Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Retail’s Monday morning quarterbacks


nutcracker.JPGCheck out the various descriptions of the 2009 holiday shopping season, which unofficially ended on Friday with Christmas. Analysts’ Monday morning reviews range from ”adequate” to “quite pleased”.

“All in all … Holiday 2009 was good enough, but has a long way to go with catching up to what the consumer really wants,” said NPD Group analyst Marshal Cohen. “And if the economy is truly to recover, not only does the housing and credit market need to recover, but the innovation market for retail products must recover as well.”

But  some retailers did show improvements in product assortments, according to UBS analyst Roxanne Meyer.

Meyer said women’s clothing chains gave their best showing in years in terms of product and promotions, with Urban OutfittersJ Crew Group and Chico’s FAS Inc on top, given their strong product assortments and lean inventories which allowed them to avoid steep, profit-sapping discounts.

Walmart takes to iPhones to find holiday shoppers


wmtiphone1Walmart has launched an aggressive push to win market share this holiday shopping season, cutting prices on everything from books to toys to lean ground beef and televisions.

Now, it is taking its effort to reach potential holiday shoppers beyond its typical TV or print ads.