Tag: BTS

Source: Cape Talk

Stationery supplier Bidvest Waltons has responded to service complaints from Cape Town parents who did not get their back-to-school orders on time.

Some parents complained about failed deliveries, lack of communication and poor customer service.

Tessa Dowling, Cynthia Makwenyaa and Andrew Williams were among those affected by the delays.

They all described to consumer journalist Wendy Knowler how the stationery supplier had no boxes prepared despite their preorders.

When they arrived to collect the stationery sets, boxes were not labelled and many parents had to wait hours or return later for assistance.

Waltons says it will refund orders that were paid for but not received by customers.

Knowler says parents should use their collective power to push schools to review their agreements with stationery suppliers that don’t deliver.

If a school recommends a system that doesn’t deliver and fails to communicate, it’s up to the parents [to ask the schools] about what pressure they are putting on the service provider to up their game.

Below is the statement consumer journalist Wendy Knowler received from Waltons:

“We accept and sincerely regret the frustrations suffered by this customer but unfortunately, we do sometimes have glitches in a logistics operation of this nature and magnitude of the back to school one. While the issue is now resolved, we have also contacted our customer to apologise for the poor experience.

We assure you that we are committed to resolving all issues brought to our attention. To this end we have a dedicated mail address for customers to communicate with us which enables us to personally deal with queries:

bts2019@cape.waltons.co.za

In addition to our normal planning for this important part of our business which starts after the end of the current season, we review any issues which arose during the last season and also share experiences with other regions in order to continuously improve our service levels. Should any boxes or items not have been received but been paid for, we would obviously refund these amounts.

We are very proud of our involvement over so many decades in the back to school market and would thus like to express our thanks to all our customers for their continued support. We try to learn and so get better every year.

Thank you too for bringing this matter to our attention as any service let down is not acceptable to us.”

By Devon Koen for Herald Live

While nothing signals the end of the festive season more than the onslaught of back-to school advertising and with parents feeling the financial pinch after splurging over the past two weeks, The Herald conducted a flash price comparison on a number of school supplies.

With most retail shops dropping the price of school stationery staples drastically this week before the first term starts, items on the shelves at selected shops may change in the coming days.

Major shops visited this week included Pick n Pay Hypermarket at William Moffett Park, Game The Bridge, and Shoprite and Checkers Hyper at Greenacres.

All the shops visited have specials on various school stationery items, including those listed.

Eight generic items have been selected which are listed on most schools’ stationery supply lists issued to parents.

While you can expect to pay more than R200 for the items priced, Shoprite shows a marginally cheaper offering with a basket full of basic stationery adding up to R208.42, while the most pricey of the shops is Game at R255.92.

Below is a breakdown of the selected items and their pricing at the various retailers:

Staedtler HB Tradition pencils (3 pack)

  • Pick n Pay – R13,95
  • Shoprite – R14,99
  • Checkers – R28,99
  • Game – R14,99

Pritt glue stick (43g)

  • Pick n Pay – R35,95
  • Shoprite – R29,99
  • Checkers – R42,99
  • Game – R38,99

Butterfly A4 pocket file (30 pages)

  • Pick n Pay – R20,95
  • Shoprite – R32,99
  • Checkers – R21,99
  • Game – R22,99

Staedtler retractable wax crayons (12 pack)

  • Pick n Pay – R32,95
  • Shoprite – R33,99
  • Checkers – R33,99
  • Game – R38,99

A4 Office Paper White (500)

  • Pick n Pay – R61,99 (Rototrim)
  • Shoprite – R52,99 (Typek)
  • Checkers – R52,99 (Typek)
  • Game – R64,00 (Typek)

BIC ballpoint pens

  • Pick n Pay – R21,95 (3+2 free)
  • Shoprite – R13,99 (3 pack)
  • Checkers – R15,99 (3 pack)
  • Game – R20,98 (4+3 free)

Staedtler colour pencils (12)

  • Pick n Pay – R18,95
  • Shoprite – R18,99
  • Checkers – R18,99
  • Game – R41,99

A4 hardcover books (each)

  • Pick n Pay – R10,95
  • Shoprite – R10,49
  • Checkers – R11,99
  • Game – R12,99

By Daniela Forte for MultiChannel Merchant 

Back-to-school spending in the United States is projected to reach $27.6-billion this year or $510 per household, up slightly from $501 in 2017, according to data from Deloitte’s annual back-to-school survey.

The use of desktops and laptops is expected to lose share, with 49% of respondents this year saying they planned to do so, down from 53% in 2017, while mobile is projected to increase from 49% to 53%. In-store shopping is expected to be the preferred channel during back to school, representing $15.7 in total sales. The average spend for in-store purchases is projected at $292.

Clothing and accessories are expected to dominate at $15.1 billion in sales, followed by school supplies ($6 billion), computers and hardware ($3.7 billion) and electronic gadgets ($2.8 billion).

While demand and average spend is high for clothing and accessories at $286, the highest average planned spend for computers and hardware is slightly higher, at $299.

The survey revealed that children will likely influence over $21 billion in back-to-school spending, with 80% having a moderate-to-high influence in clothing and accessory purchases.

Online back-to-school shopping will be $6.3 billion, according to Deloitte, at an average spend of $115. Those undecided about which channel to shop in are expected to spend $5.5 billion, with an average spend of $104.

“The amount people plan to spend and tendency to shop in physical stores for back-to-school are consistent with last year, but retailers need to act fast for that $5.5 billion wild card,” says Rod Sides, VC for Deloitte LLP, and U.S. Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Leader, in a press release. “In just one year, previously undecided dollars have shifted dramatically by product category.”

Sides said, for example in 2017, 30% of people said they hadn’t decided if they would purchase computers online or in-store and that number shrunk 20% this year, most of it going online. In electronics, undecided spending dropped 10 percentage points, moving primarily into the stores.

Mass merchants are once again the most popular type of back-to-school retailer, cited by 83% of survey respondents, while price-based retailers (38%) and pure-play e-commerce sellers (36%) aren’t nearly as popular.

Shopping activity is expected to peak by early August, with about 90% of shoppers active from late July to early August, accounting for 66% of all sales. By period, shoppers are expected to spend $9.9 billion in the first two weeks of August and $8.1 billion in late July.

Parents who begin their shopping in July are likely to spend 20% more than late starters, Deloitte found. Early shoppers are more deal-seeking (40% vs. 27%) and mobile-savvy (55% vs. 50%) compared to late shoppers. They’re also bigger spenders, at an average outlay of $544, compared to $455 for later shoppers.

This year customers expect online and physical shopping experiences to be complementary. Fifty-six percent said they plan to research online before making in-store purchases, while 52% said they would purchase from online retailers who offer free shipping.

Less than 25% of respondents said they were likely to use social media during back-to-school season. Of those so inclined, finding promotions (cited by 63%) or coupons (59%) and browsing products (44%) were listed as their primary objectives.

Source: Business Wire 

Staples, the back-to-school specialty store, commissioned a recent survey, with parenting authority Fatherly, that discovered 85 percent of parents and 83 percent of children prefer to shop in-store during the back-to-school season. To help accommodate shoppers, most of whom find it important to interact with products before purchasing, Staples’ dedicated in-store specialists make the annual shopping trip as convenient, efficient and fun as possible.

“Staples plays a proud role in millions of families and teachers’ annual back-to-school shopping trips and we are excited to deliver a one-of-a-kind Staples in-store shopping experience,” says Amy Lang, Vice President, Store Experience, Staples. “As the Back to School authority, our store associates are eager to help parents get their children everything they need on their school lists to ensure a successful school year.”

The survey also revealed that the back-to-school shopping season is a way for parents to spend quality time with their children. More than 90 percent of parents surveyed said they allow their children to get involved in the aisles by having them read the lists aloud, and encouraging them to pick out their favorite colors and designs for the supplies they need.

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

BTS shopping will soon be in full swing, and parents are undoubtedly looking for ways to save money on school supplies.

According to a recent study from Ebates released by Consolidated Credit, 34% of Canadian parents surveyed will spend less than $100, and 22% plan to spend more than $200 per child.

Of the parents in British Columbia who were surveyed, 20% say they plan to spend more than $200 per child and 41% said they plan to spend less than $100 per child.

Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit, says that back to school season is one of the busiest shopping times of the year behind the winter holidays.

Parents with kids heading back to school this fall should make sure they take stock of what supplies they already have at home before going shopping.

“If you’ve got more than one child, that can get pretty expensive and take a bite out of your budget around this time of the year,” he says.

Schwartz suggests families go into stores with a plan and stick to it in order to keep costs down.

“Don’t go overboard. A lot of schools will provide lists that you need and sometimes those lists don’t come out until after school started,” he says.

Families should also go through their homes to take stock of what they already have and items they can potentially reuse.

“Recycle, reuse and rummage,” says Schwartz. “That means going through everybody’s backpacks from last year. Maybe you’ve got a drawer that you have in the house that’s full of pencils and pens and some of the staples that you might need and see what you can reuse there so you can avoid buying it altogether.”

Schwartz also suggests involving kids in the decision making process.

“Give them a budget. Give them a list. And perhaps even split some of the savings if they come in under budget,” he said. “It’s a fantastic learning tool for the kids around this time of year.”

Families should also keep an eye on any drops in price on items they’ve already purchased. Many stores will give shoppers back the difference.

According to research from MarketWatch, parents also make the mistake of shopping at dollar stores assuming they will have the lowest prices on everything, which isn’t always the case.

Big box stores can offer good deals on items by offering them as “loss leaders” for incredibly low prices. Their research also found that Amazon can also offer good deals if you buy in bulk but not necessarily on individual items and that a majority of consumers plan to shop both online and in-store.

By Ross McLaughlin & Carly Yoshida for www.bc.ctvnews.ca

The back-to-school (BTS) season is characterised by many things: the collective dread of students losing their newfound summer freedom; parents sharpening their fangs in preparation for the hunt; and major retailers stocking up for what will soon become a battleground. Paper, pencils, pens, erasers, notebooks and much more are the upcoming spoils of war and everybody wants a piece.

Let’s take a look at how consumers may behave, along with the retailers that will likely experience high activity in the weeks to come.

What is the back-to-school season?

The BTS season is the time of year during which parents buy school supplies and clothing for the upcoming school year. This time period generally lasts from mid-July until early September, with Labor Day usually serving as the symbolic beginning of the school year.

Department stores generally respond to this time period by issuing sales for these items in order to compete with rivals for foot traffic. Although costs vary, this time of year is hectic for both parents of kindergarteners and college students alike.

What does the research show?

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently released the results of their annual consumer survey concerning the 2016 BTS season. Overall, it shows that families are more likely to spend freely on school and college supplies this year. Although still focused on finding sales, families appear to be largely less worried about the economy now than before.

As per the NRF’s data, total K-12 spending is projected at $75.8 billion, up from the $68 billion total of last year. Families plan to spend an average of $673.57 on clothing, electronics and supplies, compared to last year’s $630.26.

Families of college students are spending an understandably higher average of $888.71, which is lower than the $899.19 of last year. However, total spending this year is projected at $48.5 billion, over $5 billion higher than last year, as more consumers enter this market domain.

A stronger economy is correlated with increased consumer confidence, and this year’s data reflects the likelihood that BTS shopping will remain as busy as ever.

Stocks to watch

Wal-Mart
Analysts have raised Wal-Mart earnings estimates upward for both Q2 and Q3 FY 2017, which each encompass roughly half of the BTS season respectively. Q3 Estimates currently stand at $0.94 in earnings per share compared to $0.93 just 60 days ago. Estimates for this fiscal year stand at $4.27 compared to $4.24 60 days ago.
Wal-Mart is the largest retailer on the planet with a growing online presence. Although the classification has some gray areas, NRF data shows that 60.5% of consumers plan to shop at discount stores, an umbrella that Wal-Mart does fall under.
Wal-Mart offers many sales early on in the season, and also price matches other BTS deals in order to remain competitive. It is likely that this goliath will continue to experience high foot track this season.
Wal-Mart currently sits at a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Target
Analysts have not revised estimates for this or next quarter, but one has revised estimates downward for this fiscal year. The current fiscal year estimate stands at $5.16, down one cent from estimates 30 days ago.
As of 25 July Target currently offers up to 15% off school supplies. However, these generally scale higher as September draws nearer. Target had guided estimates down for the current fiscal quarter, which they will report on in mid-August.
Although it has underperformed its industry peers, the BTS season provides an opportunity to serve as a much needed catalyst for Target, which currently sits at a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Costco
Analysts have overwhelmingly revised earnings estimates downward for FQ4, which ends in August. Current estimates stand at $1.73 in earnings per share, down from $1.78 60 days ago. Estimates for this fiscal year are also down to $5.29 from $5.30 60 days ago.
Costco has experienced disappointing comparable-store sales performance, and has missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate on revenue for six quarters in a row. Although COST continues to face stiff competition that could hurt margins, it remains a dominant warehouse retailer going into the BTS season.
For the last few years, Costco has reported increased net sales year-over-year in FQ4. Although it is difficult to attribute that solely to BTS shopping, it does likely play a role in the boost. Like other companies, Costco is also offering various sales on school supplies, which like the rest of its merchandise, the company offers in bulk.
Costco currently sits at a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Best Buy
Although estimates for the current quarter (ending in July) are down, there is 50% agreement in upward earnings estimate revisions for next quarter, which encapsulates BTS shopping. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has decreased a cent to $0.46 in the last 30 days, but the company has surprised on earnings for fourteen quarters in a row.
Best Buy faces stiff competition from industry peers, but offers numerous BTS deals on various devices that could bring in higher traffic and sales in the quarter to come. Either way, considering Best Buy’s current streak, outlook isn’t as bleak as it may seem.
Best Buy currently sits at a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Amazon
Amazon has experienced upwards earnings estimate revisions for both the current and next quarters. Current estimates stand at $1.14 and $0.96 in earnings per share, up from $1.10 and $0.93 respectively.

NRF data shows that 46% of consumers plan on doing some amount of BTS shopping online, up from 35.8% last year. Considering Amazon’s very strong position in the e-commerce industry, it is in position to benefit directly from this notable boost in online shopping activity.
Although Amazon offers items in all departments, the BTS season could still provide further support to what has already been an already amazing run for the company.
Amazon currently sits at a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Conclusion
Although not as major as the holiday season, the BTS season offers a lot of opportunity for many companies. I vividly recall going to the store as a child in the last week of August and seeing aisles upon aisles of empty shelves in the shopping aftermath.

The BTS season will surely benefit some companies more than others, but investors should keep an eye on its position as a potential catalyst over the next six weeks or so.

Source: www.nasdaq.com

The Back-to-School (BTS) season is officially underway in the United States, and more than one-third (34%) of consumers have already begun shopping, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) BTS Consumer Spending Survey.

Consumers still prefer physical stores for BTS shopping, with 83% of their purchases involving physical stores, including 7% of purchases that will be made online and picked up in-store. Of those who will order online and pick-up in-store, 79% said they are likely to buy additional items once in the store.

Driving in-store BTS purchases in 2015 are the 42% of respondents who still prefer the opportunity to physically examine merchandise before purchasing, while 37% like the convenience of one-stop shopping. The importance of omnichannel continues to grow significantly, as 79% of respondents plan to use a mobile device while shopping in-store for BTS.

Of those planning to use a mobile device while shopping in a physical store, 44% will use their phone to compare prices, 28% will use digital coupons, 26% will check ratings and reviews, 24% will check inventory and availability of items and 17% will email or text friends and family for a second opinion on an item. As expected, millennials are the most likely demographic to use their smartphones while shopping.

“Retailers are enjoying a strong start to the BTS shopping season after a sluggish first quarter of 2015,” says Jesse Ton, spokesman for ICSC. “While typically viewed as an essential expenditure, BTS shopping also highlights many of the trends occurring in the shopping center industry. As physical spaces merge with digital to further enhance the omnichannel experience, consumers are shopping in physical stores, participating in webrooming and using mobile technology at shopping centers. It’s good news as we progress into the all-important latter half of the retail calendar.”

The share of consumers expecting to spend more this year increased significantly year-over-year to 67%, compared to 50% of shoppers in 2014 and 39% who expected to increase spending in 2013.

When discussing why consumers plan to spend more this year, 29% of respondents stated it was because of a need to replace wardrobes and school supplies, while 30% cited a change in school requirements. Additionally, 12% of respondents plan to spend more to keep up with changing fashion trends.

BTS shoppers are planning to buy a variety of products, including school supplies (76%), apparel and shoes (75%), electronics – including computers, phones, accessories and wearables (53%), backpacks and bags (45%) and eyeglasses (22%).

Marketing, deals and trends drive BTS shopping

Marketing appears to be the main driver of BTS shopping, as 74% of consumers report that they will likely start BTS purchasing when advertisements from major retailers begin to appear. While those cues from advertising play a major role in consumers’ decision to start BTS shopping, the survey found that nearly half (46%) of consumers believe they will get the best deals in August, compared to 30% in July and 15% of respondents who believe the best deals will be found Labor Day weekend or in September.

The results show August leading the BTS season, with 53% of BTS spending taking place in late summer, and the remainder of shopping split between June (10%), July (21%) and September (17%).

Discount retailers prevail

ICSC found that discount stores are still the leading BTS shopping destination, with 77% of consumers turning to discount retailers for their BTS shopping needs. Another of this year’s winners is apparel stores, where one-quarter (25%) of consumers plan to shop this season.

Overall, BTS shoppers plan to shop at a variety of store types that also include office supply stores (40%), online-only retailers (29%), department stores (38%) and wholesale clubs (22%). Only five percent of respondents indicated they would use catalogues.

When choosing a retailer, the top three factors indicated were price (76%), convenience (48%) and quality (41%).

Beyond a place to shop

The survey found that most BTS shoppers (88%) plan to go to a mall or open-air shopping center during the BTS season, and many will do more than shop. More than half (53%) of shoppers surveyed plan to dine at the food court and nearly one-third (30%) plan to eat at a table-service restaurant, while 28% will see a movie and 17% will attend an event such as a concert, go to the gym or do an activity such as bowling.

Source: www.businesswire.com

Office Depot has announced the launch of its Binder Recycling Programme, encouraging shoppers to help preserve the environment by recycling old binders.

Shoppers can bring any old empty binder to an Office Depot or OfficeMax retail location and receive a $2 instant discount off a same-day binder purchase.

The programme is in partnership with TerraCycle, a company whose primary objective is to recycle waste that is typically considered non-recyclable. Consumers find recycling to be the most easily understood component of sustainability, and Office Depot is partnering with TerraCycle to help consumers participate in the movement for a more sustainable planet.

“We’re excited to partner with TerraCycle this back-to-school season as parents, teachers and students prepare for the school year with new supplies,” says Ron Lalla, executive vice-president of merchandising for Office Depot.

“The programme provides a way to recycle binders in an environmentally conscious way while also offering a discount to shoppers who are looking for new ones.”

Customers can recycle as many binders as they wish and can receive instant discounts for up to six binders per day. The offer is only valid in-store at Office Depot and OfficeMax retail locations.

Source: www.businesswire.com

The back-to-school season is a crucial time for the traditional supplies industry, accounting for 35% of the $11,8-billion in yearly sales and nearly half of unit sales in the US, according to global information company The NPD Group.

While the season’s importance to the industry is consistently high, at the same time how and where consumers shop, combined with other influencers from teachers to online shopping, is shaking up the industry.

“To the average consumer, back-to-school shopping may seem like a fairly consistent and predictable routine, but for retailers and manufacturers it is an extremely dynamic environment,” says Leen Nsouli, director, office supplies industry analyst, The NPD Group.

Birth of a back-to-school season online
While back-to-school shoppers are still shopping primarily at brick-and-mortar, they are increasingly purchasing supplies online. From July through September 2015, the e-commerce channel gained $90-million in dollar share growth versus brick-and-mortar.

“Consumers are spending more online and it is occurring later in the season, with a seasonal arc forming from the first week of August and lasting through mid-September. Back-to-school online share will continue to grow, making it even more essential for retailers and manufacturers to optimize their omni-channel strategies,” says Nsouli.

Shifts in school start dates and tax-free holidays
School start dates differ by region and grade level around the US, causing variations in spending patterns and influencing when consumers are in stores and shopping for supplies.

Areas such as New York and Seattle are among the latest start dates, while Atlanta and Phoenix are among the earliest. This year there will be two less shopping days between the Fourth of July and Labour Day. “Each year back-to-school spending occurs later, and a late Labour Day holiday in 2015 pushed out the spending even later than prior years. I anticipate this will also be the case this year,” says Nsouli.

At the same time, there will be differences in the handful of states that offer tax-free days during July and August. This year there will be nine less days by state versus 2015, and some others have shifted their days. This pertains not only to brick-and-mortar stores; e-commerce sites will also be offering tax-free savings on items. “All of these factors reinforce the importance of timing for retailers and manufacturers as they plan their assortments, in-store and online merchandising, and back-to-school marketing campaigns,” added Nsouli.

Influence of school lists and supply packs on purchases
“With 70% of teachers providing school lists and 30% offering school supply packs, it is no surprise that these are the primary stimuli for back-to-school supply purchases,” says Nsouli. K-6 school list items vary by region, which impacts the demand and sales for certain items in those areas.

For example, a higher percentage of thesauruses are on school lists in the Northeast, and watercolours in the West, according to NPD’s Back-to-School Supply List Database 2015. There is also a regional relevance when it comes to school supply packs, which are offered to parents for purchase by the school. According to NPD’s Back-to-School Monitor 2015, nearly 50% of consumers with this option purchased one for all or some of their children.

Inspiration from social media
“Social media engagement has added yet another dimension to every industry and season, and back-to-school is no exception. A perpetual stream of trends on platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram means that teachers and other consumers alike are being influenced in new and different ways. This has also helped to put the fashion back in function when it comes to supplies; consumers are willing to spend more on aesthetically pleasing, or fashionable, products,” says Nsouli.

In fact, last year NPD found that over one-third of US teachers used Pinterest and 20% used Facebook for classroom curriculum and school list inspiration.

Source: www.npd.com

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