Retailers, consumers and prices
If you want to know who was the real retail winner amid all the Black Friday frenzy, just look in the mirror.
That’s the word from Jim Barry, a former editor of Video magazine, who is now a spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association.
But “for retailers and manufacturers, the question is was there any profit in any of this stuff?” he added.
After scoring one of the biggest exclusive deals in music retailing in a long while-- or at least since Wal Mart snagged the exclusive for the new AC/DC opus "Black Ice" earlier this year-- Best Buy began selling the long awaited new recording by Guns n' Roses, "Chinese Democracy," on Sunday.
But stepping down the escalator at the chain's Chelsea story in New York City on Sunday, when a more than 17 year wait for original Guns n Roses material ended, it would have been easy to walk by the modest display box with the Chinese Democracy CDs and vinyl LP's. There were few other signs of CDs being available, and the store was not blasting it on the P.A. system as a record store would have back in the old days.
The financial crisis of the past two months has rocked retailers, and many are now planning to hire fewer seasonal workers and roll out promotions earlier than planned to try to salvage holiday sales, according to a recent survey by the Hay Group.
The human resources consulting firm conducted an informal survey in September with 20 of the top American retailers, including Best Buy, JC Penney, Costco, and Macy’s to get a glimpse into their plans for the holiday season.
The group then ran the survey again this month to find out how those plans may have changed given the recent financial crisis. Here is what the they found:
Giving out your Social Security number on national television is bound to attract trouble. But that hasn’t stopped Lifelock Chief Executive Todd Davis from flashing his social – 457-55-5462 – on television, the Internet, and print ads.
Davis says he’s so certain Lifelock will protect your identity and preserve your credit he gives out his social security number to prove it. He’s gotten around 100 dings on his credit, including people trying to get loans under aliases like Jabba T. Hutt.
The retailer has started selling two notebook computers made by Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba that include features consumers had asked for, such as a lighter-weight design, backlit keyboard and longer warranty.
The electronics chain has completed the rollout of Best Buy Mobile shops at its 965 U.S. stores – three months ahead of schedule.
Check out how high gas and commodity costs are crimping Hershey and Best Buy.
However, the largest U.S. chocolate company, which is meeting with analysts, said the pressures it faces — soaring prices for cocoa , energy and other commodities — remain the same.
Check out a bunch of retail executives talking about the state of the industry, economy and the outlook for holiday shopping.
It’s the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit, being held this week in New York, featuring top executives from Borders, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, Jones Apparel, Perry Ellis and others.
The executives meet with Reuters reporters as most retailers are struggling to attract consumers that have been clobbered by $4-a-gallon gasoline, falling home prices, a credit crunch and rising food costs.
Sales got a bit of a boost in May as consumers started to spend their tax rebates. But analysts say that bump could be fleeting, with consumers still under pressure after the rebates have been spent.
To find out what retailers think, check out the Retail Summit page all week.
Also in the basket:
InBev cautions Bid about striking Modelo deal
Trust chairman sees change, but no sale, at Hershey
CostPlus rejects Pier 1 acquisition offer
Starbucks says international growth to cushion U.S. weakness