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Target reports blowout November

BY DSN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — Same-store sales surged 5.5% at Target during November, exceeding the company’s guidance and analysts’ expectations for a low-single digit gain. The company said the number of people shopping its stores as measured by transactions increased nearly 4% and average transaction sizes also were up slightly with broad-based growth throughout the store.

The company is looking for December comps to increase in the low- to mid-single digit range.

“Guests are responding to our compelling holiday merchandising and marketing programs, and they love our new 5% REDcard Rewards program,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO. “We’re well prepared for the biggest month of the year, and believe we’re on track to achieve fourth-quarter sales and profitability consistent with our guidance on Nov. 17.”

An expanded assortment of food and consumables in an increasing number of stores as part of a remodeling program known as PFresh has been a boon to customer traffic, and those categories now are among the fastest growing at Target. The company said its November comparable-store sales performance was strongest in grocery, which experienced a mid-teen increase, and health care and beauty increased in the mid- to upper-single digits.

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Q4 net income rises for Ingles Markets

BY Allison Cerra

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A regional supermarket chain reported a 3.1% rise in its net sales for the fourth quarter.

Ingles Markets said its net sales rose to $856 million for the quarter ended Sept. 25, from $830.1 million in the same period last year. Basic and diluted earnings per share were 35 cents and 34 cents per share, respectively, compared with 23 cents and 22 cents per share last year.

Similarly, comparable-store sales, excluding gasoline, rose 1.8% in the fourth quarter for fiscal year 2010.

For its gross profit, Ingles Markets realized a $10.1 million increase, compared with the year-ago period.

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Kellogg Shopping Index shows income, job security influence holiday spending

BY Allison Cerra

EVANSTON, Ill. — A new, ongoing study of consumers and their spending habits explored the trends driving holiday spending this year.

The Kellogg Shopper Index, an online survey of approximately 1,200 consumers, conducted between Oct. 26 and Nov. 16, unveiled that change in income may influence holiday spending. For example, participants who had a significant increase in their income indicated they would spend 16% more in holiday gifts versus last year, while participants who said they experienced a decrease in income plan to spend 9% less, compared with 2009.

What’s more, the survey noted, those that felt very secure about their job plan to spend 10% more on holiday gifts, while those with relatively stable job security said they will spend 2% more. People whose job security has worsened, however, said they will spend 4% less this year.

Highly materialistic panelists said they would allocate 34% of their holiday gift budget on themselves and 66% spent on gifts for others. Less materialistic participants said they will spend only 17% on themselves and 83% on gifts for others, the index showed. "Materalistic" panelists were classified based on their positive response to questions about how possessions are signs of success, buying brand names and buying items to impress others, the researchers said.

"Essentially not everyone is coming back to shop," said Eric Anderson of Kellogg Center for Global Marketing Practice, which supports the Kellogg Shopper Index. "While our panelists indicate they plan to spend slightly more than last year, we see two very different psychological mindsets at play. The first set represents those likely to have foregone nice rewards over the last two years, and who now want to treat themselves or others. The second set represents those who are still very cautious but are willing to spend for the right deal."

Added Richard Wilson of the Kellogg Center for Global Marketing Practice, "From our perspective at the Center for Global Marketing Practice, further academic research and a deeper understanding of what’s causing these types of consumer behaviors to manifest in the marketplace will help drive more effective practitioner marketing strategy."

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