Nicole's Feed
Jan 29, 2010
via Shop Talk

Check Out Line: Holiday cheer in Barbie land

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Check out more Barbie dolls making an appearance under the Christmas tree.

Mattel, the world’s largest toy maker, posted higher than expected profit for its quarter that included the holiday season, boosted by strong demand for its Fashionista Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars.

The company was also helped by tight cost controls and a weak U.S. dollar.

Mattel said worldwide gross sales for Barbie rose 12 percent, while Hot Wheels jumped 16 percent.

Jan 29, 2010

Wal-Mart seeks efficiency in new U.S. structure

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc <WMT.N> is consolidating some U.S. operations and dividing the country into three regions under separate presidents to increase efficiency at more than 3,700 domestic stores.

The world’s biggest retailer is also creating a new division called Global.com to oversee its global e-commerce business.

Jan 28, 2010
via Shop Talk

Check Out Line: The slow return of the splurge

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Check out signs that consumers are getting more comfortable with spending and, at times, even splurging.

Estee Lauder reported a far better-than-expected 62 percent jump in quarterly profit and boosted its full-year forecast as consumers began to splurge on cosmetics after a year-long slide in sales. Results were helped by strong growth in Asia, new products, and a better-than-expected performance in airport stores and in the United States.

Jan 27, 2010
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Unicorn + Clown = Surprise hit for Walmart

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If the NFL playoff games weren’t filled with enough unexpected action to keep you awake this past Sunday, something else was — a screaming clown.

Walmart aired a new commercial during the games this weekend meant to promote its low prices on party supplies.

Jan 26, 2010

Retail industry sales seen up 2.5 percent for 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. retail sales should rise 2.5 percent this year, signaling that store chains have made it through the worst of the downturn as improvements in the housing and job markets bolster shoppers’ confidence, a trade group forecast on Tuesday.

The 2010 forecast from the National Retail Federation marks an expected improvement from a 2.5 percent drop in 2009 and a 1.3 percent increase in 2008. The data covers retail industry sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants.

Jan 26, 2010

U.S. retail industry sales seen up 2.5 pct for 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 26 (Reuters) – U.S. retail sales should
rise 2.5 percent this year, signaling that store chains have
made it through the worst of the downturn as improvements in
the housing and job markets bolster shoppers’ confidence, a
trade group forecast on Tuesday.

The 2010 forecast from the National Retail Federation marks
an expected improvement from a 2.5 percent drop in 2009 and a
1.3 percent increase in 2008. The data covers retail industry
sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants.

Jan 25, 2010

Sam’s Club cuts 11,200 jobs, 10 percent of workforce

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Sam’s Club, the warehouse club division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc is cutting roughly 11,200 jobs, or about 10 percent of its workforce, as it outsources in-store product demonstrations and eliminates positions used to recruit new business members.

Sam’s Club Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell said on Sunday that the retailer would outline charges associated with the job cuts in February, when it releases fourth-quarter results. He said he did not expect any “material impact” on its financial results.

Jan 22, 2010
via Shop Talk

Happy Super Valenbowl!

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Target spent time talking to Wall Street analysts on Thursday, outlining the multiple ways it will expand its business in the next 10 years.

It will open smaller stores in urban markets. It will add its PFresh food concept into hundreds of stores, boosting customer traffic. It will explore overseas expansion in Canada, Mexico or Latin America.

Jan 22, 2010
via Shop Talk

Check Out Line: Trading the $1 burger for the $3 latte

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Check out profits rising at McDonald’s, the world’s largest hamburger chain.

But while profits rose, the results showed the chain’s U.S. business continued to lag its international operations.  U.S. same-store sales rose 1 percent in December, after two months of declines. Globally, same-store sales rose 2.3 percent for the quarter and 2.7 percent in December.

Jan 21, 2010

Target seeks growth from small stores, overseas

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Target Corp <TGT.N> plans
to remodel 340 stores, develop a smaller format for urban
markets and expand overseas as the retailer pursues growth in
the next five to 10 years. The No. 2 U.S. discount chain also signaled it could have a "home run" with its "PFresh" concept, where it is offering an expanded selection of food. It has already seen a lift in sales and traffic at the 108 stores that have been outfitted with the new concept as shoppers snap up the food. Target made the comments on Thursday at its analyst meeting, where it outlined for Wall Street ways it would return to growing a business that had been upended by the downturn. Target's business faltered during the housing market bust and ensuing recession as shoppers stopped splurging on its trendy clothes and home decor. Meanwhile, discount behemoth Wal-Mart Stores Inc <WMT.N> thrived as shoppers sought its low-priced food, medicine and other daily essentials. Target said it is now focused on improving sales of consumable goods, like food or beauty products, that attract shoppers for repeat visits. It is also using its marketing might, including store signs and newspaper ads, to highlight its low prices and woo shoppers who may equate its trendy image with higher prices. "We realize changing price perception is a marathon not a sprint, but we're moving in the right direction" said Kathee Tesija, Target's executive vice president of merchandising. Target shares fell 50 cents, or 1 percent, to $50.22. FOOD A LURE TO SELL MORE CLOTHES Despite an emphasis on low prices and groceries, executives insisted Target was not abandoning its chic but cheap roots. The retailer announced plans to sell limited-time clothing lines by designers Jean Paul Gaultier and Zac Posen, and said it is positioning itself to win shoppers' home decor business when the economy improves. "We're really focused on winning in the discretionary categories," said Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel. Target operates more than 1,740 stores, including 250 SuperTarget stores, which combine a full grocery store with a discount store. Its new concept PFresh -- or prototype-fresh -- offers a wider selection of fresh food and groceries, such as meat and bakery items, in its general merchandise stores. The retailer previously said it was following a "lean, new store program" for 2010 -- opening no more than 10 new stores, net of closings and relocations. Now, it plans to spend about $1 billion in 2010 renovating 340 stores and adding PFresh to 350 stores, more than triple the current number. Target said sales and traffic in the stores with PFresh have already risen, on average, 6 percent, since their conversion. It expects the benefits to continue. "We believe over time our enhanced food offerings will filter throughout the rest of the store" and shoppers will be enticed to buy non-food items, like clothes, Steinhafel said. While it still has the ability to open full-sized discount stores in the United States, Target said it was working to develop a smaller store format to fit into dense urban markets. To determine how to run a smaller store profitably, Target said it will test a new "assortment approach" in three stores that will offer 50 percent fewer items. Target's plans echo expansion tactics used by its larger rival Wal-Mart, which has saturated many U.S. markets. At its analyst meeting in October, Wal-Mart said it would rely on smaller, more efficient stores to drive future U.S. expansion and help it tap into urban markets. Wal-Mart runs more than 8,424 locations in 15 countries. It said international operations were gaining in importance and that international square footage growth would outpace U.S. growth in its current fiscal year and next. [ID:nN226823] Target offered few specifics on its international goals besides saying it would most likely open stores in Canada, Mexico or Latin America at some point beyond three to five years. (Additional reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago, editing by Dave Zimmerman, Maureen Bavdek and Matthew Lewis)

    • About Nicole

      "Nicole Maestri is a retail correspondent for Reuters and covers some of the world's biggest retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Costco."
      Joined Reuters:
      2002
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