Tag: retailers

South Africa’s general retailers index posted its biggest daily loss in nearly two weeks on Monday, capping gains on the bourse after ratings downgrades last week knocked the rand currency, raising the prospect of inflation curbing consumption.

The rand extended its recent losses as the credit downgrades to “junk” by two ratings firms last week following the sudden firing of the finance minister kept investors jittery.

The general retailers index shed 2.77% on Monday, bringing its decline to around 12% since March 27 when President Jacob Zuma recalled finance minister Pravin Gordhan from an overseas investors roadshow, before firing him in a cabinet reshuffle.

Massmart, majority-owned by Wal-Mart, lead the way, falling 4.85%.

“It looks like people are starting to realise that these downgrades will cause the economy to slow down, that’s generally a negative for retailers,” said Cratos Capital equities trader Greg Davies.

Overall, the market closed higher. Advancers included Anglo American, which closed 1.6% higher after announcing it would sell its Eskom-linked thermal coal operations in South Africa for $166 million, marking an important step in strategic overhaul to sharpen its focus.

The broader All-Share index increased 0.54% to 53,139.86 points, while the benchmark Top-40 index added 0.73% to 46,422.49 points.

On the foreign exchange market, at 23:50 the rand traded at 13.9501 per dollar, 1.20% weaker from its New York close on Friday.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 climbed 7.5 basis points to 9.005%.

By Olwethu Boso for www.moneyweb.co.za

Australian retailers are woefully unprepared for the imminent entry of US tech giant Amazon and many could go under if they don’t lift their game.

The online goliath is due to hit Aussie shores this September but a new analysis shows almost a third of Australian retailers are blissfully unaware Amazon is preparing to set up shop.
Only 14 per cent have put any serious thought in to competing with global brand.
This blissful ignorance could be a huge mistake.

While some of the smaller retailers unaware of Amazon’s plans could be hit hard, an analyst told news.com.au one of Australia’s major stalwarts could suffer greatly: Woolworths’ struggling discounter Big W.

Amazon is hoping to launch in Australia in September.

The Commonwealth Bank Retail Insights Report, released today, found 49 per cent of retailers are unfazed by Amazon’s Australian push, with only 11 per cent seeing the company as a significant threat to their business.
Yet, in the US the so-called ‘Amazon effect’ has seen its share price skyrocket as shoppers flock online, while bricks and mortar retailers shutter shops.
CommBank’s National Manager of Retail, Jerry Macey, told news.com.au many Aussie retailers had no idea what they were in for.

“30 per cent of retailers said they aren’t even aware of Amazon and that was even bigger number for small companies, purely online stores, or retailers in rural areas.
“This is concerning when you consider the impact Amazon has had on the US, a very mature market.”
A third of retailers had no idea Amazon was coming to Australia, claims the Commonwealth Bank Retail Insights Report 2017

The key area where retail is falling behind is innovation.
CommBank measured levels of innovation across a range of Australian industries.

While half of Australian retailers were experimenting with new strategies to attract and retain customers — just above the all industry average — they still lagged behind the telecommunications, education and mining and sectors.

Worryingly, retail innovation was erratic, often uncoordinated and the value retailers were generating from trying new things was less than half that of the average of all other sectors.

“In retail, innovation is not holistic. There are small innovations, in one area of business, but if you look at strong innovators they are being innovative across a number of areas like marketing, organisational structure, product and process,” said Mr Macey.

The online innovations that were occurring in retail, like click and collect, weren’t game changing and were way behind industry leaders.

“Just look at Amazon Go — this is a physical store where you pick things off the self and sensors know what you’ve put into your bag and you can just walk out — that’s innovation,” he said.

Amazon has launched the Amazon Go trial supermarket where hi-tech sensors mean customers just grab products off the shelf and go, paying directly through their Amazon account.
Amazon has launched the Amazon Go trial supermarket where hi-tech sensors mean customers just grab products off the shelf and go, paying directly through their Amazon account.Source:Supplied
Geoff Dart, a retail consultant with DGC Advisory agreed Amazon would change Australian retail.
“They will have an impact. If you’re a retailer, you always have to assume the worst when Amazon comes in.”
The US company was the next wave in a retail revolution sweeping across Australia’s high streets and shopping centres already changed forever by the emergence of international fast fashion brands.
But, said Mr Dart, new competitors — such H & M, Zara, and Uniqlo — had already forced some home grown stores to buck up their ideas. As such, many were now far better prepared for the onslaught of Amazon.
“Australian retailers were very complacent, but if you look where they are now Myer has really lifted, and so have Kmart and Target.”
Myer now stock rival TopShop’s products in their stores.

Rather than battling against the overseas onslaught, Myer is now actively working with would be competitors — such as TopShop and UK department store John Lewis — by stocking their products.

However, there was one long standing Australian retailer that Mr Dart was worried about.
“Big W don’t know who they are in my opinion, they are stuck in the past while Amazon know who they are have a good customer proposition.”
In the six months to January, Big W’s sales slumped 6 per cent while its earnings fell 137 per cent leading to a loss of $27 million.
News.com.au contacted Big W to ask how they were innovating, fighting back against increased competition and bringing in new customers. The company chose not to comment.

Following Woolworths’ closure of the Masters home improvement chain late last year, speculation is rife that the company is preparing the ground for either a sell-off or float of Big W.
Nevertheless, Mr Dart didn’t think Amazon would get a completely free ride when it lands.
While last week Fairfax reported that Amazon is planning to “destroy the retail environment in Australia”, Australia’s huge size and relatively small population would mean Amazon’s warehouse and distribution costs would be higher compared to other markets.
In particular, Mr Dart said Amazon would struggle in a key area which will please Coles and Woolies.

“They’re going to fail at food. Australians are very conservative when it comes to food and if they have a bruised banana in their delivery, Amazon is going to have to replace it and that’s not going to happen.”
For Australian retailers, their trump card was their store network, he said, as it gave brands a presence on the ground. Mr Dart predicted further consolidation in the sector, citing JB Hi Fi’s recent purchase of The Good Guys.
But the real innovation could be if competitors started working together to combat the international online threat.

“Retailer co-operation is a big opportunity. Why couldn’t you pick up a JB laptop you have ordered online from a Bunnings or Kmart? All of them have fixed costs and want to amortise that and one way of doing that is to increase traffic and people picking up goods is a way to do that.”

Mr Macey said some Aussie retailers were being ingenious at innovation.
He cited efforts to ‘personalise’ the shop by allowing customers to visualise online a new rug in their living room, say, or how they would look wearing a new shirt.
However, on the whole, retailers needed to have an innovation reality check.

“Retailers need to be honest in where they are in terms of their ability to innovate. They need to take advantage of changes in the marketplace, experiment, not be afraid to fail but if they do fail, fail fast and inexpensively.
“Retailers need to build a innovation culture and be agile and creative in the future.”

By Benedict Brook for www.news.com.au

As brick-and-mortar retailers seek to turn their physical stores into an asset instead of a liability to compete against online retailers, they will need to make sure they are heeding the demands of today’s increasingly mobile phone dependent consumers.

For one, while studies have showed in-store shopping remains important to a majority of shoppers, an International Council of Shopping Centers survey released on Monday showed that more than three-fifths of consumers expect that by 2020 they will actually prefer to be left alone to do their own thing while in stores instead of engaging with a sales person. The only caveat: stores have to provide easy access to products and sizes available there.

ICSC didn’t respond to a request for more details on any historical and other findings of the survey.

The survey of more than 1,000 people in February conducted by Opinion Research Corp. for ICSC also found more than half of the consumers said they prefer to virtually see how home furnishings and accessories fit in a home before they make a purchase. Separately, more than half said they want to compile a shopping list on a store app and receive a floor map to locate products.

The survey also showed how much consumers have come to rely on click-and-collect services, and how mobile is a key part of the experience: Nearly three-quarters of shoppers said they’ve made a purchase using their mobile device and picked up the product in store. Not surprisingly, millennials were even more likely than the average, with 87% of them saying they had made mobile purchase to pick up in store.

More retailers are trying to turn that to a traffic-driving weapon.

“We introduced buy online and pick up in store and buy online and ship to store” without any shipping fee, Crate & Barrel COO Michael Relich said in an interview earlier this year. “We are trying to use that to drive store traffic. When they come in, we give them bounce-back coupons. They use our stores as a showroom first. We actually see a lot of transactions start in one channel and finish in another. Brick and mortar is good for us.”

While retailers such as Crate & Barrel are capitalizing on the shifting consumer behavior, a late 2016 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for JDA, a supply chain software provider, showed that most retailers are still behind when it comes to designing a digital strategy that would give them a leg up in winning consumers’ wallet share.

Against the backdrop that some retailers are debating the economics of whether to use their mobile sites or roll out their own apps to target shoppers, the ICSC survey suggested there’s demand for retail apps: 71% of consumers said they have one or more retailer apps on their phones and 74% of them access them at least once a week. Some 86% of millennials accessed a retailer’s app weekly, outpacing 74% of Generation X and 61% of Baby Boomers.

In another sign there’s room for growth for voice-activated personal assistants like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, 37% of consumers said they’ve used a digital assistant to build shopping lists or to place orders for in-store pickups. The survey also offered an encouraging sign for mobile payment: 35% of survey respondents said they’ve used that feature.

With personalization a key buzzword for retailers seeking to stand out and offer a product or service only available in their stores, the survey indicated it’s time for them to take a closer look at prices: more than two-fifths of consumers said they are open to the idea of retailers “personalizing” prices based on their shopping patterns and demographics.

By Andria Cheng for www.etail.emarketer.com

What does it take to make a mall successful?

There are many factors that contribute to the success – or otherwise – of a shopping centre, and getting the right tenant mix is right up there at the top of the list. The general manager of a major mall weighs in on what “tenant mix” really means.

“First impressions count,” says Olive Ndebele, general manager of Pretoria’s Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, the largest mall of its kind in Africa following its two-year R2-billion redevelopment. “We want our customers to be blown away by what we’re offering. We want them to find not only everything they need under one roof but also to be absolutely thrilled by the many, many additional ‘nice-to-have’ and unique offerings they’ll find at Menlyn Park Shopping Centre.”

To achieve this objective, says Ndebele, you have to know the mall catchment area and exactly who your mall will be servicing, and that’s generally the community in which it is located – although the very popular Menlyn Park Shopping Centre is also a magnet to residents of the outlying suburbs of Pretoria, the large contingent of the foreign businesspeople and diplomats who live in South Africa’s executive capital city, and keen shoppers from the African diaspora including Sadec and Sub Saharan Africa.

“You have to ensure there’s as close a match between the needs of your target markets, their buying capacity, and the kinds of tenants present in your mall,” says Ndebele. For this reason, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre management conducted extensive market research in order to have insights the demographics, needs, size and disposable income of their target markets, as well as their aspirations and preferences.

But getting the tenant mix right isn’t important just to bring feet into the mall. It’s vital for the tenants themselves too. “Ideally, you want complementary stores feeding off each other, meeting shoppers’ needs and enhancing revenues,” Ndebele says.

Niche retailers, which are the many little stores that provide the variety in a shopping centre, don’t usually have large marketing or advertising budget, so they rely on the larger retailers in the mall to bring in the customers. “Anchor tenants, which are generally grocery offerings in South Africa, bring the critical mass into the mall,” Ndebele explains. “If, as a shopping-centre manager, you get the right anchor tenants, the smaller retailers will feel reassured that a certain type of consumer will definitely be visiting the mall, and that the footcount will therefore be assured to at least a certain degree, and that will probably encourage them to set up shop in your mall.”

These retailers include what Ndebele calls the “non-retail services”, such as (in the case of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre) a Fives Futbol, Fun company, a speciality store, a dry-cleaner, a barber, an internet-browsing store, a travel agent and an e-toll outlet. “These offerings ensure a more holistic approach to our tenant mix, and they do also contribute invidually to the mall’s footcount,” she points out.

And there are a couple of further important criteria when it comes to tenant mix: where your tenants are located, and how much space their shops take up are also vital. “Your customers don’t want to have to walk from one end of a shopping centre to another to tick off specific items on their shopping list,” Ndebele says, “which is why, for instance, at Menlyn Park Shopping Centre we’ve grouped all the large anchor grocery stores together in Grocery Avenue. This ensures a very accessible, convenient experience for consumers who may want to visit two or three large retail grocery outlets to fill their exact needs.”

The same applies, says Ndebele, to the mall’s Fashion Wing, where cutting-edge fashion brands are grouped together over three levels; and the new spacious food and entertainment area, with popular eateries clustered together, offering a very wide choice within a pleasant space where customers can linger.

And on that subject, says Ndebele, “We must bear in mind that malls are no longer primarily about simply shopping. When consumers visit malls, they’re looking beyond traditional shopping – they also want relaxing and entertaining experiences. So, ideally, you want to maintain a good balance between all the categories in a shopping centre – between food and beverages, fashion and beauty, electronics, groceries, and entertainment, plus a healthy number of smaller ‘non-retail’ offerings. This side of getting the mix right is as much an art as it is a science.”

The bottom line, says Ndebele, is finding the sweet spot for your customers between convenience and experience. “And mall management must never forget that all tenants affect footcount – both the big destination stores that anchor a mall, and the smaller ‘impulse-buy’ and ‘non-retail’ stores that make up the mix.”

Amazon.com said on Monday it has opened a brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle without lines or checkout counters, kicking off new competition with supermarket chains.

Amazon Go, the online shopping company’s new 1,800-square-foot (167-square-meter) store, uses sensors to detect what items shoppers have picked off the shelves and sends a bill to their Amazon accounts if they do not replace them.

The store marks Amazon’s latest push into groceries, one of the biggest retail categories it has yet to master. The company currently delivers produce and groceries to homes through its AmazonFresh service.

“It’s a great recognition that their e-commerce model doesn’t work for every product,” says analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research, noting that physical stores would complement AmazonFresh.

“If there were hundreds of these stores around the country, it would be a huge threat” to supermarket chains, he says.

The S&P 1500 food retail index, which includes Kroger Co, Whole Foods Market Inc and other companies, was down 0.5 percent at the close. Shares of Amazon closed up about 2.6 percent.

Amazon Go is available now for employees of the company and is expected to be open to the public early next year, Amazon says.

If tests are successful, Amazon plans to open more than 2,000 grocery stores, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing sources. The company is considering other store formats, including one that would let drivers pick up goods at the curbside, the report says.

Amazon declined to comment on the report.

“The checkout lines are always the most inefficient parts of the store experience,” says Neil Saunders, managing director of retail research firm Conlumino. “Not only would you save a lot on labor costs, you actually would make the process much quicker for consumers and much more satisfying.”

Still, the grab-and-go experience would take getting used to, he says.

Some people may “feel like they stole” an item, Saunders says.

Apart from groceries such as bread and milk, the store also offers ready-to-eat meals made fresh by on-site chefs and local kitchens and bakeries, Amazon says.

That would make Amazon Go a potential competitor to fast-casual dining chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc as well.

Amazon Go is not the first physical store for the e-commerce company to open.

It has a book store in Seattle, as well as pop-ups at malls where it displays Amazon devices such as the Kindle.

Source: www.businesslive.co.za

The changing face of customer loyalty

Customer loyalty has evolved. Shoppers now enjoy a fast-paced lifestyle filled with digital interactions and expect to be rewarded immediately. Retailers, on the other hand, can get caught up with their department objectives and lose sight of the customer’s overall experience.

What’s more is that some brands have seen loyalty programmes as a data-driven quick-win to amass customer loyalty. But research has shown that genuine loyalty is rooted in a certain emotional connection. Companies have to thus offer more than benefits to foster customer engagement.

As the digital and physical worlds continue to converge, it will be essential to identify the customer journey and integrate all relevant data sources across every touchpoint. With data-based mapping of customer journeys, brands can better understand customers even before they decide to shop. They can define the available alternatives, and who they share their experiences with.

This understanding will inevitably help customers select, purchase and enjoy products and services , all while enhancing the customer experience – every time across every channel.

The relationship between customers and retailers is now far more complex. But there are ways to make sense of it. In order to provide long-term value to shoppers, retailers need to understand their customers’ journeys to ultimately satisfy their needs. Collecting, analysing and drawing actionable insights to form customer strategies enables retailers to make customer-centric decisions.

By Ella Simpson for Total Customer

The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in the Department of Economic Development (DED) has called on retailers in Dubai not to increase prices of school stationery in view of the back to school season.

CCCP officials will conduct an inspection campaign in the coming days to increase consumer awareness and ensure that retailers abide by the listed prices.

The initiative is meant to emphasise the importance of transparency and trust between traders and customers as well as enhancing business competitiveness in Dubai.

CCCP cautions retailers that violation of stationery price regulations noticed during inspection visits or following consumer complaints will attract fines.

Officials also call upon consumers to ensure that they are not made to pay a higher price for school stationery and to report if they notice any such attempt by retailers.

Ahmed Al Awadi, Director of Consumer Protection Division in DED said: “A few traders take advantage of the overwhelming demand for school supplies and stationery during the back to school season and unscrupulously increase prices of such items.

“For any change in prices, traders should obtain prior permission from the Department of Economic Development and price list should be displayed prominently in the store and all promotional brochures.”

Al Awadi said inspection campaigns will be conducted to detect any unauthorised price rise and verify the retailer’s commitment to price regulations.

He said: “School supplies account for 50 per cent of the stationery sold during the back-to-school season. We call upon consumers to ask for the invoice on any purchase and retain a copy to be produced in the event of any complaints later.

“If the retailer refuses to give an invoice, the consumer must notify us on the Ahlan Dubai number 600 54 5555 displayed in the outlet or visit the DED office at the Business Village.”

Al Awadi said DED seeks to strengthen the relationship between the merchant and the consumer and to clarify the procedures, which are meant to uphold the highest standards in service and customer happiness in line with the UAE Consumer Protection Law.

In doing so, DED applies the best practices and principles in customer service and sees that consumers are not exploited during seasonal increase in demand.

Source: www.emirates247.com

High-fashion brand goes back to school

The fashion brand Kate Spade is most known for luxury handbags. But it is also banking on gold-accented staplers, monogrammed planners and R450 ballpoint pens to help buoy sales during the increasingly important back-to-school shopping season.

The discount retailer Dollar Tree is also expecting students and their parents to lift sales, particularly after an unusually weak second quarter. But instead of fancy notebooks, it is focusing on the other end of the price spectrum, like R15 packs of tape, glue sticks, and pencils.

As the income gap in the United States has turned into a chasm, luxury and discount retailers have become increasingly deft at attracting people at the separate ends of the income spectrum. Stores positioned for the middle, like traditional department stores, have struggled by comparison.

These days, that divide extends more than ever to what students wear and carry with them to their school lockers.

“Both luxury retailers and value stores, like dollar stores, are benefiting right now from the back-to-school trend,” says Jharonne Martis, a retail analyst with Thomson Reuters. “They’re really benefiting from their core consumer.”

Parents expect to spend an average of $673.57 on electronics, clothes and notebooks this year, compared with $630.36 last year, according to the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group. In total, parents of kindergarten through 12th-grade students say they will spend $27,3-billion on school supplies this year, up from $18,4-billion in 2007.

The back-to-school season is the second-biggest shopping period of the year, behind Christmas. But while families will spend more than before, how they will do it — and where they will do it — varies widely.

A growing list of designer notebooks, luxury desk accessories and even beanbag chairs now caters to wealthy back-to-school shoppers. Shoppers can buy a $195 Gucci headband, a $572 Versace backpack, and a $28 Terez pencil case on the back-to-school section of Saks’ website. Restoration Hardware has a new “teen” line that includes a $2,000 “riveted aluminum” desk and $250 faux fur beanbag chairs.

Martis said she expected Kate Spade’s desk accessories and stationery products to be a big focus this season, projecting that sales would rise 7 percent this quarter at stores open at least a year. (The company said it could not make executives available for an interview.)

But back-to-school items are also expected to buoy sales at discount retailers like T.J. Maxx, whose appeal is increasingly wide and which aim at the growing number of poor students and families in the United States.

In 2007, about 9-million public school students came from low-income households, according to the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. In 2014, there were more than 11-million, according to the most recent data.

Some of these families rely on backpack drives and other support from nonprofit or community groups. Many, though, are left seeking the best deals.

Retailers, including the discount stores, have responded by pushing bigger promotions earlier in the shopping season. That, in turn, has seemed to push people to do research on their own: Back-to-school search queries rose sharply the week of July 11, a full week earlier than last year, according to data released recently by Google.

Retailers who cater to middle-class consumers have been struggling, slashing prices in what has become an aggressive race to the bottom.

Sales at traditional department stores have slumped, and once-mighty institutions like Macy’s and Sears have had to close stores.

By Rachel Abrams for the New York Times

70th National Stationery Show a success

It was business as usual at the Jacob Javits Centre in New York City from 15 – 18 May, where the 70th National Stationery Show (NSS) treated retailers to a number of new products.

NSS has been held at the Javits Centre for almost 40 years, where it continued its focus on paper goods again this year, with gift items from candles to home goods also available to for retailers shopping the aisles. As stationery companies evolve, greeting cards and other paper products continue to showcase design, innovation and a personal quality designed to attract a wide range of retail buyers as well as consumers.

According to exhibitors and attendees, NSS showcased lots of new this year, with fresh exhibitors (#fresh) and lots of new noteworthy designs and products. According to exhibitors, traffic was strong and there was an optimistic vibe throughout the show. The NSS team had lots of fun events and promotions for its attendee audience as well.

Probably the most obvious trend at NSS this year was one that started here last May with a whisper and has grown exponentially throughout the year – colouring. From colouring books to gel pens to placemats and beyond, it was impossible to walk down an NSS aisle without seeing at least one exhibitor showcasing colouring products.

DCI introduced its Color Joy line-up, for example, with pillows, ceramics and even phone cases designed for colouring. International Arrivals expanded its line of colouring implements with watercolour pencils and chalk crayons, while companies such as KaiserCraft, Wellspring and Hester + Cook expanded their colouring collections as well, with table runners, calendars, pocket colouring books and posters.

This year’s show also presented trends that covered everything from pop culture and nature-inspired to social media-savvy and straight-up humorous selections, reflecting the opportunity to offer something for everyone.

For example, cards referencing the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” Snoop Dogg and Back to the Future were available at Meet Me in Shermer.

The (sometimes) darker humour of these cards is perfect for anyone who thinks their mom would “get” an Estelle Getty Golden Girls card for Mother’s Day. Tay Ham also returned to NSS this year with their quirky collection of personalities and sentiments with in-house, original illustration and a few characters like Miley Cyrus and Jon Snow.

Whether ornithology was their background or not, more birds flew in to NSS with classic black and white, water colour and illustrated designs of the feathery ones from Rally Culler, Elise Stadler and Susan LeVine.

Water colour was a theme seen throughout the show on greeting cards as well as journals and other paper products. The soft lines and colours of the medium continue to inspire designs that resonate with retailers and consumers.

From new designs to new products, inspiration was everywhere at NSS and exhibitors were rewarded with opportunities to flaunt their latest innovations.

Throughout the week, there were plenty of industry honours. NSS kicked off with the biggest one of all – the LOUIE Awards – on May 15. This year also marked the 75th anniversary of the Greeting Card Association’s premier awards event.

Among the winners in the 60 categories, two companies took top honours: Sunrise Greetings (Card of the Year, $4 and below category) and Rifle Paper Company (Card of the Year, $4 and above category).

This year’s 20th annual Best New Product Awards were also revealed and marked the first time that the NSS and the School of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), State University of New York (SUNY), collaborated on a special design for the Best New Product Awards display, located in the Crystal Palace at the Javits Centre throughout Show.

From nearly 600 eligible products, Printable Wisdom received the Best of Show award for The No Fuss Brush Calligraphy Starter Kit.

Next year, NSS will take place from 21 – 24 May.

Source: www.giftsanddec.com

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