Why I Boycotted All Stores This Christmas

Why I Boycotted All Stores This Christmas

I cut my teeth in retailing back in the 1970s. I literally grew up in a retail environment. I have memories of spending nights in the store on an office floor in a sleeping bag while my parents worked the sales floor to get it ready for the next day. These were years when product was stacked deep, prices were cheap and crowds were big. It was long before the Internet or shopping on phones. I went on to a long career that I continue in retail. It’s in my blood. But I did not shop in stores this Christmas and I’ll tell you why: I cannot stand stores of today. The reasons have everything to do with me asRead more

Welcome to Walmart, Santa

Welcome to Walmart, Santa

You might see a different Walmart this Christmas. Uncle Wally is going all in for Christmas. There will be more Christmas music played in the stores. Festive decorations will be everywhere and not just for sale. And Santa will be there, with bells on, no doubt. Walmart is bringing on 3600 Santas for two weekends in December, all a part of what managers there call “holiday retailtainment”. It is part of a strategy Walmart is embracing to combat the relentless efforts of Amazon.com to be the king of Christmas. By creating the atmosphere of Christmas in the stores Walmart is betting customers will prefer it to the cold screen of discounts offered by Amazon. Walmart has had a lousy year.Read more

There are No Heroes Among Retailers at Thanksgiving

There are No Heroes Among Retailers at Thanksgiving

The Black Friday mania is starting to ramp up as evidenced in this Sunday’s newspapers coast-to-coast. Supposedly Christmas shoppers are cheering the blockbuster deals already. But no doubt you have seen percolating on social media the inevitable memes showing which retailers will “honor employees and their families” while staying closed on Thanksgiving day or evening. One looks like this: Retailers are falling all over each other to stake a claim by issuing high minded press releases that tout either not doing business or by offering deals so beneficial for families that they will want to shop on Thanksgiving. Do not buy into any of it. There are no heroes. Listed below are stores so far that we know will beRead more

32 Million Americans Already Christmas Shopping

32 Million Americans Already Christmas Shopping

A new survey by CreditCards.com has media analysts in shock: more than 32 million Americans have already started their Christmas shopping, the survey reveals. That seems to fly in the face of a media-generated figure that 70 percent of Americans are “annoyed” by Christmas creep. Of course — they only surveyed about 1000 people. But claiming it is scientific anyway, CreditCards.com concludes that online shopping is growing in popularity with a full 14 percent now saying they prefer to do it all online. And the younger the age group the less likely that any kind of Christmas shopping has been done. Even still, the survey shows that at least 1 in five is going to wait until Christmas Eve toRead more

Five Ways to Save Money on Christmas in August

Five Ways to Save Money on Christmas in August

Not many have Christmas yet on their mind as the calendar turns to August. But this is actually a great time of year to save money items you purchase to either use or gift at Christmas. Here is what’s cheap in the dog days of summer: 1. Purchase travel – Planning a Christmas getaway? Buy those tickets now, especially for airfare – they won’t get any cheaper between now and Thanksgiving. Hotel accommodations won’t necessarily be cheap but they will be less expensive now than they will be later – and reservations now will at least you ensure you get the accommodations you want. Shop around. So many are traveling right now that bookings for December are especially plentiful andRead more

Amazon Fires the First Shot of Christmas Selling 2015

Amazon Fires the First Shot of Christmas Selling 2015

Christmas in July is typically limited to Hallmark’s new line of ornaments and QVC’s heat-of-summer Christmas shows. But Amazon has quietly lobbed the first bomb in the annual fight for Christmas selling dominance. The online retailer will hold a “Christmas-in-July” event that Amazon management promises will be better than Black Friday. The e-commerce giant is calling its special sales day Prime Day, after its $99-a-year program that gives customers free two-day shipping and free access to streaming movies and TV shows. It will take place July 15. Discounts will be rolled out as often as every 10 minutes, Amazon promised. The catch? you have to be a Prime member to take part in the sale. (Many online tip sites noteRead more

Can Cyber Monday Save Christmas for Retailers?

Can Cyber Monday Save Christmas for Retailers?

You might have noticed big lines in front of stores on Thanksgiving night. No doubt you saw all the traffic the “new Black Friday” hours created everywhere on Thursday evening. Maybe even you joined the frenzy and went shopping after a traditional dinner of turkey will all the fixings. Perhaps you think Black Friday was a huge success for retailers. You would be wrong. Black Friday 2014 was a dismal failure for retailers with some estimates topping 11 percent as the shortfall against previous year’s numbers. Retailers turn to Cyber Monday and online sales to pick up the slack stores created over Black Friday to save the season. What happened? Many thought the economy was back and forecasts for aRead more

Consumers Cry Cash is King Over Credit Cards

Consumers Cry Cash is King Over Credit Cards

The credit card breach at Target stores during the 2013 Christmas shopping season affected 70 million shoppers from Black Friday forward. The effects of that event have been far reaching. Target suffered a horrible holiday sales period and has since struggled to recover. The whole nasty situation has left a hesitant taste in the mouth of consumers, nearly half of which surveys show will spend with cash this Christmas instead of plastic. Consumers are not only cautious because of Target alone. Since that historic breach there have been dozens of retailers and national chains such as Kmart, Home Depot, Jimmy Johns, and Michael’s hit by similar events where private credit card data was stolen or compromised. Target, naturally, wants toRead more

UPS Asks Retailers to Spread Out Last Minute Christmas Deals

UPS Asks Retailers to Spread Out Last Minute Christmas Deals

UPS famously blew the delivery of Christmas to millions last year. And they think it is unfair for them to shoulder the blame. When gift givers purchased goodies from online retailers who “guaranteed” overnight delivery for last minute purchases UPS’ delivery system was pushed beyond capacity and a lot of stuff didn’t get delivered until after Christmas. This year UPS is taking steps to avoid a repeat. They have a new CEO, a hyped “new and improved” system and now they are asking retailers to spread the specials out and kill the last minute deals so that everyone gets Christmas delivered on-time. Atlanta-based UPS is asking e-commerce companies to hold big sales in mid-December rather than in the last daysRead more