Rising prices for energy and raw materials are slowing growth in service industries according to a report by The Institute for Supply Management. In the meantime, prices paid by retailers and builders are at their highest since September. The Federal Reserve predicted such changes and is considering a halt on its current interest-rate increases. In another sign of an economic slowdown, employers hired fewer employees in May than they have in the last seven months. Some credit these retail woes to high gasoline prices which are shaking consumer confidence. Put simply, if it costs too much to drive to
“We’ve had rain for two months. We’re selling some dehumidifiers because of damp basements, but our high-end appliance sales have slowed a bit, partly because it’s just hard to build a house when it’s pouring out. The soil’s saturated. If I were a sump pump dealer, I’d probably be rich!” -Douglas Agren, Owner of Agren Appliance Stores, a 5-store chain in Maine, on high-end appliances sales this spring in the Northeast.
Wal-Mart announced plans today to launch stores targeting specific demographics, including “suburban affluent,” “rural,” “boomers,” “urban/multicultural” and “Hispanic.” In part inspired by the company’s experience opening stores in other countries, the plan has already seen results in an Evergreen Park, IL store remerchandised for a multicultural demographic and a Plano, TX test store for high income shoppers. Each of these stores have demonstrated a financial edge over their sister stores in the area.
J.D. Power and Associates recently completed a survey which concludes that cell phone features such as color screens, text messaging and cameras matter very little compared to style and cost when customers deliberate over a purchase. In fact, cameraphones, speakerphones and color screens each motivated the same number of resondents (12 percent) to buy a particular model. 39 percent of users chose their phone based on “style.” 29 percent, the next highest group, chose their phone because of its cost –- namely, free. In spite of the lack of motivating power these features may possess when it comes to buying a phone, use of
Stay tuned for new installments of weekly features here in Dealerscope Today, including... Tuesday - Take a look at the statistics shaping the retail world in DealerData. Wednesday - Learn secrets from the retail floor in Passwords. Thursday - Find out about your fellow retailers in Contacts. Friday - We continue to bring you news about People on the Move.
HP’s new rp5000 Point of Sale bundle combines elements that, up until now, were only available from multiple vendors. Retailers can now purchase a POS system that includes a receipt printer, cash drawer scanner, keyboard and touchscreen for $3,600 (includes software, operating system and rp5000 product). Retailers can also choose to buy these elements separately. The rp5000 is based on open standards, so peripherals from other vendors may work as well. The system also provides automatic sales tracking, inventory tracking and a customer information capture application. -David Thomas
Crumpler, the hipster-luring Australian-based accessories manufacturer and retailer, will kick off a nine-day “Beer for Bags” sale tomorrow in Manhattan, allowing customers to come in off the street and exchange bottles and cases of beer for computer, camera, or messenger bags. (This from the company’s ever-innovative marketing department that once put its jolly stick-figure logo on those little stickers you find on fruit.) Though Crumpler products (including covers for iPods and PDA’s) are carried in retail outlets across the country, the specialty bag retailer recently opened a signature custom bag store in Greenwich Village. A second Crumpler store is on Spring Street in
Dealerscope: How has your overall mobile electronics business been over the past year—are you up, down, or about on par with the same period in 2005? Mike Cofield: It’s good—up about five percent. Business has met our expectations. Mehdi Narimanian: We’re up, thanks to bigger-ticket items. There’s lots of negative news out there on mobile electronics in general. But our navigation, video and satellite radio business has helped other categories. Dan Jeancola: We’re up over the year before, but within the business itself, the industry is in transition. Between categories it’s shifting pretty dramatically. Core car sources in the industry are depressed, but
Selling Digital Cameras? Carry the Ones with a Keypad Don’t be surprised if you start seeing people holding their cell phones horizontally instead of vertically later this year. A new generation of high-quality camera phones were introduced at CTIA and the new shooters have as many or more functions as quality digital cameras. Sony Ericsson debuted the K790, its branded “Cyber-shot phone,” with an impressive 3.2 megapixels, autofocus capabilities, a Xenon flash, an active lens cover and a technology called “BestPic” which shoots in burst mode (9 shots a second) and allows you to choose the clearest image. When held horizontally, the “back” of this
Nearly every town in America has a stretch of beat up, commercialized highway that looks like Route 1 in New Jersey. And nearly every American has done time waiting at light after light along such a pike, wondering if the road work will ever be done, barely surveying the landscape because, frankly, it’s not much to look at—just parking lots and shrubby-looking trees. These roads are about signs, really, the familiar bold letters that guide drivers to groceries, fast food, used cars, Wal-Mart, and the mall exits, signs which are pretty much the same everywhere. Everywhere except Lawrenceville, a Jersey town between Trenton and