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Credit cards have become consumers preferred payment source

BY Marianne Wilson

Americans love credit cards — particularly when shopping in stores.

That’s according to a report from Mercator Advisory Group which found that, when consumers were asked to choose their single most preferred payment type in stores, 36% said they preferred credit cards, followed by debit cards (33%) and cash (18%). Three percent said they preferred private-label revolving store cards, and 2% preferred checks.

The survey also found that that U.S. consumers are now more likely to prefer using credit cards rather than debit cards or any other payment type at online retailers for online travel, digital content, and even online bill payments than since Mercator started tracking usage preference in 2015. Sixty-two percent of U.S. households used credit cards in 2018, up from 60% of U.S. households in 2017.

Debit cards, however, are often preferred for small purchases and everyday in-store spending such as groceries, according to Mercator’s “U.S. Consumers and Credit: Rising Usage” study. The report presents the findings from Mercator Advisory Group’s CustomerMonitor Survey Series online panel of 3,002 U.S. adult consumers surveyed in June 2018.

“In 2018, credit cards rewards and online shopping appear to be driving stronger use of general purpose network branded credit cards, especially since three in 10 credit cardholders say they use premium credit cards that have an annual fee,” said Karen Augustine, manager of Primary Data Services, including CustomerMonitor Survey Series, at Mercator Advisory Group, and the author of the report.

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Publix to offer Aprons online cooking classes

BY DSN STAFF

Those who are looking to better their skills in the kitchen in the new year might look to Publix for a little extra help.

The Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer announced the launch of its first online Aprons Cooking School classes, which will premiere on YouTube.

Classes are to be held by two Publix Aprons Cooking School chefs, free to watch and will allow viewers to participate in a live chat by submitting comments and questions to be answered during the stream, the company said.

The first January episode, titled “Get Cooking in the New Year,” will show viewers how to easily prep, cook and assemble three meals using a Publix deli oven-roasted chicken. A second episode, “Date Night” will premiere on Feb. 9, and demonstrate recipes for a romantic date night. The third episode, “Fill It, Stuff It and Roll It,” will debut on March 9, and show viewers how to wrap, stuff and roll various appetizers from around the world.

Each of the three classes are to begin at 6 pm ET and can be viewed any time after their premiere date and time on Publix’s YouTube channel. Further information on the classes can be found on the retailer’s website.

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Sears chairman offers alternative if buyout is rejected

BY Marianne Wilson

The chairman of Sears has a back-up plan for his company in case his $4.4 billion buyout offer is rejected.

On Dec. 28, Transform Holdco, an affiliate of Lampert’s ESL Investments hedge fund, submitted a last-minute bid for substantially all of the assets of Sears, including a portfolio of 425 stores, which it valued at $4.4 billion. The bid doesn’t guarantee that Sears will avoid liquidation. The company and its advisers must determine by Jan. 4 whether the bid is qualified and can move on to the bankruptcy auction on Jan. 14.

In addition to the primary bid, Lampert has submitted a smaller or “alternative” bid proposal, valued at $250 million, that would keep at least 250 stores open and also buy a few other pieces of Sears, CNBC reported. The rest of the company would likely be liquidated.

In addition, the back-up plan includes certain real estate assets. The real estate component was detailed in a letter to JLL, reported WWD, and included in the filing. In the letter, ESL indicates it would be willing to pay up to $1.81 billion for certain assets, including some ground leases.

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