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Forrester survey: 91% of retailers have mobile strategy in place or in development

BY DSN STAFF

Washington, D.C. — More and more retailers are experimenting with mobile and social initiatives. According to “The State Of Retailing Online 2011: Marketing, Social, and Mobile” report conducted by Forrester Research. for Shop.org, 91%  percent of retailers currently have a mobile strategy in place or in development (up from 74% a year ago), and 72% say they will increase their spending on social networks this year over last.

However, the overall amount of mobile traffic and revenue has not increased dramatically, suggesting that investment levels in site optimization may still be inadequate. For example, 48% of retailers report having a mobile-optimized website; 35% have deployed an iPhone app; and 15% offer an Android app and an iPad app, respectively. Challenges for retailers include differentiating the consumer experience on a tablet versus a smartphone and figuring out features and functionality in dueling app/mobile Web ecosystems.

Compared with past years, social networks surfaced higher as an investment area among retailers. Social networks ranked fourth on the list of successful customer acquisition sources, up significantly from last year. Yet the ROI associated with social is muddy: 62% of retailers said the returns on social marketing strategies are unclear, and nearly the same percentage said the primary ROI from social marketing is listening to — and gaining a better understanding of — customers.

“The data indicates that significant investments in social and mobile tactics will be in place this year,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, VP principal analyst, Forrester Research. “Retail executives should have modest expectations for the benefits of social commerce.”

With regard to mobile, Mulpuru said retailers should be working to increasingly integrate features and functionality into the physical store experience.

“While consumers may not be extensively exploring product information yet, basic store information, transparent pricing, and easy checkout capabilities are likely to be the most pressing opportunities for most sites in the near term,” she said.

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Supervalu looks to grow on multiple fronts

BY DSN STAFF

CHICAGO — Supervalu detailed its strategic plan to deliver profitable growth in the future for shareholders at an investor event May 3.

Commenting on the company’s plans, Supevalu CEO and president Craig Herkert said, “We are focused on acting as one company, working toward a common goal of delivering increased value to all of our customers and meeting their needs neighborhood by neighborhood.”

In a company press release, Supervalu said its senior management team discussed efforts to improve sales growth at the company’s traditional retail banners. In order to accomplish this, Supervalu said it would have to improve promotion of its value pricing, enhance such fresh offerings as locally grown produce, develop and maintain a compelling collection of private brands, which will be folded into the company’s Essential Everyday private-label line, adjust store assortment and format based on the needs of each neighborhood, and improve the customer experience in stores and online.

One of Supervalu’s long-term goals is the national expansion of its Save-A-Lot banner. The company said it intends to grow this banner by 160 new stores in fiscal 2012, keeping the company on track to reach its goal of building a network of more than 2,400 stores by 2015.

During the meeting, the company also announced the addition of the Save-A-Lot Today brand to its private-label program. The new Save-A-Lot Today brand is an opening price point line with most products priced under $1.

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Sears gives gloomy outlook ahead of annual meeting

BY Gail Hoffer

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings will host its annual meeting on May 4, and attendees likely will want to know how the company plans to improve sales and return to profitability under the leadership of its new CEO, Lou D’Ambrosio.

Ahead of the meeting, the company reported a same-store sales decline of 3.6% for its fiscal first quarter, which included a 1.6% decrease at its Kmart stores and a 5.2% decrease at its Sears Domestic stores.

Sears Holdings said it is expecting a first-quarter net loss of between $145 million and $195 million, or between $1.35 and $1.81 per diluted share. In the first quarter of fiscal 2010, the company reported net income attributable to its shareholders of $16 million, or 14 cents per diluted share.

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