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China e-commerce spending to jump ahead of U.S. this year, report finds

BY Alaric DeArment

SHANGHAI — Online spending in China is set to bypass the United States this year and double within two years, according to a new study.

According to Bain & Co.’s annual China E-commerce Report, spending online by consumers in China reached 1.3 trillion yuan ($212.4 billion) in 2012 and will surpass the United States this year, reaching 3.3 trillion yuan ($539.2 billion) by 2015, when it will be 50% more than in the United States. The Bain report did not give a figure for U.S. e-commerce spending, but according to the Department of Commerce, e-commerce spending in the United States in 2012 was about $224.3 billion.

"While surpassing the U.S. is a major milestone for e-commerce in China, the key finding in our report is that there’s no longer a meaningful distinction between retailers’ brick-and-mortar, web and mobile strategies," Bain’s Retail Practice China-based partner and study co-author Serge Hoffmann said. "If you’re not reaching Chinese consumers seamlessly across all of these channels, you’re missing out on a major growth opportunity."

The report includes a survey of 1,300 consumers in China, living in large and small cities and representing various age, education and income levels.


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Dollar General posts second-quarter same-store sales gains of 5.1%

BY Michael Johnsen

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General on Wednesday posted net sales of $4.4 billion for the second quarter ended Aug. 2, up 11.3%. 

“Dollar General delivered another solid quarter. Our same-store sales growth for the second quarter of 2013 accelerated to 5.1%," stated Rick Dreiling, Dollar General chairman and CEO. "We are very pleased with the increase in customer traffic in our stores. We continue to grow our market share and believe that our second-quarter results position us well to deliver our financial outlook for the year."

Consumables sales continued to increase at a higher rate than non-consumables in the 2013 quarter, Dollar General reported, with the most significant growth related to the company’s newly introduced tobacco products and strong sales of perishables and candy and snacks. Same-store sales growth was solid in seasonal and apparel, and the trend in home products improved from the 2013 first-quarter results.

Dollar General shares were up $2.20 to $56.10 in early morning trading.


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New interactive beauty kiosk launches in major airports

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN FRANCISCO — ZoomSystems, a provider of automated retail, has teamed up with Benefit Cosmetics to deliver an interactive, branded retail kiosk for travelers to access in major airports.

“We’re excited to help a global brand like Benefit build its multi-channel retail strategy to reach more customers, by not only providing an authentic brand message, but also Benefit’s best-selling makeup and skin care products,” stated Jack Lawrence, ZoomSystems CEO. “With this ground-breaking partnership, ZoomSystems and Benefit are giving travelers on-the-go access to the beauty products they love in an engaging, fun, Benefit-themed way.”

ZoomSystems developed and will operate the “Glam Up & Away!” interactive automated beauty retail kiosks for Benefit Cosmetics, which are standalone, unattended retail kiosks. The kiosks have been installed in major airports, including New York (JFK), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Austin (AUS), Cleveland (CLE) and Savannah (SAV), with more to launch soon.

“High-traffic airports are the next beauty battleground for prestige cosmetics brands. Benefit is grabbing first-mover advantage,” added Jean Andre Rougeot, Benefit Cosmetics CEO.

Benefit Cosmetics will offer 30 of its best-selling products and instant beauty solutions in each kiosk.

“It’s wow on wheels,” stated Julie Bell, Benefit Cosmetics EVP global marketing. “What a sexy, fun and innovative way to introduce Benefit’s witty and playful personality to the hundreds of millions of travelers who fly every year.”

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