Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday News & Notes

Tuesday's Reading List:
  • How Jenna Lyons Transformed J.Crew Into a Cult Brand (FastCo)
  • Big-box stores ramping up financial services offerings (Miami Herald)
  • Starbucks, Wal-Mart offering classes - for college credit (CNN Money)
  • Social Media Becomes Less Important to Teens; Prefer to Shop In-Store Than Online (MarketingProfs)
  • Kmart’s cheeky ‘Ship My Pants’ video goes viral, eyes TV run (Adweek)
  • The True Cost of Retail Fraud (LexisNexis)
  • Amazon Goes After Older Adults & Seniors With New Store (TechCrunch)
  • Retailers ramp up social media to win friends and influence shoppers (Internet Retailer)
  • Western Retailers Look for E-Commerce Opportunities in China (CKGSB Knowledge)
  • The big data revolution for retailers has arrived (CNBC)
  • U.S. Consumers Want a Seamless Shopping Experience Across Store, Online and Mobile that Many Retailers are Struggling to Deliver (Accenture)
  • U.S. Social Ad Revenues to Reach $11B in 2017 (BIA/Kelsey)

Target lowered first quarter guidance this morning due to "softer-than-expected sales trends particularly in seasonal and weather-sensitive categories across the store."

Even as much of the country got a “strong shot of spring weather with high temperatures reaching into the mid 80s as far north as Pennsylvania." last week according to Weather Trends International, unseasonably cold weather will no doubt be blamed for disappointing earnings from other chains in the coming weeks.

Retailers have gotten much better at inventory management since the depths of the recession, and we have yet to see aggressive promotional activity in our channel checks for spring and seasonal merchandise. Most chains are hoping a return to more typical seasonal weather patterns will trigger some pent-up demand on the part of the consumer.

However, it's worth noting that year-over-year inventory growth (excluding autos) is starting to outpace sales growth, especially at apparel and general merchandise stores, which could spell margin pressure in the coming quarters.

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