As the recession drags on, more retailers are finding they cannot get consumers to buy much of anything unless they offer huge sales, symbolized by significantly high double-digit percentage discounts.
Americans are spending more on electronics like iPads and flat-screen televisions and less on durable goods like furniture, washing machines and lawn mowers, according to government data released Tuesday. The shift reflects a change in priorities for American consumers. After pouring money into all aspects of their homes during the previous decade, consumers are redirecting their purchases to eye-grabbing technology and socking away more of what's left over into savings. Apparel company executives are worried the lure of electronics will eat into their sales as the back-to-school season gets under way.
Toys R Us has announced a holiday layaway plan for shoppers, and I think it's one of the smartest new ideas I've heard in a long time...even if it's an old one. Customers can put away up to $2,500 in their Christmas Savers Club and Toys R Us will pay them 3% on whatever they've saved by October 31, at which point the funds can be used to shop for presents. Nevermind that 3% is more than double the average savings account yields available from banks these days, or that helping consumers plan ahead with their money borders on contributing to the public good. Or that Toys R Us can kick-off its holiday selling push by announcing some multi-million dollar giveback to its customers.
Wal-Mart is on a roll. Not only did it recently top Interbrand’s “The Most Valuable U.S. Retail Brands 2010” report, but the retail juggernaut is also claiming that every American consumer saves thousands of dollars a year just because there are 3,700 Wal-Mart stores across the country. Regardless of whether you never enter a Wal-Mart and do your discount shopping instead at a Target or somewhere else, Wal-Mart’s case states that shoppers save big bucks just because of the deflationary effects of its pricing on the entire retail economy.
7-Eleven is diving further into the private label sector. The convenience chain this week announced the expansion of its 7-Select private label line to include 15 bakery-type snack products. The new products include mini-donuts: Powdered sugar (six-pack and 10-ounce bag), chocolate frosted (six-pack and 10-ounce bag), and crunch (six-pack). The other additions are chocolate cupcakes, gold creme cakes, apple snack pies, cherry snack pies, iced honey buns and glazed honey buns. Several kinds of danishes round off the lineup, including iced cheese, iced cherry cheese, iced apple, and bear claw varieties.