Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Grocery shoppers making their lists, checking them twice


PHILIPPINES-ECONOMY/CONSUMPTIONCheck out consumers’ discipline when shopping for groceries.

Most U.S. households have already made the majority of their purchasing decisions before they even enter a grocery store, and rarely buy on impulse, said market research firm NPD Group.

According to a new NPD report, 94 percent of households prepare a written shopping list before they go shopping, and 72 percent of shoppers never, or only occasionally, buy items not on the list.

“For food and beverage manufacturers and retailers, it’s all about getting on the list,” said Ann Hanson, executive director of product development for NPD and author of the report.

“With so many purchasing decisions being made at home where meals are being planned and shopping lists assembled, it’s important to focus on the consumer at home before they leave for the store.”

Window shopping on the iPad, brought to you by eBay


eBay_iPad_1Shopping in front of a computer or small hand-held device got you down? EBay says it has the answer with its new iPad app, completely redesigned for ultimate browsing on Apple‘s hippest new tablet.

The app has already been downloaded “tens of thousands” of times  since the launch of the iPad on Saturday, said eBay’s vice president of mobile, Steven Yankovich. Currently, eBay is No 11 in the list of free iPad apps, he said.

Paper? Plastic? At Walmart, the push for reuseable


wmt smallbag 006Three Walmart stores in Northern California are no longer giving shoppers the option of packing their purchases in free plastic bags.

Instead, in stores in Folsom, Citrus Heights and Ukiah, Walmart is offering shoppers resuable bags — a regular sized bag for 15 cents or an oversized bag for 50 cents.

Target pops up, but this time with a focus on price


tgt1Target is a big fan of the pop up store, setting up miniature versions of itself for a few days so shoppers can buy its wares, often in cities where it does not have a large presence.

A year ago, right before the financial storm hit Wall Street in September, it set up “Bullseye Bodegas” in Manhattan, where it showcased exclusive merchandise by 22 designers.

Check Out Line: A Black Friday extravaganza!


HOLIDAYSALES/Today’s a serious shopping day for serious shoppers.

Black Friday is no longer a sport for the leisurely shopper. From our late-night rounds, it became clear that people were lining up all over in the dead of night (and some earlier than that!) not just for the fun of it but out of necessity.

While many of the stoutest shoppers were grimly determined to get their deals and get out, there was some fun and holiday cheer.

Nothing to do but eat? Click on the Reuters holiday shopping cornucopia!


Attention all eaters (and shoppers)!  USA/
Today, as the scent of turkey and spice wafts through your cozy abode ahead of the big meal, you may feel frustrated that your natural instinct to hunt and gather — remember our forefathers? — is thwarted by store opening hours. 
But never fear! You don’t have to wait for the stroke of midnight, when many retailers will open wide their doors. Assuage your instincts now by clicking on Reuters’ selection of holiday shopping stories, from women shoppers finally buying for themselves to food donations by Wal-Mart. Or how about a look at retailers vying for more full-price sales, or social media providing a boost to sales.
Reuters will be sending its reporters across the country to visit stores, interview shoppers and retailers throughout the long weekend, providing an advance look for investors, and shoppers, of how the crucial holiday sales season is shaping up.

(Reuters photo)

from Raw Japan:

Retailers do the limbo

JAPAN-ECONOMY/For some of Japan's retailers trying to jumpstart consumer spending, setting prices is like doing the limbo: How low can they go?

Japanese retailers reported mostly dismal first-half earnings results, with the industry stuck in a slump as shoppers remain reluctant to open their wallets even as the economy emerges from recession.

Check Out Line: Consumers spending again?


GERMANY/Check Out home-related retailers Sears Holdings and Williams-Sonoma reporting better-than-expected quarterly results. Does this mean consumers are feathering their nests again?

Somewhat, according to Barclays analyst Michael Lasser, who said Williams-Sonoma’s results were “an indication that upper-income consumers are spending a bit more, which is not surprising given the rally in the stock market and the stabilization in the housing market.”

Consumers shrug in the face of lean inventory


bored1Lean inventory may be the secret weapon that retailers are depending on to survive the holiday season with earnings intact.

But consumers don’t exactly seem to be quaking in their boots at the prospects of finding empty racks this Christmas season.

Need an inside source? Here’s eBay


insidesourceEBay, the online marketplace where shoppers can find anything from toys to cars to designer handbags, has launched a digital magazine. 
The magazine,, is geared to “inspired shoppers” and features stories based on what eBay’s millions of users are looking for, according to the publication.

It will feature articles, analysis and opinions from eBay shoppers and journalists. The site will also point to eBay’s most-watched and most-searched items.
“The Inside Source content will reflect what inspires us on eBay, from a profile of an art dealer discovering museum-quality pieces to a breakdown of the hottest trends in handbags,” said Managing Editor Meredith Barnett.
Perusal of the site revealed postings on a variety of topics, from Kim Kardashian’s style and cocktail rings for under $30 to Jane Birkin’s kitchen and items made of hemp.     
The magazine is part of the company’s recent marketing efforts to reenergize its marketplaces business, which competes with a host of e-commerce rivals, including