Kmart, Sears offer new mobile, online, layaway services for holiday season
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart and Sears are eliminating layaway service fees, starting a layaway home-delivery service and new in-store mobile features for what the company expects to be the busiest shopping season since 2007.
With retail sales across the country expected to increase by 3.3% during this year’s holiday shopping season, the company said Sears stores around the country would roll out mobile point-of-sale devices to allow customers with credit and debit cards to make purchases where they are standing and have their receipts emailed to them or printed. Five-hundred Sears and Kmart stores are also having staff carry tablets with special shopping applications for checking available inventory, accessing product information and videos, and selling merchandise available in stores or online.
"Sears and Kmart will win this holiday season because we provide best-in-class layaway options, new in-store mobile experiences for added convenience, exclusive products such as Sofia Vergara at Kmart and the Kardashian Kollection at Sears, and weekly holiday sales for our customers," Sears Holdings EVP, chief merchandising officer and president for the Sears and Kmart formats Ron Boire said. "In addition, our Shop Your Way rewards program is a key differentiator, with competitive savings and rewards for members."
Kmart is offering free layaway until Nov. 17, while Sears has made layaway free between Sept. 29 and Oct. 29 and will make it free again from Nov. 2 to Dec. 3. Meanwhile, customers can place items purchased at Kmart.com or Sears.com on layaway and then pick them up at a nearby Kmart or Sears store or have them shipped to their homes.
Companies are currently trying to attract as many customers and maximize their holiday season profits. Special holiday offers can be seen in virtually all industries, including food, clothing, entertainment and even finances. Although the economic recession hit the United States, it is still important for people to celebrate holidays the way they want to. For that reason, many financial institutions and lenders offer special holiday loans to meet the needs of their customers. www.unitedfinances.com
Service is very important of course, but you also should not forget that people have to have money in order to go to these stores. I understand that many are going to turn to money same day so that they could borrow money for a short period of time (usually till their payday) to buy presents. I honestly think that Sear’s service was always good, prices pretty reasonable especially considering big sales they have from time to time.
I was just in Sears yesterday. I had a package of screwdrivers that I wanted to exchange. They said the item I bought was from a store with no returns. They knew this because of the price tag that was still on it. Nevermind that I could see it hanging on their shelves and I was happy just getting their lowest price in the form of loan. They still have good, affordable tools, so I don’t want to dismiss them entirely, but this was a fine piece of customer service. I was even willing to buy some other items, but not after this. I even said to my wife, so loud they could hear me, that I don’t want to reward their poor customer service.
U.S. frozen foods market experiencing flat to declining sales
ROCKVILLE, Md. — The U.S. frozen foods market has hit a rough patch, according to a new study from Packaged Facts.
Citing such factors as the nation’s slow economic recovery; changing consumer eating patterns, shopping patterns and demographics; lack of excitement in frozen foods categories and merchandising; retailers’ increased focus on the fresh foods perimeter to the detriment of center store categories; and competition from fresh foods (including prepared fresh foods), shelf-stable foods and restaurants, Packaged Facts revealed that the $44 billion market only has realized gains attributable to inflation or new products.
According to a national online survey conducted by Packaged Facts in August, a preference for fresh foods is the top reason (57%) shoppers cited for not buying frozen foods in the last three months, followed by a preference for home-cooked foods (35%). In comparison, fewer than 1-in-5 shoppers said they have not bought frozen foods because they don’t like the taste, don’t have enough freezer space at home, are not confident in frozen foods’ nutrition, or are not confident in frozen foods’ quality.
Despite the flat/declining sales, Packaged Facts publisher David Sprinkle said one way frozen food marketers are squaring off against fresh foods head on is by emphasizing freshness. This is done, Sprinkle said, by citing research studies which show that frozen produce is as nutritious, and in some cases even more nutritious, than fresh produce.
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BodyArmor SuperDrink taps Ray Rice as partner, investor
LOS ANGELES — BodyArmor SuperDrink announced that a National Football League star has joined its roster as a partner and investor.
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will engage in events, promotions, product testing and campaigns both regionally and nationally on behalf of BodyArmor SuperDrink, a line of nutrient enhanced sports drinks. Rice joins gridiron football stars Rob Gronkowski, LeSean McCoy, and Jason Pierre-Paul, as well as rookie baseball phenom Mike Trout.
"Ray is considered elite because he never settles for anything less than super and continues to prove he is one of the top running backs in football," BodyArmor SuperDrink founder and CEO Lance Collins said. "Ray’s game is multifaceted as he excels in all areas when on the field, just as BodyArmor SuperDrink is multifaceted and delivers all of the nutrition and hydration benefits that today’s athlete needs."
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