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News for the retail industry | December 28, 2011

  Retailer Holiday Watch 
  • Best Buy apologizes for canceled holiday orders
    More-than-expected orders during Black Friday weekend led Best Buy to cancel orders in the days leading up to Christmas. The company apologized to irate shoppers. "There was an unacceptable delay between order confirmations and cancellations, and for that we are very sorry," a spokeswoman said. "The challenges related to this situation are being addressed." The Wall Street Journal (12/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Seasonal Trends 
  • Merchants wait for gift-card holders to spend
    About 80% of U.S. consumers bought gift cards this holiday season, up from 77% last year, according to NRF. Retailers hope recipients will turn out to spend their gifts this week, traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for gift-card redemption. The Wall Street Journal (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Do holiday season's sales signal a recovery?
    Strong holiday sales cheered merchants and industry analysts and spurred NRF to raise its estimate of sales growth to 3.8% earlier this season. But analysts say all the shopping may not equal a recovery -- retailers including Bloomingdale's and J. Crew sported deep day-after-Christmas discounts and one analyst says nearly half the season's expected growth may come from higher prices rather than shoppers buying more. USA TODAY (12/26), Bloomberg Businessweek (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Men led the last-minute shopping rush, merchants say
    About 37 million Americans hadn't started their shopping two weeks before Christmas, according to NRF, and many were men who waited until the 11th hour. Retailers say they saw a surge of Christmas Eve shoppers, and some say men made up about 80% of the crowd. "As a man, I just wanted to watch the game and get it over with and then come out and finish shopping basically," said one Kansas City, Mo., shopper. City, Mo. (12/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Merchants keep shelves leaner in budget-conscious climate
    U.S. retailers had record low inventories in October, and lighter imports heading into the holidays show they didn't beef up merchandise levels considerably heading into the holidays. In years past, that would have boosted merchants' ability to charge full price, but consumers' increased sensitivity to price could change that. The Wall Street Journal (12/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Shoppers across all income levels shop dollar stores
    Consumers looking to pack as much as possible under the tree recently ranked dollar stores as their second-favorite place to shop for the holidays, behind online retail outlets. Even consumers making $100,000 or more per year made 11% more trips to the dollar store than they did in 2008 and boosted their average purchase by 23%. (12/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Retailers in New York, London see similar seasonal challenges
    Retailers in London and New York City faced many of the same challenges that led to deeper discounting during the holidays, including inflation concerns and unseasonably warm weather that slowed sales of winter apparel, writes analyst Stacey Widlitz. Merchants from Gap to Debenhams marked down some seasonal merchandise up to 60% in recent weeks. CNBC (12/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Research and Releases 
  • As holiday returns hit stores, 9 in 10 shoppers say return policies are fair
    A recent NRF survey found more people are paying attention to and agreeing with retailers' return policies as nine in 10 Americans say they find return policies to be fair. NRF's 2011 Holiday Returns survey also found that more than 60% of holiday shoppers say they would provide a gift receipt most or some of the time -- the highest percent in the survey's history. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Maximize online post-holiday sales with search and social media
    Historically, the days immediately following Christmas have been intense shopping periods for consumers looking to take advantage of sales, return items that weren't quite right or spend gift cards. In a recent post on the blog, Head of Research Fiona Swerdlow shares four tips on how to maximize online sales following the holiday season. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Product announcements appearing in SmartBrief are paid advertisements and do not reflect actual NRF endorsements. The news reported in SmartBrief does not necessarily reflect the official position of NRF.
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