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Nielsen survey unveils how smartphone, tablet owners use devices for shopping-related activities

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — More than three-quarters of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners have used their mobile devices for shopping-related activities, according to a recent Nielsen survey.

The survey, conducted during first quarter 2012, 79% of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners said they use their devices for shopping-related purposes. But Nielsen did find differences between the two types of shoppers. For instance, smartphones are used for on-the-go activities, compared with tablets. Smartphones were used more often when “locating a store” (73% versus 42% for tablets), “using a shopping list while shopping” (42% versus 16% for tablets) or “redeeming a mobile coupon” (36% versus 11% for tablet owners). On the other hand, tablet owners are more likely to execute a purchase through their device: 42% of tablet owners have “used their device to purchase an item,” compared with just 29% of smartphone owners.

Despite their differences, Nielsen said one of the most popular activities among both smartphone owners and tablet owners is “researching an item before purchase” (66% for tablet owners versus 57% for smartphone owners). It also is important to note that while tablet owners use their device to buy an item, both smartphone and tablet owners aren’t likely using their devices to make payments (27% of smartphone owners and 28% of tablet owners), but that number is expected to rise in the years to come, Nielsen said.

Click here for the full report.

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Fred’s reports April sales results

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s on Thursday reported total sales of $141.8 million for the five weeks ended April 28, up 4% from the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales for the month declined 0.3%, compared with an increase of 1.8% in the same period last year.

"Comparable-store sales for the month were at the low end of the range we anticipated, but the 4% increase in total sales in April was at the mid-point, as new stores achieved a higher-than-expected sales performance," Fred’s CEO Bruce Efird said. "Our comparable stores reflected the impact of an earlier Easter holiday this year, a sharp drop-off in tobacco sales, and the continued shift of brand to generic drugs in our pharmacy department."

Fred’s total sales for the first three months of fiscal 2012 increased 3% to $500.5 million, compared with $484.4 million for the same period last year. On a comparable-store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 0.4% versus an increase of 1% for the year-ago period.

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Supervalu transitions EVP retail operations role to former Meijer executive

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu on Thursday announced that Pete Van Helden, EVP retail operations, will be leaving the company this spring. Taking his place will be Kevin Holt.

"This was a mutually beneficial decision that comes at the right time for both Supervalu and Van Helden, as the company continues to implement its business transformation strategy and as Van Helden moves on to opportunities that will better utilize his strengths," the company stated in a release.

“Pete has been a passionate leader of our retail businesses for many years, beginning his career with Albertsons in 1978,” stated Craig Herkert, Supervalu president and CEO. “We will miss his active voice in our company and wish him all the best as he takes on new challenges outside of Supervalu.”

Van Helden’s departure leads to the appointment of Holt, 53, a former Meijer executive who has experience leading teams in similar turnaround environments. Holt will join Supervalu as EVP retail operations in late May, reporting to Herkert, and will work closely with Van Helden to ensure a smooth transition.

During Holt’s 13-year career with Meijer, he helped lead that grocer’s information technology initiatives and strategic planning. After leaving Meijer as EVP retail operations in 2007, Holt spent three years with Sears Holding Co., where he went on to become EVP and president of stores. He most recently served as president of Hudsonville Ice Cream and Kilwin’s Quality Confections in Michigan.

“Kevin is a seasoned retail executive who understands the importance of combining enterprise leverage, merchandising and passionate customer-focused execution. He has broad experience improving company performance and knows how to build strong retail teams,” Herkert said. “We believe he has the right blend of experience to help Supervalu deliver on the promise of its business transformation, which involves investing in fair prices and delivering a differentiated hyperlocal retail experience.”

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