Tag Archives: Retail

JCPenney is back – JCP is out

jcpenney

Early last February, JCPenney rolled out its “Fair and Square Everyday Pricing Plan”. It didn’t take long for push back from consumers, analysts, and just about everyone with an opinion, either. The primary complaints weren’t limited to the new pricing program, because in addition to price tag changes, the department store started radically changing floor-plans and reduced product selection in many locations. Couple that with the fact that consumers weren’t necessarily enthusiastic about shopping in general due to the economy, and it was a near disastrous combination for the corporation.

While JCPenney got at least a temporary reprieve from the Martha Stewart branding debacle with Macy’s, that doesn’t come close to undoing the damage by recently ousted CEO, Ron Johnson. They can console themselves at least a little that the dismissal cost them a paltry $148,924, but in all fairness (pun intended), that number should include the 25% losses in sales, and the 50% drop in stock values. Hindsight is 20/20, and one can only wonder now why JCPenney would think that Johnson could have helped to boost their sales the same way did with Apple stores. Comparing the two is like the proverbial comparison of “apples and oranges” – Apple products enjoy a base of loyal consumers that buy products simply because they are manufactured by the electronics giant. It’s also abundantly clear that it was huge mistake to give Johnson free reign to make changes to the department store’s brick and mortar operations at will. It’s been argued that he was fixing something that wasn’t broken, and should have been focusing on online sales.

So, to rectify all of this, JCPenney may very well be making another big mistake by bringing back former CEO, Myron Ullman. Nothing says a company has learned its lesson about past mistakes like bringing back someone that failed to address problems previously, even if that person could be considered the “lesser of two evils.” Yes, the colossal mistakes made by Johnson need to be rolled back, and it probably won’t hurt the bottom line at least temporarily, to appease consumers that were annoyed with the radical changes by assuring them that it will be going back to “business as usual.” But, if the future plans don’t include a sincere effort to compete in the online market, JCPenney can’t count on a long-term recovery. And that brings us to “the apology” ad campaign:

The transcript:

It’s no secret, recently JCPenney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn’t, but what matters from mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you. To hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful. Come back to JCPenney, we heard you. Now, we’d love to see you.

The commercial encourages consumers to visit the corporate Facebook page, to offer their feedback. A quick review of their interactions with the public isn’t particularly encouraging though. Visitor comments run hot and cold, with quite a few consumers making suggestions about the company returning to old practices. But, this is Facebook, and it’s likely that responses would be radically different on other social media sites. Many of the comments are from older consumers, and while they are important to consider, the reality of the situation is that building a marketing plan based on feedback from age-limited niche will be yet another disaster. Bluntly, particularly if catering to Baby Boomers, that is a recipe for short-term success followed by a precipitous drop and flat-line. It can’t be assumed that JCPenney will be smart enough to avoid this either, since they’ve opted to re-hire Ullman. Only time will tell where this all leads, but if the past is any indication, consumers will get one thing they tend to enjoy for at least a little while – going out of business sales.

Survey: More Than 40 Percent of Consumers Will Shop for Last-minute Holiday Gifts

More men than women to delay holiday shopping until January 2012

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 12, 2011 — Following a blowout Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping weekend, many consumers will continue to hit the stores through the final days leading up to Christmas, according to survey data from PriceGrabber®, a part of Experian. Results from PriceGrabber’s fourth winter holiday shopping survey reveal that 41 percent of consumers plan to shop between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24 for holiday gifts. This data comes on the heels of a successful Thanksgiving weekend for retailers, during which PriceGrabber experienced a 15 percent increase in site traffic compared to 2010. Conducted from Nov. 17 to Nov. 30, 2011, the survey includes responses from 13,472 U.S. online shopping consumers.

Many last-minute shoppers are hunting for bargains
When those consumers who plan to shop at the last minute were asked to select all of the reasons why, 43 percent said that they believe the best discounts can be found during this time period. Another 43 percent of consumers indicated that they are busy and unable to finish their shopping earlier, 26 percent admitted to procrastinating, 22 percent believe it is fun to do last-minute shopping, and 10 percent are waiting for a year-end work bonus to begin shopping.

“After observing the increase in activity and sales of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping season this year, we expect to see a significant percentage of consumers seeking to prompt retailers to offer additional savings throughout December,” commented Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. “Savvy shoppers saw retailers rolling out discounts as early as the week before Thanksgiving this year, and they are staying on top of last-minute incentives that are certainly on the horizon in the coming weeks.”

Consumers will buy a combination of high- and low-price-point items
When asked what type of gifts they plan to purchase at the last minute, 53 percent said they intend to purchase both big- and small-ticket items, 31 percent will buy only small-ticket items (under $100); 10 percent will purchase all of the holidays gifts on their list, and 6 percent will buy only big-ticket items (over$100).

More men will delay holiday shopping until January
While most consumers plan to complete their holiday shopping before Dec. 25, PriceGrabber’s survey found that 9 percent will wait until January to purchase holiday gifts. Men and women differed in their plans, with 11 percent of men saying they will wait until January to buy gifts and only 8 percent of women planning to do so.

When those consumers who will delay their holiday shopping until January were asked to select all of the reasons why, 68 percent said that they believe sale prices are best in January, 27 percent plan to use gift money received during the holiday period, 24 percent simply prefer shopping in January, and 11 percent plan to wait for a year-end work bonus to make purchases.

Daily deal sites begin to make mark on last-minute shoppers
According to PriceGrabber’s survey, a notable percentage of shoppers are turning to daily deal sites for great last-minute prices, with 27 percent indicating that they plan to shop for last-minute gifts on sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial.

Those consumers who plan to use daily deal sites will do so largely in hopes of finding a bargain.  Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated they are trying to save money on gifts and like the discounts available through daily deal sites; 22 percent enjoy the great holiday deals on local services in their area; 13 percent said they liked being able to share great deals with family and friends, especially during the holiday season; 4 percent prefer to give experiential gifts and believe local deal sites offer the best options; and 3 percent are intrigued by the hype around local deal sites.

Black Friday Weekend Retail Sales Increase 1.9 Percent, Foot-Traffic Down 1.8

CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2011  – Black Friday weekend is shifting to encompass days prior to the big shopping event, with stores seeing more foot-traffic beforehand.

According to ShopperTrak — the world’s largest provider of retail and mall foot-traffic counting services — more customers shopped the Sunday before Thanksgiving than the days following Black Friday. Both Black Saturday and Black Sunday showed year-over-year losses in retail sales and foot-traffic, which caused the entire Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) to realize a 1.9 percent sales increase and 1.8 percent decline in foot-traffic when compared to the same period last year. The week leading up to Black Friday (ending Nov. 26), however, saw a 4.4 percent increase in sales, when compared to the same week in 2010. Black Sunday (Nov. 27) also saw a 1.7 percent decrease in enclosed mall foot-traffic, compared to the previous Sunday (Nov. 20).

“Retailers offered door-busters and other pre-holiday specials earlier in the Thanksgiving week to ensure they had the best opportunity to capture value-conscious shoppers,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Our customers have access to real-time traffic information, and they succeeded in taking share earlier than they had in past years. As we’ve noted over the past few months, retailers who focus on converting shoppers into buyers with effective marketing, adequate staffing and a positive customer experience will be the most successful when the season ends.”

Day-by-day results

Black Friday sales increased 6.6 percent over the same day last year, representing $11.40 billion in retail purchases and the biggest dollar amount ever spent during the day. Retail foot-traffic rose by 5.1 percent over Black Friday 2010. Both sales and foot-traffic, however, declined as the weekend continued.  Compared to the same day in 2010, Black Saturday sales dropped 4 percent, and people counts declined 9.6 percent. Sales were slightly better on Black Sunday, dropping only 2 percent year-over-year, while foot-traffic dropped 8.7 percent over Black Sunday 2010.

“Black Friday is only one day in a 60-day holiday season cycle,” added Martin. “After a record-breaking day, consumers experienced some natural fatigue.  We believe retail sales and store foot-traffic will regain the momentum generated on Black Friday as we head into the prime time for holiday season shopping.”

ShopperTrak predicts five of the biggest shopping days of the season will occur in the week leading up to Christmas weekend: Dec. 17 (Super Saturday), Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. ShopperTrak also forecasts Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 26 as high sales days. Taken together, eight of the top 10 sales days of the year are yet to come.

Weekend performance across the country

When viewed by census regions, the West outperformed the rest of the nation with more foot-traffic and sales than any other region. The South also ranked high in sales, but, unlike the West, fewer Southern shoppers spent more per trip; the region ranked last in foot-traffic on some days.

The Midwest and Northeast alternately ranked third and fourth in foot-traffic and sales throughout the weekend.

“There is still a lot of time left in the holiday shopping season,” said Martin. “The most successful retailers will pay attention to foot-traffic patterns and make appropriate adjustments to convert shoppers into buyers.”

ShopperTrak measures foot-traffic in more than 25,000 stores in the United States and analyzes this data in a proprietary econometric model to create its National Retail Sales Estimate™ (NRSE) of general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other sales (GAFO).

Black Friday Tips for Savings & Sanity

YONKERS, N.Y., Nov. 23, 2011 — Next to the Saturday before Christmas, Black Friday ranks as the seminal shopping day of the season. Yet a recent analysis by Consumer Reports’ and Decide.com, a website that tracks electronics products and pricing, reveals that the day afterThanksgiving isn’t necessarily the optimal time to get the best deals on many products.

A recent analysis of prices from the mid-November to mid-December period in 2010, conducted with  Decide.com, showed that in a significant proportion of cases, the lowest prices of the season on the included items were not on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the day following the Thanksgiving weekend. For example, more than a quarter of the recommended TVs and cameras were at least 5 per cent cheaper between Cyber Monday and December 13 than they were earlier, including during the Black Friday weekend. With laptops, the resulting data indicated that consumers would have been at least as likely as with TVs and cameras to save on recommended models by waiting.

“There’s no doubt you can score some incredible bargains by getting up extra early or staying up past your bedtime to take in the midnight madness sales,” says Consumer Reports’ senior editor and shopping expert Tod Marks. “But retailing trends suggest that the opportunity to score a great deal won’t end this weekend. So there’s no need to panic.”

But if you plan to shop at a store or from the comfort of home, here are five Black Friday tips that can help save your money and sanity.  The full list can be found at www.ConsumerReports.org.

  1. It’s not always worth breaking down the ‘door.’ There is no doubt that manufacturers offer some deep discounts on Black Friday. Generally, the very best “doorbuster” deals are only available in limited quantities, and perhaps only for a short duration. Since early October, there has been a flurry of doorbuster promotions promising items such as a $200 laptop or TV. Black Friday earned its reputation as a bargain-hunter’s paradise because retailers feature a few of these high-profile items as loss leaders, which are sold at- or below-cost to draw shoppers in. But consumers shouldn’t bother to show up unless they are willing to wait on line, sometimes for hours before the store opens, and should be prepared for possible disappointment. There are no guarantees, and usually no rain checks.
  2. Sniff out the most appealing specials in advance. Numerous websites, such as FatWallet, Gottadeal, and TheBlackFriday.com obtain and publish Black Friday deals, often weeks before they’re officially released. You can also find out which products come with rebates and which merchants offer free shipping. “Like” your favorite retailers on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for advance notice of special sales. You can also follow @DealCyberMonday on Twitter.
  3. Try to get it for less online. If a circular features an eye-popping deal, consumers should visit a price-comparison Web site to see if another reliable seller is offering it cheaper. Some sources worth checking: Bizrate, Nextag and Pricegrabber. Shoppers might want to try Amazon, too, asConsumer Reports’ reader surveys have cited Amazon as a good merchant for appliances, electronics, and books. And don’t shop without first checking for coupons at sites such as Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.com.
  4. Request a price guarantee. Ask if the retailer has a low-price guarantee – which entitles shoppers to a refund of the difference between the new price and the original price paid if the item goes on sale or if it’s offered cheaper elsewhere. Walmart recently announced that it’s beefing up its price-matching policy for the holidays. Note that most price-matching policies apply to the price charged by a “local” competitor, not websites like Amazon.com or even warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s.
  5. Eye return policies carefully. The blanket policy for most products at big-box stores is 90 days, but may be shorter for electronics.  Some merchants extend the return period for holiday purchases, but they reserve the right to refuse to take back anything without an original or gift receipt, especially if the item was bought with cash. Even if a store agrees to take an item back without a receipt, they may only issue you a gift card or store credit slip in exchange. And shoppers will get back the value of the lowest price the item actually sold for, not necessarily the value of the price paid for it. Receipts are needed to take advantage of warranty services. Make sure there are no restocking fees for returned goods

National Suit Drive Helps Unemployed Americans Suit Up for Success

Men’s Wearhouse Fourth Annual National Suit Drive Collects over 80,000 Clothing Items for Job Seekers

MEN'S WEARHOUSE / Donate to Men's Wearhouse National Suit Drive - Aug. 1-31, 2011. (PRNewsFoto/Men's Wearhouse, Rob Bennett)HOUSTON, Aug. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — For the fourth year, Men’s Wearhouse has held a successful National Suit Drive, the country’s largest collection of gently used professional attire. The company devoted the month of August to encouraging patrons to transform their unwanted businesswear into a second chance for millions of disadvantaged Americans facing joblessness.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click:http://www.multivu.com/mnr/51934-men-s-wearhouse-fourth-annual-national-suit-drive

Despite recent job increases in select industries, the unemployment rate is still hovering just above an alarming 9 percent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of July 2011:

  • African-Americans are experiencing a 16.2 percent unemployment rate — almost 1.8 times the national average of 9.2 percent.
  • The U.S. Latino population is experiencing an 11.6 percent unemployment rate.
  • U.S. males are experiencing a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, while U.S. females are facing an 8.0 percent rate.

The power of a suit in the workplace is not to be underestimated, according to the nationwide Men’s Wearhouse Well-Dressed Men Survey conducted earlier this year by Kelton Research for Men’s Wearhouse. A full 75 percent of Americans polled believe well-dressed men are more successful in the workplace than their casual colleagues, and 22 percent of men actually believe they would earn more money if only they dressed better.

Men’s Wearhouse, a leader in men’s formal and professional attire, has long preached the value of a suit to a man’s confidence. Known for his “guarantee,” George Zimmer, Men’s Wearhouse founder and executive chairman, sees National Suit Drive as “a chance to share that guarantee of assurance with those less fortunate and in transition into the workforce. A suit can do wonders to boost confidence in interviews and networking.”

Despite talk of the recession’s end, Men’s Wearhouse’s efforts in its largest yearly philanthropic event are as ambitious as ever. With just days remaining to donate to the drive, 80,449 items have been collected at more than 900 Men’s Wearhouse locations around the country, including 9,027 suits. August 31 is the final day stores will be accepting donations to the drive — it’s not too late to make a difference in the lives of Americans with barriers to employment.

About Men’s Wearhouse

Since it was founded in 1973, Men’s Wearhouse has become one of the largest specialty retailers of men’s apparel in the country, with more than 900 stores carrying a full selection of designer and private-label suits, sport coats, casualwear, and accessories. Today, The Men’s Wearhouse, Inc. family of companies includes Men’s Wearhouse, MW Cleaners, K&G Fashion Superstore, TwinHill Corporate Apparel, and Moores Clothing for Men in Canada, making it one of North America’s leading providers of quality and value in both apparel and apparel care. Men’s Wearhouse also operates in a global corporate apparel and workwear group consisting of Dimensions and Alexandra in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please visit the company’s website at www.menswearhouse.com.

SOURCE Men’s Wearhouse

CONTACT: Caitlin Murphy, +1-336-774-9367, or Meghan Hakim, +1-336-774-9323