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Survey: Back-to-school shoppers will spend more, but wisely

BY Dan Berthiaume
Parents making back-to-school purchases are willing to open their wallets, if the price is right.
 
That’s according to a new study from digital savings platform RetailMeNot Inc., "Back-to-School Cheat Sheet: Consumer Trends and Insights for Retailers," back-to-school shoppers plan to spend an average of $273 per child, up from their anticipated spending of $246 in 2015.
 
Nearly nine in 10 parents surveyed (86%) plan on shopping for back-to-school supplies this summer. More than two in five (42%) said that they plan to spend between $100 and $500 per student this fall. Another 12% plan to spend more than $500 on back-to-school merchandise for each child.
 
However, more than half (56%) of respondents look for back-to-school deals regularly. Nearly one-third (28%) of parents said that back-to-school shopping is a strain on their family's finances. Females are more likely than males to always seek a deal.
 
When evaluating a promotion, the most popular offer is a percentage off the total purchase (38%). Tax-free savings are especially popular among many consumers in the South. And deals are popular with shoppers regardless of their household income. Of those respondents who earned $150,000 or more a year, one in three say that they search for deals every time they shop. 
 
The majority of parents still prefer to head in-store, with more than half (56%) expecting to buy supplies mostly or completely in a physical store. There is good news for retailers hoping to catch online shoppers, as well. Thirty-two percent of consumers will shop equally online and in-store for back-to-school items. Fewer than one in 10 will shop mostly or completely online.
 
Back-to-school shopping habits vary, including how often and when shoppers make it to the stores. Most parents prefer to begin their shopping later in the season, with 50% preferring to start in August or September. However, nearly two in five (38%) parents will begin in June or July, the majority of those beginning in July. More than any other region, consumers in the South (where the new school year often starts in early August) tend to shop earlier, with 37% starting in July.
 
Looking at how respondents time their back-to-school purchases, 26% say they buy items as they go on sale, 24% do all of their shopping on one weekend, and 23% plan to shop several days or weeks throughout the summer. One in five say that they shop throughout the year, as do one in three respondents who plan to spend$1,000 or more.
 
Results are based on two separate surveys of Americans age 18 and older. The first survey was conducted among 1,011 respondents using Google Consumer Surveys between June 8 and 10, 2016. The second survey was conducted by Kelton Global between June 10 and 16, 2016, among 1,007 respondents.
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Study: Not all retail apps are created equal

BY Dan Berthiaume
When it comes to shopping via mobile app, consumers favor one retailer above all others.
 
Not too surprisingly, Amazon.com’s general dominance of digital retailing extends to the mobile app arena. According to new data from SurveyMonkey Intelligence, Amazon has more than 30 million monthly active users (MAU) of its mobile app in the U.S. This means about one in 10 Americans uses the Amazon app every month.
 
In comparison, Walmart has more than 15 million MAU. Other big-name e-commerce retailers like Target, Kohl, and Jet are clustered around the 5 million MAU mark for their mobile apps in the U.S.
 
Amazon also leads all mobile apps in the U.S. with average days used per month (more than five) and has the lowest weekly churn rate (percentage of users who used the app in a given week but not the following week), which hovered between 25 and 30% between May 28 and June 26, 2016.
 
Furthermore, despite already having the highest U.S. mobile app penetration rate of any retailer, Amazon is still growing faster on mobile than all the other players combined. This includes new entrants like Jet or Boxed. Amazon gets more than 75,000 new downloads every day in the U.S., with most other major players getting downloads in the single thousands.
 
SurveyMonkey Intelligence analysis also shows that the July 12 Amazon Prime Day event had a major impact on the retailer’s mobile app usage in the U.S. Amazon’s daily active users (DAU) increased by 35% to approximately 12 million daily users on Prime Day.
 
Other notable findings include:
·The average U.S. Amazon app user is 36. This is younger than the average users of apps from Walmart (41) and Best Buy (41), about the same as Target (35) and older than Jet (29).
 
·The average gender of users of apps from Amazon, Walmart, Target and Jet is female, the average Best Buy user is male.
 
·Fifty percent of Walmart app users also use the Amazon app; the reverse percentage is negligible.
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Next generation of career Kroger leaders assume new roles

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI – Kroger on Tuesday announced the retirement of Houston division president Bill Breetz, and the promotion of Marlene Stewart to succeed him. Stewart currently serves as president of the company's Dillons division.

Subsequently, Colleen Juergensen will succeed Stewart as president of Dillons. Juergensen currently serves as VP merchandising of the Smith's division.

Kroger also announced the promotion of Pam Matthews to serve as president of the company's QFC division. Matthews currently serves as VP operations for Kroger's Delta division. She succeeds Dennis Gibson, who was recently named president of the King Soopers/City Market division.

"Kroger has an exceptionally strong team of leaders who are fueling our growth and improving our connection with customers," stated Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "Marlene, Colleen and Pam bring unmatched depth and experience to their new roles. They will help Kroger continue to make a difference for our customers, associates and communities – and by doing so create value for our shareholders."

Breetz will retire from the company after 44 years of service, effective August 26.

"Bill's extraordinary career demonstrates a passion for people and a passion for results. He leads by caring deeply about associates and developing future leaders," McMullen said. "Bill's leadership has contributed to Kroger's success and growth. The entire Kroger family thanks Bill for his many contributions over the years and wishes he and his family all the best in retirement."

Breetz began his Kroger career in 1972 as a bagger in Louisville, Ky. After earning a degree at the University of Louisville in 1977, he joined the management training program and was named a co-manager in Cincinnati. He served in several leadership positions through the years, including store and district management and VP merchandising for the company's Cincinnati/Dayton division. In 2000, Breetz was promoted to EVP of Kroger's Southwest division with responsibility for operations in Dallas. In 2001, he assumed responsibility for operations in Houston as well. He was named president of the Southwest Division in 2002, and president of the Houston Division in 2015.

Breetz has been active in a variety of community organizations throughout his career, most recently supporting the Houston Food Bank, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Boy Scouts of America, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and other local charities. Breetz and his wife, Jo Ann, have three children and three grandchildren.

Marlene Stewart, currently president of the Dillons division, succeeds Breetz as president of the Houston Division, effective August 28.

Stewart started her career with Kroger in 1977 as a bagger in the company's Cincinnati division, where she worked full-time while attending the University of Cincinnati. She went on to serve in many leadership roles in Cincinnati, including store and district management, training and merchandising. In 2005, Stewart was named director of operations for Kroger's Mid-Atlantic division before being named VP operations in 2007. She was named VP merchandising in the company's QFC division in 2011. She was named to her current role in 2015.

Colleen Juergensen, currently VP merchandising at the Smith's division, succeeds Stewart as president of the Dillons division, effective August 28.

Juergensen began her Kroger career with the Dillons division in 1981. She served in various leadership roles of increasing responsibility including store manager, zone manager and director of advertising. In 2008, Juergensen was promoted to Dillons VP operations. She was named VP operations of Smith's in 2012, and to her current role in 2015.

Pam Matthews, currently VP operations for the Delta division, has been promoted to president of the QFC Division, effective August 1. She replaces Dennis Gibson, who was recently named president of the King Soopers/City Market Division.

Matthews began her career with the company's Fred Meyer division, based in Portland, Ore, in 1980.
Throughout her 25-year career with Fred Meyer, she held a variety of leadership roles in store management, corporate brand development and merchandising. Matthews also served as director of deli/bakery merchandising and director of floral merchandising and procurement at Kroger's general offices in Cincinnati before being promoted to VP merchandising for the Central division in 2006. She was named VP merchandising for the Delta Division in 2014 and to her current role in 2015.
 

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