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ComScore: Online spending up 13% in Q3

BY Marianne Wilson

RESTON, Va. — Online retail spending reached $36.3 billion for third quarter 2011, up 13% from last year, according to comScore. This growth rate represented the eighth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth rates.

The top-performing online product categories were: digital content and subscriptions, event tickets, jewelry and watches, consumer electronics (excluding computer peripherals) and computer software. Each category grew at least 15% versus a year ago, comScore reported.

“The third quarter of 2011 saw a continuation of the year’s strength in U.S. retail e-commerce spending, even in the face of renewed economic headwinds and uncertainty facing the U.S. consumer,” comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said. “More consumers than ever before are relying on the online channel for product and pricing information, which along with the Internet’s fundamental appeal of convenience and attractive pricing, are contributing to the sustained upward momentum in e-commerce spending.”

Other highlights from third quarter 2011 include:

  • The 13% increase was primarily a function of an increase in the number of buyers (up 22%), with 74% of all Internet users making at least one online purchase in the quarter; and

  • Forty percent of e-commerce transactions included free shipping, down from a peak of 49% in fourth quarter 2010. Free shipping rates tend to peak during the holiday season.

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g.bach says:
Nov-10-2011 11:40 pm

It was something to think about as 13% is high.

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Women more receptive to diabetes education, Rite Aid survey finds

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Women, more often than men, reported that diabetes had a greater negative impact on their emotional outlook as well as their compliance with diet and exercise recommendations, according to a study released Thursday by Rite Aid and WebMD. The survey also found that women were more open than men to receiving tools to help them manage their diabetes.

"The survey results make sense when you consider that women play multiple roles — employee, homemaker and caretaker, often for both children and parents," stated Carolyn Daitch, director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders. "Having ready access to a resource, such as a pharmacist who can provide guidance and tools for self-care and practical, easy-to-implement recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, can be very valuable in helping to manage diabetes."

"It’s no secret that living with diabetes isn’t always easy and that, at times, it can be overwhelming," stated Robert Thompson, EVP pharmacy for Rite Aid. "Our Wellness+ for diabetes program and WebMD’s Diabetes head2toe are just the latest resources we offer to help [our customers] live well with diabetes. We’re glad to see that the survey findings further validate our approach."

Half of the women who reported being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (50%) said they feel overwhelmed when it comes to living with diabetes, while less than one-third of men (31%) reported similar feelings. And just more than half of women (53%) admitted to feeling in control of their diabetes, compared with more than two-thirds (68%) of men.

Women with diabetes also reported they were less like to maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors. Just more than one-third of women (36%) said they exercise 30 minutes or more daily, while nearly half (47%) of men reported they do. Women also are less likely to say they eat well — with just 45% avoiding sweet and salty snacks, compared with 56% of men.

The survey also revealed that women living with diabetes, particularly those ages 45 to 64 years, are enthusiastic about receiving tools that can help them better manage diabetes. The tools to which they reported greatest receptivity are diabetic-friendly recipes and tips for eating right; email newsletters; savings on diabetes-related products; and videos and articles about diet, exercise and symptoms.

Launched in September, Wellness+ for diabetes features exclusive 24/7 online access to a special Rite Aid-sponsored section of WebMD’s "Diabetes head2toe" online lifestyle management tools. This includes a Personal Diabetes Work Plan, customized for each individual member with a daily glucose tracker, a weekly workout log, recipes and meal planning tips, and monthly lifestyle summary reports. WebMD’s Diabetes head2toe also provides comprehensive health-and-wellness information about living with diabetes, as well as stories of people who live healthy, balanced lives with diabetes.

The research was conducted from Sept. 2 through Sept. 15 and included a total of 831 completed responses (458 females and 373 males).

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NRF survey: Return fraud to cost retailers $3.5 billion this holiday season

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

WASHINGTON — According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Return Fraud Survey, completed by loss-prevention executives at 103 retailers, the retail industry will lose an estimated $3.5 billion to return fraud this holiday season, down from $3.7 billion last year. Annual return fraud will cost retailers an estimated $14.4 billion in 2011, up slightly from about $13.7 billion in 2010.

“Those who think they will be able to get away with manipulating a company’s return policy will be sorely disappointed this holiday season,” said Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor for NRF. “Retailers have been putting checks and balances in place to prevent people from taking advantage of stores’ return policies, which raises prices for honest shoppers.”

According to the survey, 89.1% retailers said they have experienced the return of stolen merchandise in the last year, and just as many (89.1%) reported that employee return fraud or collusion with external sources has been a problem in the past year. Wardrobing — the return of used, non-defective merchandise, such as special occasion apparel and certain electronics — also poses a huge issue, as 61.4% of retailers said they been victims of this activity within the last year.

Additionally, 81.2% said they have experienced the return of merchandise purchased on fraudulent or stolen tender, and 38.6% have found criminals using counterfeit receipts to return merchandise.

When asked if their company has ever changed its return policy to specifically address return fraud, nearly two-thirds (64%) said it had.

The growing problem of return fraud has forced many retailers to adopt policies which require customers returning merchandise to show identification. Retailers have made significant progress in reducing fraudulent returns when a receipt is present, as the survey found 2.9% of returns with a receipt are fraudulent, down from 3.9% in 2010. Of those without a receipt, retailers estimate 14% of those returns are fraudulent. As a result, 62.1% now require customers returning items without a receipt to show identification. Slightly more than 10% of retailers require customers making returns with a receipt to show ID.

Most respondents (82.5%) said their return policies will remain unchanged this holiday season, on par with last year, but slightly more (12.6% versus 10.9% in 2010) will tighten their policies to combat the typical excess return fraud they see each year during the holiday season.

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