Survey: Leading retailers predict a 2.5% comp lift in holiday sales, expect season to be highly promotional
CHICAGO — Underwhelming fall sales and continued economic and federal budgetary concerns have U.S. retailers in a “wait and see” mode this holiday season, according to a recent BDO USA survey released Monday.
“We’re seeing retailers enter the holiday season with realistic, rather than optimistic, expectations,” stated Doug Hart, partner in the Retail and Consumer Product Practice at BDO USA. “Consumer confidence took a hit this summer amid slow economic growth and federal budget challenges, and it is still uncertain at best. However, we expect to see a heavy promotional environment, which should help consumers warm up to spending this holiday season.”
Chief marketing officers at leading U.S. retailers are forecasting a modest 2.5% increase in 2013 holiday comparable store sales. Last year, CMOs had a more optimistic projection of a 3.7% increase in holiday same store sales. This year’s conservative projection may reflect retailers’ concerns over the government shutdown, which occurred while the survey was fielded, and its impact on consumer confidence and spending this holiday season.
Retailers also have slightly lower expectations for total sales. Overall, CMOs forecast a 3.8% increase in total holiday store sales, down from an expected 4.7% increase in 2012. The 2013 projection is consistent with the National Retail Federation’s forecast of a 3.9% increase in holiday sales. Still, a majority (58%) expects sales to increase this year, and just 6% forecast a sales decrease. This may be linked to ongoing promotional activity and an earlier start to the holiday shopping season—particularly this year, with Hanukkah coinciding with Thanksgiving, BDO USA noted.
As many as 47% of retailers cited high unemployment as the biggest risk to holiday sales. High rates of long-term unemployment and underemployment continue to challenge consumers and concern retailers, but a number of other issues could also stymie spending. While fewer retailers point to energy and fuel costs (13% vs. 25% in 2012), the amount of retailers citing the housing market as the top threat doubled (16% vs. 8% in 2012). And given payroll tax increases and ongoing political budget debates, 6% of retailers cite tax changes as the greatest risk to holiday sales.
Gift cards continue to be a very popular option on holiday shopping lists. Among surveyed retailers who sell gift cards, 61% expect gift card sales to increase this season, marking a significant rise since 2009, when just 32% of CMOs projected an increase. Overall, retailers forecast a 6.9% increase in gift card sales, which could provide a boost to sales in January and February as consumers begin redeeming. Retailers may also look to incentivize early season and Thanksgiving weekend shoppers to return later by offering gift cards as a bonus offer for big ticket items like electronics.
Following the release of new iPads as well as other tablets and phones, most retail CMOs again expect consumer electronics will be both the top performing (69%) and most discounted (58%) category this holiday season. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, electronics sales are projected to increase 4% this holiday season, and Walmart reports that tablets already account for four out of its top five items in layaway. This marks a continued shift in consumer preference from traditional toys to modern consumer electronics as holiday gifts. The number of retailers expecting consumer electronics to be the hottest category has increased from 24% to 69% from 2009 to 2013, while those citing toys have decreased from 39% to 3% over the same period.
These findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers located throughout the country. The retailers in the study were among the largest in the country, including 11 retailers in the top 100 based on annual sales revenue. The telephone survey was conducted in September and October of 2013.
Nikki’s Magic Wand develops first mass-market campaign
PITTSBURGH — Nikki’s Magic Wand, which enables consumers to access that remaining 20% of concealer, lip gloss or mascara that otherwise remains unused at the bottom of the tube, has announced that it is launching its first mass market campaign in time for the holiday season.
Founder and managing director Nikki Manns will spearhead a multifaceted campaign that includes public relations, television and online “malls,” retail stores and direct response marketing, along with holiday specials and giveaways at NikkisMagicWand.com.
Nikki’s Magic Wand features a sleek, smooth and flexible tip that allows users to reach where their normal makeup applicators cannot. Whether the tube is square or round, thick or thin, the Wand is designed to reach the bottom, sides and shoulders accessing the remaining makeup.
“Nikki’s Magic Wand was designed with you in mind,” Manns stated. “Not only will the smooth, flexible tip perfectly swipe your makeup out of that tube, just like a new windshield wiper, it also is soft enough to apply directly. The Wand’s patent pending design is eco-friendly, hygienic, easy to clean and can be reused indefinitely with different cosmetic products.”
P&G’s My Black is Beautiful to participate in 2013 Black Girls Rock! awards
CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble’s My Black is Beautiful continues to drive its mission forward with its latest program, Imagine A Future, to empower young black girls to be their best selves through participating in the 2013 Black Girls Rock! awards, which airs Nov. 3 at 7 p.m./6 p.m. Central on BET.
The Black Girls Rock! organization is dedicated to promoting positive images of women of color in mass media.
The Imagine a Future program launched in 2012 with the support of community organizations Black Girls Rock! and the United Negro College Fund, aiming to positively impact the lives of one million black girls over three years. This past April, the program sparked a national conversation with the release of the “Imagine a Future” documentary, which followed Delaware teen Janet Goldsboro as she traveled to South Africa to examine the historical and current beauty and self-esteem issues that challenge black women and girls. Since its debut, the program has also worked to equip young girls with tools and solutions, such as scholarships, leadership camps and online consumer interactive tools.
Now in its second year, MBIB is continuing its momentum by celebrating three young ladies at the 2013 Black Girls Rock! Awards, each of whom is “Making A Difference” (M.A.D.) in her community. After identifying several social disparities, these M.A.D. girls — Brooklyn Wright, Mary Pat Hector and Ty-Licia Hooker — have created community-based initiatives that have already delivered positive impacts in their communities and on the socio-political landscape.
- Brooklyn Wright, 11, of Atlanta, is an award-winning “earth saver,” who travels from school-to-school to share her passion for litter prevention. Wright will donate learning gardens to 10 schools this year and will have her first annual Earth Saver Girl day camp.
- Mary Pat Hector, 15, of Atlanta, founded “Youth Action USA” in an effort to take a stand against gun violence, bullying and youth issues. She also serves as the National Youth Director of National Action Network Youth Move, an organization founded by civil rights pioneer Reverend Al Sharpton.
- Ty-Licia Hooker, 22, of Stockton, Calif., is president and founder of two community outreach programs. She influences at-risk youth through her programs Storm and the Summer Success and Leadership Academy, where an emphasis is placed on youth development and maturation.
“These three young ladies are the epitome of what the ‘Imagine A Future’ program is all about, and it’s our privilege to honor them for their dedication, hard work, and strength,” stated Grace Janes, brand manager for P&G. “When we see exemplary examples such as these three amazing young girls, we’re encouraged that we can and will achieve our ‘Imagine a Future’ mission to create a beautiful future for our young black girls. It’s our honor to know them and see them shine.”