NRF welcomes President Obama’s emphasis on job creation
WASHINGTON — After President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the National Retail Federation issued a response regarding his remarks on job creation.
NRF said it welcomed the President’s emphasis on job creation, saying that it will help restore the nation’s economic state.
"Job creation is our nation’s No. 1 priority, and as the industry that supports one out of every four U.S. jobs, retailers stand ready to do their part in putting Americans back to work," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Retailers are helping to rebuild the economy, but Washington must get moving to encourage job growth and remove barriers to job creation."
Although NRF supported the idea of job creation, the association did, however, express caution at the President’s emphasis on manufacturing.
"We welcome the President’s commitment to create jobs in manufacturing, an industry that’s critical to a healthy supply chain," Shay said. "But retail and other service industries support far more jobs than manufacturing, and we need economic policy that supports all industries and doesn’t favor one sector of the economy over another. We hope ‘Made in America’ isn’t code for protectionist trade policies that only drive up prices for American consumers while doing little to create U.S. jobs."
NRF earlier this month sent an open letter to Obama urging him to call for action on a number of initiatives — sales tax fairness legislation, corporate tax reform, and free and open trade initiatives — that support a strong retail sector as part of the State of the Union address.
Toy category gets crafty
Sales of craft kits and art supplies “remain strong with a slight uptick,” according to Adrienne Appell, a spokeswoman for the Toy Industry Association. This segment of the toy category was up 7% in 2010 over 2009, according to the NPD Group, and is expected to perform well in 2011.
Some big winners for the holiday season were Spin Master’s Bizu, Crayola’s Glow Book and Fashion Angels’ “Project Runway” fashion design sketch portfolio. All retail for less than $20.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Toys, Games & Crafts Sell-Through Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.
Portable takes a go at battery sector
Portable power is the growth area of the battery category. While sales of alkaline batteries remain challenged, rechargeable batteries and chargers are becoming a bigger part of the category.
“This year, we expect overall revenue for primary alkaline batteries to decline about 3% as fierce competition among manufacturers continues to pressure pricing for round cells,” said Tim Doyle, a Consumer Electronics Association spokesman.
Lou Martire, VP trade development at Energizer, said the company has found that actually reducing promotion on C, D and 9-volt batteries has increased profitability for retailers without a loss of volume.
Fewer devices now require batteries, although consumers always will need round cells to power toys and remotes. Doyle said growth in the category exists “if you know where to look.” Rechargeable batteries, he said, are one sector seeing sales climb as consumers increasingly adopt these solutions to portable power needs. New methods, such as inductive and solar, are “fanning the flames heating up the market for rechargeables,” Doyle said.
Jason Gere, an analyst for RBC Capital markets, said he sees long-term value in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. “People will be willing to pay up for rechargeables,” he said.
A growing part of the category is portable power systems. Last year, Energizer introduced a line of Qi-enabled cord-free charging products to the market. Qi is gaining momentum as the universal charging standard enabling chargers and devices to communicate with one another regardless of manufacturer. The company recently expanded its portfolio with a new line of Energizer Universal USB wall and car chargers and a single zone inductive charger.
Martire believed that helping shoppers make the right battery choices at the shelf — whether they need alkaline batteries for remote controls and flashlights, lithium batteries for GPS systems and digital cameras, or power options for their mobile devices — will keep the category profitable.
To help retailers optimize category performance, Energizer has rolled out the Shopper Based Solutions program, a visible permanent merchandising program that Martire said has helped retailers achieve above-average category growth.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Batteries Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.