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ShopperTrak: Holiday sales, foot traffic to realize gains

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — As holiday sales and foot traffic historically account for about 20% of annual retail activity, a new report by ShopperTrak revealed that consumers will shop more and visit more stores during the peak holiday shopping months of November and December.

"Retailers have reason to be optimistic about this season. It’s clear that foot traffic is increasing and month-over-month sales continue to be better than expected," ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said. "In fact, our shopper visit data tell us that consumers are visiting more stores than last year. This influx of traffic will present opportunities for retailers to convert these visitors into buyers, especially with the extended holiday shopping season."

ShopperTrak said it is projecting that national retail sales will rise 3.3% above last year during the period, while retail foot traffic will increase 2.8%. ShopperTrak said that these increases will be driven by a number of factors, including a long interval between Black Friday and Christmas Day (a 32-day period). ShopperTrak also noted that weekends typically are busy shopping periods, and this year’s holiday calendar provides two extra ones: a full weekend in the holiday shopping season, plus a weekend between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, as those holidays fall mid-week. What’s more, Hanukkah falls 11 days earlier than last year. This presents retailers with a chance for a sales boost early in the season.

"The calendar provides retailers unusual opportunities for success this season, but store managers will need to understand how the 2012 calendar differentiates this holiday season from past seasons," Martin said "Keeping stores open for longer hours across an extended time between holidays adds to operating costs. Managers need to plan optimal staffing, scheduling, marketing and advertising with the calendar to achieve best results."

Another interesting factor retailers should take note of? Political elections. ShopperTrak’s analysis revealed that shopping activity tapers off before national elections — ShopperTrak recorded a decline of 6.3% the week before voting in 2008 — but rebounds quickly after the results are announced. Consumers who were distracted during the election, however, generally dive into the holiday shopping season after the ballots are counted. Store managers must have their marketing and advertising ready to go on Nov. 7 to capture the full sales potential of this holiday season.

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Money changes everything

BY Rob Eder

When all things are equal — particularly, cost! — there is no doubt that satisfied pharmacy customers are fiercely loyal to their preferred stores. But like Cyndi Lauper once sang, "Money changes everything," particularly for the 32% of Patient Views respondents who said they would be willing to change pharmacies for a savings of $5 or less, according to an exclusive survey of nearly 800 patients conducted by AccentHealth and DSN in late July and early August. How low will they go? Eight percent would switch for less than a buck.

To see more Patient Views, click here.

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that will be appear in every edition of DSN magazine and the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 4,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to reder@lf.com.

How likely are you to switch pharmacies if you faced higher costs at your current pharmacy?

Source: AccentHealth. To view the methodology, click here.

 

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AAP updates flu vaccination recommendations

BY Michael Johnsen

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. — The American Academy of Pediatrics on Tuesday recommended annual trivalent seasonal influenza immunization for all individuals ages 6 months and older, including all children, adolescents and young adults.

The updated policy statement, “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2012-2013” published in the October 2012 issue of Pediatrics, includes guidance on vaccine formulations, dosing and administration, as well as current treatment guidance for antiviral medications.

According to the AAP, special efforts should be made to vaccinate people in the following groups: children who have chronic medical conditions that increase their risk of influenza complications, such as asthma, diabetes and immunosuppression or neurologic disorders; family members and others who are in contact with children with high-risk conditions and children under age 5 (especially children under 6 months of age); all healthcare personnel and women who are pregnant, are considering pregnancy, have just delivered or are breast-feeding during influenza season.


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