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Holiday shoppers start earlier as waiting for Black Friday deals loses appeal

BY David Salazar

AUSTIN, Texas — Shoppers are starting their holiday shopping earlier every year, and it might be due to what they perceive as the waning power of Black Friday, according to RetailMeNot’s annual holiday Shoppers Trend Report. According to the survey, only 10% of consumers believe that it’s worth waiting till Black Friday for deals.

“Consumers in record numbers are questioning the value of offers on Black Friday,” RetailMeNot’s senior lifestyle editor Trae Bodge said. “And while this perception appears to be driven by media speculation, it serves as a catalyst for many shoppers to begin preparing and shopping for the holiday season as soon as Labor Day. While early-bird behavior is beneficial for the strategic buyer, RetailMeNot's offer data still suggests that deals during the five days of savings from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday are stronger on a percent-off basis than in prior weeks.”

Though many shoppers still do hit the aisles in the days following Thanksgiving, some 85% of consumers expect deals before Black Friday, with over half expecting them before October, and 51% are taking advantage of deals throughout the year. All of this points to shoppers getting into holiday shopping mode earlier than in years past.

“Having a strategy is key,” Bodge said “Savvy shoppers are preparing their gift lists, considering budgets and downloading shopping apps that make deal-hunting easier. Additionally, savvy consumers know that discounts are to be had in certain early holiday retail categories like toys, home decor and apparel.”

According to RetailMeNot, this year in-store shopping is still in Vogue, as 88% of the consumers surveyed said they wanted a reason to enter a mall or store for holiday shopping. Forty-four percent of those surveyed would be more inclined to shop in-store if they got money back on their purchase, 37% would be enticed by holiday sales, 31% are motivated by flash sales and 27% of shoppers would turn up for door-buster offers. Additionally, having to avoid wrapping gifts is appealing for the 24% who said in-store gift-wrapping is an appealing offer. 

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Stop & Shop starts conversion of former New York A&P stores

BY David Salazar

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. announced Thursday that it would be starting to convert 25 stores it acquired from A&P. The company will be converting up to five stores at a time, closing them for about a week, with the last one being completed by Nov. 13.

“We are very excited to begin the store conversion process, and we will strive to minimize the inconvenience to customers,” Don Sussman, president of Stop & Shop New York Metro Division, said. “Stop & Shop is committed to improving the overall shopping experience in these 25 stores to meet the quality, selection and savings that customers have come to expect from us.”

Five stores will start to be converted on Oct. 16 for about seven days. The banks and pharmacies attached to these stores will continue to operate while the rest of the store is being converted to include new décor, updater refrigeration systems, new lighting and other improvements.

The converted stores will also feature the company’s entire signature fresh department, and will also offer an extensive amount of natural and organic products. Peapod, Stop & Shop’s Internet grocery will be available to customers, as it recently expanded to all five of New York City’s boroughs.

“Stop & Shop is committed to being a good neighbor in the communities where it does business,” Sussman said. “At each store grand opening event, Stop & Shop plans to make a charitable donation to a local non-profit organization that makes a positive impact on the lives of children. We're also pleased to welcome approximately 3,000 former A&P store associates to Stop & Shop, so shoppers should look forward to seeing many of the same friendly faces.”

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Janssen ‘Healthy Minds’ videos address mental health stigma

BY David Salazar

TITUSVILLE, N.J. — Janssen Research & Development is looking to tackle the stigma associated with mental illness in its new “Healthy Minds” video series. The series features journalist Vicki Mabrey in conversation with various mental health advocates, researchers and policymakers.

Those featured in the videos are Mary Giliberti, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Health; former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who has become an advocate for mental health; and Dr. Husseini Manji, Janssen’s global head of neuroscience.

“We've learned that education and open discussion about other health issues such as cancer and HIV led to reduction in stigma about them, and that is our goal with mental illness,” Manji said. “We want to reach a moment in history when people with a mental illness are treated no differently than someone who has a medical condition not related to the brain. That's what we are striving to accomplish through this series.”

The video is part of Janssen’s wider Healthy Minds initiative, which is looking to advance research, news and information about mental health.

“Whether it's an immediate family member or a friend, we all have a connection to mental illness,” Kennedy said. “That's why we have a responsibility to the next generation to make progress in how we as a society address mental health issues.”

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