Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: April showers bring May shoppers


Apple Store rainy iPad launch dayCheck out the recent rise in U.S. sales.

U.S. chain store sales rose 3.3 percent last week versus a year ago, according to new data from Redbook.  The sales were also up 0.8 percent in May so far versus April, Redbook’s figures on general merchandise retailers with about 9,000 U.S. stores showed.

That’s a bit brighter than the 0.5 percent rise in April same-store sales we saw last week, based on 28 chains.

Meanwhile, consumers are getting tech-savvy about their food shopping.  Deloitte said that more consumers are turning to their computers to look for deals on food.  According to the firm’s 2010 Consumer Food Safety Survey, 33 percent of people have signed up to get emails, recipes or coupons from food makers, a 6 percentage point rise from just two years earlier.

Deloitte found that food shoppers also feel the quality of store, or private label, brands is better.  Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they are buying store brands because they believe the quality is comparable to national branded foods, up 14 percentage points from 2008. Six percent even said the quality is better than national brands.

Coupon use up 27 pct last year-Inmar


COUPONU.S. consumers’ use of coupons soared 27 percent last year as they sought relief from a tough economy, according to a report released on Monday by Inmar, which tracks coupon use.

In 2009, consumers redeemed about $3.5 billion in coupons.  Shoppers used 3.3 billion coupons for everything from laundry detergent to cereal, about 700,000 more than in 2008. The internet drove much of the growth, as online coupon redemption spiked 360 percent.

J.C. Penney discounts go mobile


jcpenneyJ.C. Penney discounts are going mobile as the department store takes aim at younger, tech-savvy shoppers.

Just in time for the crucial holiday shopping season, the company is testing a discount program from Cellfire that will allow Penney’s Houston-area shoppers to use their cell phones to download coupons that can be presented at checkout for savings.

Starbucks’ cafe-to-market coupons


coupon-0211Starbucks cafes in the United States are handing out a limited number of coupon books designed to drive its cafe customers to grocery stores where the coffee chain’s ice cream, bottled drinks and coffee beans are sold.

“We started in the coffee aisle. But the other aisles got jealous. So now, we’re all over the grocery store,” reads the little brown book of coupons, available now in company-operated stores.

Check Out Line: Discounts, the choice of a new generation


Check out the “Downturn Generation.” 
That’s what data tracking firm Information Resources Inc is calling a “new generation of Americans (that) is adopting practices similar to Depression-era shoppers, implemented both to weather the recession and to keep a close eye on spending long after the recession ends.”
Basically, we want everything on sale.  And that means lots and lots off the original price.  The New York Times today pointed out how retailers are pushing deep discounts of 50 percent or more to attract shoppers.

According to IRI’s study, more than 69 percent of consumers surveyed say they are more likely to look through retailer ads for deals and nearly 82 percent are more likely to look for sale prices once in the store.
Also, it’s not just one store they are looking at.  Fifty-nine percent visit multiple stores for the lowest prices, and 42 percent of those shoppers will continue to do so into the future.
Just under two-thirds (65 percent) say price is becoming more important than convenience in brand purchases.
Oh, and along with this new frugality comes another benefit: sharing is in and for some people it could stay.

Check Out Line: Love those coupons


grocery1Check out how U.S. consumers are eyeing their junk mail ever more closely for coupons to save money during the recession, particularly on groceries and entertainment.

Consumer expect a 10 to 25 percent discount in coupons sent by mail, according to a study by U.S. mail services provider Pitney Bowes and DMNews, a trade publication that covers direct marketing.

Check Out Line: Back to basics


PHILIPPINES/Check Out those price cuts.

While the holiday season celebrations have ended, shoppers are still bargain-hungry.  We haven’t seen major price cuts on hot items like the iPhone or Wii, though there does seem to be a trend brewing in bargain basics.

Here are just a few of the deals announced so far this week: 
Pennsylvania-based Weis Markets cut prices on thousands of items for 90 days at its 155 stores.
“With consumer confidence at an all-time low and the poor economy, we know that our customers are looking for long-term ways to save money,” said Weis Markets President David  Hepfinger.

Scissor savings


JPSIIProcter & Gamble is giving the gift of old school home economics this holiday season — coupons.

P&G, the world’s biggest consumer products company and advertiser, wants cash-strapped consumers to keep buying its products.  Its sales growth has slowed as shoppers use up what they have in their pantries rather than go out and buy more detergent and deodorant.

Drift to thrift


As the economy founders and the ranks of unemployed grow, shoppers are embracing their inner thrift.

According to a new survey of 1,500 U.S. adults from WSL Strategic Retail, 52 percent of respondents agreed with this statement: “I’m proud of all the little ways I’ve found to save money.”

More than half of the participants were using more coupons and reading store circulars more closely. Sixty-two percent said they are more likely to wait for a sale before making a purchase.

Women plan to spend less at department stores, mass merchants


shop.jpgLast month, in a poll conducted by SheSpeaks, a women’s insights marketing firm, almost 50 percent of respondents said they would spend less this holiday. That was up from nearly 30 percent who answered the same way last year.

In a new poll, SheSpeaks asks where shoppers intend to spend fewer dollars. Here are the results from the updated poll: