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Sarah Mahoney

While football viewership has been declining, the National Retail Federation is predicting another record Super Bowl, with more than 179.1 million people expected to watch the Feb. 3 matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

That’s the most ever in the nine-year history of the NRF survey, and an increase from 172.5 million last year.

And on average, game watchers will spend $68.54 each, buying everything from guacamole and wings to team jerseys and new TVs. All told, Super Bowl spending is likely to reach $12.3 billion. read more »


Holiday Retail SeasonWith a solid back-to-school season behind them, retailers are ramping up for the holiday period, and a new forecast from ShopperTrak is predicting a good one.

The Chicago-based company, which analyzes foot traffic as well as sales at leading malls, says it expects that U.S. retail foot traffic will climb 3.3% in November and December, with actual sales getting a 2.8% bump.

It expects apparel — a perennially popular category for gifts — to be especially strong, with sales rising 4% and foot traffic advancing 3.5%. Things won’t be so busy in the electronics aisle, however: It expects a steep 8% decline in foot traffic, but a 1.5% rise in sales. (In part, the company says that’s due to consumers increasingly buying electronics and appliances online.) read more »


While there’s no arguing that digital channels are increasingly important in retail, new research from Forrester indicates that physical stores are still the most important way that Americans shop.

Social media, however, turns out to be a bit of a bust, with only 1% of the Forrester sample naming Facebook as a top-three resource. (Twitter fared about the same.) And even among the most digital researchers, only 7% used the Internet on their mobile phones to research a recent purchase, and 4% used the Internet on their tablet. (Its sample included 4,500 adults.)

So how exactly does digital influence the way shoppers behave, from product research to final transaction? Analyst Corinne Munchbach, who wrote the report, tells Marketing Daily a little more. read more »


Following one of the mildest flu seasons on record, retailers are fighting for American flu-fearers. In the latest move, Walmart says it is expanding its immunization program to include shingles and whooping cough, and that it has hired a battalion of nurses to administer the vaccines.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer, which claims to be the first national retailer to use registered nurses to administer vaccines, says it will now be offering 10 of the immunizations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control during flu events at 2,700 of its locations.

And flu and pneumonia vaccines will be offered at a total of 3,800 Walmart store locations. The company has hired the nurses through an agreement with Mollen Immunization Clinics’ nurse network, and says it will also use them to provide blood-pressure screenings at some of its immunization events next month. read more »


ShoppingNo matter how old a person is, getting a great deal on a good product is nice. But a new survey from Brodeur Partners finds that when Gen Y goes shopping, it is expecting an entirely different experience than are Baby Boomers.

Gen Y, those between the ages of 18 and 34, are more likely to wonder “What does this brand say about me?” and “How can I share this with people I know?” Boomers, on the other hand, are much more focused on practicalities, such as price and quality.

For example, a Gen Y shopper is twice as likely to say that their favorite retailer delivers an experience they’d like to share. And the ability to “make me smile” is one-third more important to Gen Y than to Boomers. read more »


Looks like America is longing for the Great Pumpkin this year: A new study from the National Retail Federation predicts that Halloween spending will jump to $5.8 billion, with the typical adult plunking down $66.28 - up $10 from last year.

This year, it’s not just about the little ghouls. Four of 10 adults — the most in the survey’s history — plan to dress in costume, up from 33 percent last year. And 11.5 percent of those in the survey will get their pets into the spirit of the holiday. (Petsmart already has a photo contest going, and its Howl-O-Ween Shop is featuring a Martha Stewart Mummy Dog costume, tandem looks, so you and your dog can dress alike, and canine lobster suits.) read more »


When it comes to power-shopping our way toward economic recovery, a new report from American Express says well-heeled young women are leading the charge.

“There’s certainly more fearlessness about spending among younger, affluent shoppers,” Ed Jay, SVP/American Express Business Insights, tells Marketing Daily. “And there’s been pent-up demand. But what surprised us most is that the biggest spending increases for these younger women were for other people — on gifts, charities, and children — as well as on fitness.” read more »


Now that retailers have spent much of the recession steadily pruning back the options they offer shoppers, a new study from the Nielsen Co. says they may be in for a rude surprise: More than half of U.S. shoppers say they’ll switch stores if they notice a reduced product selection in consumer packaged goods. (As a case in point, Wal-Mart has reportedly recently added back between 300 and 400 items to its grocery shelves alone, based on customer reaction.) read more »


As its core customers emerge from the recession, business is good again at Staples, allowing the company to focus on its growth plans.

“Five years from now, we’ll be more focused on our delivery business, with a higher mix of technology, and sell more private-label products,” Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman/CEO, told investors attending the 26th Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference. “There will be more services in our mix, because there is not a lot of inventory and the margins are great. And we’re going to grow internationally. We’re on a glide path to do all that.” read more »

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