Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2013 02:06 PM
Hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert has made enough smart choices to become a billionaire, but one decision has surely been haunting him for some time now. When he decided to combine Kmart and Sears back in 2005 for $11 billion, there was no way he’d know that it would mean a continued downward spiral for his new company.
After all, Sears and Kmart were once retail titans. Now they are slowly being crushed by the likes of Walmart, Target, and online retailers of all stripes.
Sears, of course, has been doing all it can to survive. The company has tested localized personal shopping, taken its in-house brands – Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard – out of house, sold its Canadian real-estate holdings in October for $383 million, and even set up a whole section on its website using “undead” models to appeal to younger consumers. But nothing has turned it around.
Now Sears Holdings will follow through on an idea it floated back in October: spinning off clothing retailer Land’s End. According to the Chicago Tribune, the spinoff “will not raise cash for Sears but will allow Lampert to more efficiently chart a course for the two businesses, which compete for management time and capital within the Sears group.” Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 27, 2013 07:02 PM
Thanksgiving is a time to share with loved ones, express gratitude, and take stock of the ad frenzy that is holiday shopping. And with brands turning the clock forward on Black Friday promos, marketing teams are in an all-out race to grab the attention of savings-hungry consumers.
According to research from Shareablee, of the top 25 retailers on Facebook in the first half of November, Walmart accounted for 27 percent of the total shares by fans, followed by QVC with 9 percent, and Macy’s and Nordstrom at 8 percent. On Twitter, BestBuy is dominant with 30 percent of retweets in the category, followed by Nordstrom at 9 percent, Ebay and Target at 8 percent respectively and Walmart at 6 percent.
Target has outpaced all retail competition with six times more Black Friday posts than any other brand, while JCPenney’s one Black Friday post earned the highest level of engagement with over 54,000 likes, comments and shares.
Are you planning on braving the crowds? If so, here's some offers to keep an eye out for:Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 25, 2013 07:47 PM
Kmart has attracted enormous attention and generated lots of pithy remarks with its latest pun-ny TV ad, "Show Your Joe," which features six underwear-clad men ringing hand bells and "tolling" the stuff under their shorts to music as well, in no uncertain terms. But are the ads really giving Kmart a bigger share of holiday spending, or even selling more of the Joe Boxer briefs featured in the ad?
As Kmart struggles—even more than most other US retailers—with stagnant sales and fading brand equity, the temptation to push the envelope in its advertising even further was just too great for the Sears-owned brand and its agency, DraftFCB. Over the last several months, Kmart managed to create lots of buzz with earlier tongue-in-cheek commercial treatments titled "Ship My Pants" (say it out loud) and "Big Gas Savings" (likewise).
But "Show Your Joe" leaves nothing to enunciation or imagination. Wearing tuxedo jackets on top and only Joe Boxer briefs on the bottom, the guys swivel their hips ringing out "Jingle Bells" while things violently sway back and forth under their shorts. No surprise that the ad had received more than 13.5 million hits on YouTube as of Nov. 25.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 20, 2013 07:12 PM
John Lewis’ 2013 Christmas campaign in the UK, a seasonal rite of passage, is “a £7m multi-media festive extravaganza,” animated by Disney's Lion King artists and costing £1m alone.
It’s just one example of how high (and early) the bar is being set for branded holiday ads this year as shoppers around the world, weary from escalating costs-of-living and economic challenges, plan to spend only $800 this holiday season on gifts, down from $854 last year.
And so retailers are pulling out all the stops to get attention from consumers, hoping to draw them in with witty and charming ads and deep promotional discounts. UK advertisers alone are set to spend nearly $630 million on ads in the last three months of the year, while American brands got a head start, with Kmart airing its first holiday-related ad one-hundred days before Christmas. Indeed, advertisers seem to be heading back to the small-screen while maintaining a solid presence on social media to get the most out of holiday promotional efforts.
And that has led some brands to go above and beyond. From Kmart's controversial "Show Your Joe" ad to Best Buy and Marks & Spencer's celebrity-heavy campaigns, brands are working hard to get the attention of shoppers.
Here's some of the most extravagant holiday ads we've seen so far:Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2013 04:55 PM
Despite pulling off a relative comeback in the last year, Best Buy told shareholders Monday that they shouldn't expect the retailer's fourth-quarter results to be hugely profitable. With retailers grappling with slow consumer spending and the prospect of a grim holiday season, Best Buy said price-slashing tactics by competitors will force price margins to get very tight.
The Wall Street Journal notes that “the warning came after rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. this month revealed a series of aggressive holiday promotions that threatened to depress margins across the consumer-electronics sector.” Best Buy is going to open its stores on the evening of Thanksgiving, just like Walmart and several other major retailers, but it is keeping secret a lot of its discounts so that it won’t be undersold by competitors.
"If our competition is in fact more promotional in the fourth quarter, we will be too," CFO Sharon McCollam said during a conference call with analysts.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 09:14 AM
GM could see exit of CEO Dan Akerson next year, Reuters says.
Crocs considers ways to go private.
Snapchat becomes one of most sought-after tech businesses after reportedly turning down $3 billion buyout from Facebook.
AT&T creates mystery of locked, used iPhones.
Alitalia prepares restructuring aimed at getting more resources out of Air France.
American Airlines and US Airways set up major-airport route grab with their merger as deal cruises through courts.
Ateliers Pleyel stops piano production in France.
Baidu faces suits over video piracy.
Boeing sees unionists reject new labor deal for 777X production.
Burberry is weighed down by beauty business.
Cisco tells of big revenue dropoff in emerging markets.
Cracker Barrel shareholders reject activist's third bid to be on board.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 7, 2013 08:20 AM
Twitter prices IPO at $26 for today's launch.
Abercrombie & Fitch will increase styles, sizing to improve sales.
Nestle sells Jenny Craig.
Amazon offers olive branch to independent bookstores.
Bitcoin hits all-time high.
Facebook debuts new like and share buttons.
Fiat says Italy car market shows no signs of recovery.
Rob Ford, Toronto mayor, admits to using crack cocaine—while wearing an NFL neck tie.
GM expands online Shop-Click-Drive program nationwide.
Google is ordered to remove sex images by French court.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 6, 2013 04:55 PM
What happens when commerce trumps tradition? A lot of angry consumers (and employees).
That's what major retailers Kmart, Macy's, Walmart, Kohl's and others are finding out as they continue to blur the line between the Thanksgiving holiday and the major shopping event that is Black Friday. Kmart has put itself in the line of fire as it recently announced that it will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open for 41 straight hours through 11 p.m. Friday. Sears, too, will open up at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open through Friday, while Macy's bowed under pressure and for the first time, will open its US stores on Thanksgiving evening. Last year, Target fielded a steady stream of backlash after announcing it would open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
The trend is no doubt a reaction to the sluggish retail market as brands fear the lack of spending will continue through the 2013 holiday season. Brands are so worried, in fact, that they are not only launching their holiday campaigns early, but also their special holiday deals. Walmart kicked off its online promotion last week—one month earlier than usual.
But their concerns aren't unfounded. A National Foundation for Credit Counseling poll found that 53 percent of shoppers plan to spend less on holiday gift giving this year than they did in 2012, with one-third planning to spend nothing and only 3 percent intending to spend more.Continue reading...