Food retailers are shifting from massive stores to smaller footprints to feed growing numbers of urban consumers. CityTarget and Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market are among the highest-profile small-format retail banners, regional retailer Roche Bros. rolled out a smaller-format store last year and Kroger's acquisition of Roundy's Supermarkets adds urban-format Mariano's Fresh Market to its portfolio.
Retailers in malls throughout the US will open on Thanksgiving whether they want to or not, pressured by the decisions of mall owners and anchor department stores that have chosen to open on the holiday. At many malls, merchants face fines if they buck orders to open.
Target boosted in-stock levels of many popular items by up to 50% in the third quarter, in a push to keep shelves stocked and boost sales, executives said. "We feel very good about our inventory position going into the holiday season in relation to both our sales planned and our work to improve in-stock reliability," Target's Chief Financial Officer Cathy Smith said.
J.C. Penney is heading into the holidays with big promotional plans and inventories that are more in sync with what customers want than they have been for the past several years, said Joe Cardamone, general manager of the retailer's New York City flagship. "Last year on Thanksgiving Day, we had 1,000 customers lined up at the door for the 6 p.m. opening. This year we are opening at 3 p.m. We expect the same, if not bigger, crowd," he said.
The chaos critics predicted when Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh switched to a workplace where employees manage themselves didn't materialize, said John Bunch, a technical adviser to Hsieh. Instead, employees at the Amazon-owned online shoe retailer adapted to the change and adopted new rules by consensus, including making the office a dog-friendly workplace.
The average cost of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 will surpass $50 this year, according to an analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The group has performed the analysis every year since 1986.
Albertsons has received court approval to buy back 33 stores the retailer divested when it merged with Safeway earlier this year. Now-bankrupt Haggen Holdings purchased most of the 168 stores divested by Albertsons and Safeway, and Haggen is in the process of selling off its stores.
Retailers report a growing demand for television screens that are 60 to 65 inches or bigger. Stores are now stocking a larger range of 4K sets as consumer interest grows. "It was not that long ago that we used to say that anything over 40 inches is large," said Shawn Dubravac, senior director of research at the Consumer Technology Association. "Today the average screen size is about 47 inches, up from 29 inches not too many years ago."
TiVo charted its largest net subscriber growth for the three-month period ending Oct. 31, increasing its rolls by 418,000 to 6.5 million. More than 85% of the new customers are from small and medium cable providers that don't offer their own set-top services. CEO Tom Rogers, who is giving up the title but will remain as chairman, believes the release of TiVo's ad-skipping Bolt DVR will help drive future growth.
Canada's malls have been beefing up food courts, adding mobile charging stations and making other improvements to stay competitive, as more shoppers move online. Many malls are making a bigger deal of Santa visits this holiday season, giving shoppers options to skip the line by booking ahead of time and receiving text reminders as their appointed time nears.
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