The red Easy Button has made Staples the runaway leader in office retail. The five-year branding campaign began in 2001 and has helped make Staples a $16.1 billion business. In 2005, the company’s profit was up 18 percent to $834 million. Second-place Office Depot booked 2005 earnings of just $274 million, an 18 percent slide, and OfficeMax posted a loss of $73.8 million.
During the past 18 months, Wendy’s, the No. 3 fast-food chain, has faced challenges ranging from new product flops to marketing nightmares. Perhaps it’s still recovering from the 2002 death of a marketing icon, founder Dave Thomas, who appeared in more than 800 commercials. Thanks to the rollout of its Frescata deli sandwiches, April was the first month during the past 14 that saw sales growth compared to a year earlier. While sales grew just 0.4 percent at stores open at least a year (known as same-store sales), the psychological boost for Wendy’s was huge.
The discount cards cluttering consumer’s key chains play a vital part in getting the coupons and products shoppers want while boosting sales at supermarkets and drugstores. These loyalty cards are used as research tools for what’s called “data mining,” the same tool used by the National Security Agency in culling through Americans’ telephone records to uncover terrorist plots.
When RadioShack Corp. closed 480 stores, the company’s plan was to freshen its merchandise offerings. Part of the new look will include a return to selling televisions, flat-panel TVs, that is. Televisions were phased out of RadioShack’s in 2002 to make room for smaller items. And the electronics retailer has no illusions about how long it might take to lure in its new target market.
The National Retail Federation welcomed a study showing that it costs retailers $6.8 billion annually to collect state and local sales taxes across the nation. The group says the study could help merchants in their long-sought goal of receiving appropriate compensation for the collection costs. The study, conducted by the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, found that retailers’ cost of collecting sales tax – from training personnel to filing paperwork – amounts to an average of 3.09 percent of the amount of tax collected, or $6.8 billion annually nationwide.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will start selling build-your-own-computer components in more than one-third of its U.S. stores this month. While the discount retailer has been blamed for bankruptcies in sectors ranging from groceries to toys, analysts say it is unlikely that Wal-Mart will pose much of a threat to the likes of Dell Inc.
U.S. Internet advertising revenue reached $12.5 billion in 2005, a 30 percent increase compared to 2004, according to The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The organizations’ Internet Advertising Revenue Report tracks spending on search, classifieds, display and rich media ads. Internet advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2005 totaled $3.6 billion, up 34 percent compared to the same quarter a year earlier.
Competition is brutal for smaller retail grocers. Yet as grocery sales approach more than $800 billion a year, many of these companies are growing at an explosive rate. Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest food retailer, accounts for about 14 percent of all grocery sales.
In May 2003, Steve Bigari opened a McDonald’s call center in Colorado Springs. Six of his 12 stores tested the idea of off-site order taking. Now other McDonald’s franchises are beginning to latch on to the call center idea.
Retailers are losing their traditional television audiences to cable, their radio listeners to satellite services and newspaper readers to the Internet. So Vestcom, a company that makes price labels that adorn shelves nationwide is developing a different way to reach shoppers: video monitors attached to store shelves.
The nation’s biggest retailer announced its urban renewal plan this week: Wal-Mart plans to build stores in distressed metropolitan areas. Lee Scott, the company’s CEO, said that during the next two years Wal-Mart will open 50 stores that will create between 15,000 and 25,000 new jobs.
Federal law enforcement authorities estimate that theft rings steal as much as $30 billion in merchandise from retail stores every year. Organized retail theft is much different than shoplifting. ORT usually involves multiple people who steal goods, not for their own personal use, but to sell through fencing operations, flea markets and swap meets.