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Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday traffic, sales up vs. last year except across the Northeast

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — With the allure of deep discounts, doorbuster promotions and extended store hours, shoppers visited more stores and spent more money across the days of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday than they did last year, ShopperTrak reported Saturday.

When compared to Thanksgiving and Black Friday last year, brick-and-mortar shopper traffic increased 2.8%, to as many as 1.1 billion store visits. Retail sales also increased by 2.3%, as shoppers spent an estimated total of $12.3 billion across the two days.

ShopperTrak estimates that total in-store shopper traffic and sales by region, compared to Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday in 2012, changed as follows:   

  • In the Midwest, regional traffic increased 2.3% and regional sales were up 3.3%;
  • The Northeast realized a 5% decline in traffic and a 7% drop in sales;
  • Retail traffic across the South was up 4.8%, and sales were up a similar 4.8%; and
  • In the West, traffic was up 6.9% and sales up 6%.

However, the numbers tell a very different story when viewing only data for Black Friday. When compared to Black Friday last year, brick-and-mortar shopper traffic fell 11.4%, and retail sales also decreased by 13.2%.

"The Black Friday shopping experience is changing with more shoppers choosing to go out on Thanksgiving Day," said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. "Consumers increasingly research products online before entering stores. When they arrive, customers know exactly what they want to buy — retailers now need to make their experience a satisfying one."

For retailers, it’s not just about getting the customers to the stores — it’s about recognizing the value of each shopper who chooses to enter their store, Martin advises. Brick-and-mortar retailers must provide their customers a quality shopping experience that creates incentive to purchase immediately.

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Shoppers Drug Mart celebrates reopening of stores impacted by flood in Alberta

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALBERTA — Canadian pharmacy retailer Shoppers Drug Mart celebrated, along with politicians and community members, the reopening of Shoppers Drug Mart stores in major flood-impacted zones in Alberta.

Both events, held in High River and Mission, featured special guests, including municipal, provincial and federal leaders.

"Shoppers Drug Mart is an important part of the Town of High River, and its reopening is a call for celebration," said Rick Fraser, associate minister for recovery and reconstruction of High River and MLA for Calgary-South East. "This opening shows how far this community has come since the flood this summer, and it signifies another step in the town’s journey to recovery."

"Getting our businesses back up and running is a vital step for our communities in recovering from the June floods — the worst disaster in our province’s history," said Kyle Fawcett, associate minister for recovery and reconstruction of Southwest Alberta and MLA for Calgary. "I offer my congratulations to Shoppers Drug Mart on this milestone day."

Shoppers Drug Mart supported the relief efforts for those impacted by the flood in conjunction with the Canadian Red Cross, donating cash and emergency supplies valued in excess of $120,000. In addition, close to 28 million Shoppers Optimum points were donated by customers, which were, in turn, matched by the company.

"I am so proud of the way our Shoppers Drug Mart Associate-owners, their store teams and our customers mobilized to support those in need during and after the floods," said Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. "Whether it meant working in another store outside of their community or delivering prescriptions to patients who were immobile, their efforts truly impacted those in need."

Local Shoppers Drug Mart associate-owners and their store teams worked together to ensure residents had access to the prescription medications they needed during the difficult time. In fact, Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists provided close to 6,000 emergency prescriptions for those living in areas impacted by the flooding.

At the height of the floods, nine Shoppers Drug Mart stores were closed throughout Southern Alberta. The company was able to reopen all but two within a matter of days. Those employees who were displaced by the closures were offered work within other Shoppers Drug Mart associate-owned stores.

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Reports: Amazon hopes to deliver packages by drone

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — From its beginning during the dot-com boom of the 1990s, Amazon hasn’t shied away from trying new things, but its latest initiative goes above and beyond — with an emphasis on "above."

CBS’ "60 Minutes" reported Sunday evening that the online retailer is looking into delivering some products with drones. In a lab at its Seattle headquarters, the company has been testing electrically powered helicopter drones called "octocopters" that would pick up small packages in fulfillment centers, store them in small plastic buckets and deliver them over short distances.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told CBS’ Charlie Rose that the "PrimeAir" drones are robotic, programmed with the GPS coordinates of a recipient’s address, and have a range of about 10 miles. The idea is to make it possible to have small items delivered within 30 minutes, though Bezos said it would be about four or five years before the service could be launched because the company would first need to come into compliance with Federal Aviation Authority regulations.

A video of the "60 Minutes" segment can be viewed by clicking here.

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