today. Read the article here.

Walmart Closing Stores

Walmart said it will close 269 stores worldwide this year, including many of its smallest stores, in an unprecedented move CEO Doug McMillon characterized as being more disciplined about growth.

Plans call for the company to close 154 locations in the U.S., including the company’s 102 smallest format stores, Walmart Express, which had been in pilot since 2011. Walmart said it will focus on strengthening its large format supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets which average about 40,000-sq.-ft., growing the e-commerce business and expanding pickup services for customers. In terms of closures by format type, the company said the 154 U.S. locations consist of 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers and four Sam’s Clubs.

As reported in Retailing Today – Read the rest of the article

ICSC predicts a longer holiday shopping season based on consumer intentions


Source: Retailing Today

More Americans are planning holiday-related purchases this year than in 2014, and those who plan to shop will spend more over a longer period of time, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

The 2015 ICSC Consumer Forecast shows that 90% of Americans are planning holiday purchases this season, up from 82% last year. And overall, 80% of shoppers plan to spend the same or more this holiday season than they did in 2014. The ICSC outlook is based on consumer intentions, in contrast to NRF’s forecast and Deloitte’s projection, both of which called for lower holiday sales than last year.

ICSC is forecasting overall year-over-year growth of 3.3% in retail sales this holiday season (Nov.-Dec.). That pace would be significantly ahead of the average 10-year holiday sales growth of 1.8% and slightly ahead of the current yearly pace of 2.8%.


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What has Walmart worried

Ask six senior merchandising executives from Walmart and Sam’s Club what keeps them up at night and be prepared for an interesting collection of answers relating to key competitors and assorted challenges.

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BJ’s Buyout a Done Deal

After months of speculation, BJ’s Wholesale Club has entered a definitive agreement to be acquired by Leonard Green & Partners and CVC Capital Partners for an all-cash transaction valued at about $2.8 billion.

BJ’s board of directors unanimously approved the merger agreement — which is subject to approval of BJ’s shareholders, customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals — and recommends that all BJ’s shareholders vote in favor of the transaction.

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(as reported by RetailingToday.com)

Discounting Lifts June Sales

Most retailers surprised Wall Street with better-than-expected monthly sales results in June, as bargains led shoppers to spend more. June is the second most important month on a retailers’ sales calendar behind December. It is June that stores typically clear out summer merchandise to make room for fall goods.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 4.9% rise in June same-store sales, compared with a prior-year increase of 3.1%. Of those retailers who have reported, most are on pace to beat expectations. However, margins will likely show a squeeze as leading retailers were forced to offer deals to prompt spending, a trend that isn’t likely to abate as back-to-school season approaches.

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(As reported in RetailingToday.com)

Consumers Could Curtail Spending in Months Ahead

As reported by RetailingToday.com

Concern about rising energy prices and higher medical costs has many Americans expecting to spend less in the months ahead, a recent Deloitte study revealed. Despite showing no signs of spending less in recent months, the Deloitte survey found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans believe higher prices could slow their spending in the months ahead.  Deloitte’s study also revealed that mobile and social connections are helping shoppers make savvier buying decisions in the wake of the recession.

According to the survey, more than seven out of 10 (71%) respondents cite concerns about higher energy prices, up from 54%at this time last year, and nearly one-half (47%) point to higher medical costs. Additionally, 44% indicate political unrest in other countries as a factor that could cause them to lower their spending.

Walmart to open new hub in Atlanta

In an effort to manage more effectively the 1,600 stores it has in 20 eastern states, Walmart has announced the opening of a new office in Atlanta.  Rosalind Brewer has been appointed to run the new east division.  She currently is the president of Walmart East and the executive VP of Walmart U.S…(read more)

Online Sales Huge During Holiday Season

Online sales via “The Web” increased 13% to $31 billion, marking a record hike to the end of the holiday season. Consumers logged-on in astounding numbers, particularly buying products on Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday and on the Dec. 17th free shipping cut-off date. Online shopping trends should continue for the near future, but concrete predictions remain unclear…Read More

Dollar Tree completes acquisition of Canada’s Dollar Giant Store

Dollar Tree has announced its acquisition of the Canadian based Dollar Giant Store, LTD. Paying $52 million in cash, Dollar Tree will assume 86 Dollar Giant stores that along with them include all assets, inventory, leasehold rights and intellectual property. This is the company’s first expansion of its operations outside of the United States…Read More