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Deloitte forecasts moderate uptick in holiday sales

BY Jason Owen

NEW YORK — A forecast of holiday sales announced on Monday by Deloitte shows retailers can expect moderate sales gains this season.

“Rising home prices with steady job creation may buoy consumers’ confidence in the economy and create a wealth effect,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist. “The debt ceiling and budget debate will resume this fall alongside uncertainty about the implementation of healthcare reform, which may cause some concern among consumers, but at a macro level, these factors are unlikely to have a significant effect on the economy and retail sales.”

Deloitte’s Retail & Distribution practice expects total holiday sales to climb to between $963 and $967 billion, representing a 4-4.5% increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) over last season. This growth rate is on par with last year’s 4.5% gain.

Additionally, Deloitte forecasts a 12.5-13% increase in non-store sales. Nearly three-quarters of non-store sales result from the online channel with additional sales coming from catalogs and interactive TV.

“We anticipate non-store sales growth will continue to surpass overall retail sales growth,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Retail & Distribution sector leader. “Additionally, shoppers researching their purchases electronically — via their PC, tablet or mobile phone — are increasingly influencing in-store sales, particularly as we see greater integration across retailers’ store, online and mobile channels. More retailers are offering services such as ‘buy online and pick up in store,’ as well as inventory from other locations and price matching on the spot. The store is still a core element of holiday shopping, and retailers leading the way this season will be those that effectively bring together their pricing, promotions, merchandise and inventory management across both their physical and digital storefronts.”

Deloitte also anticipates that mobile-influenced retail store sales will account for 8 percent, or $66 billion, in retail store sales this holiday season, driven by consumers’ store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or mobile application use.

“Retailers now realize how to engage shoppers through their mobile devices both inside and outside the store, which is having a profound impact on customer interaction, store traffic and conversion rates,” continued Paul. “Consumers using their smartphones are more likely to make a purchase compared with other shoppers in the store, indicating that these activities are contributing to sales and keeping a shopper from turning to a competitor, contrary to the concern that ‘showrooming’ and price checking could negatively affect sales.”


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Schnucks chairman, CEO announces $11 million investment in southwest Indiana

BY Alaric DeArment

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Schnuck Markets will build two new stores and remodel three in southwest Indiana, the supermarket chain said Tuesday.

Schnucks said it planned to invest more than $11 million in Evansville, Ind., which is the largest city in southwest Indiana. Chairman and CEO Scott Schnuck announced the plans at the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and dinner.

"We are getting close to an agreement that would allow us to replace our Evansville East store with a brand new, state-of-the-art facility," Schnuck said. "While we aren’t quite finalized yet, we are moving towards an agreement for this location."

Meanwhile, the remodels will take place in 2014, with the Evansville North, Evansville West and Green River Road stores scheduled for upgrades. Schnucks has operated in Evansville since 1977, originally opening the Evansville North and Evansville East stores under a partnership with Walgreens, which Schnucks later bought out.


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Kroger raises $3 million in support of local breast cancer initiatives

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Tuesday announced it has committed $3 million in donations for local breast cancer initiatives across the country to support National Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. 

This will be the seventh year since Kroger began the Giving Hope a Hand initiative. By the end of 2013, Kroger will have donated more than $24 million to support breast cancer research, education and services since 2006, the grocer reported.

The effort kicked off in stores on Sept. 22 and featured 21 Kroger associates who are breast cancer survivors on marketing materials and custom packages of national and Kroger corporate brand products. These women share their survivor stories on the packaging of select items sold exclusively in Kroger’s family of stores.

Last year, Kroger received the 2012 Gold HALO award from the Cause Marketing Forum for the company’s annual Giving Hope a Hand campaign.


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