Survey Shows Children Want Game Systems, iPads for Holidays

Non-traditional items are finding their way onto children’s wish lists this year, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. For the first time, iPads are among the most popular gifts for both girls and boys, with slightly higher demand among the former.

Among the other results from NRF’s 2013 Top Toys survey: 44.3 percent of holiday consumers plan to buy toys as gifts this holiday season; children are still asking for timeless items such as Barbie and dolls (No. 1 and 2 among girls, respectively) or Lego and toy cars (No. 1 and 3 among boys, respectively). And the younger generation is clearly technologically savvy, asking this year for tablets/iPads, smartphones (girls’ No. 11), and game consoles like Xbox One (boys’ No. 5) and PlayStation 4 (girls’ No. 10, boys’ No. 6).

Other popular toys for girls include Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, and American Girl. The hot new item for boys this year is Skylanders, a hugely popular interactive video game that allows kids to play with a toy action figure at the same time. [Read more...]

Shoppers Share Feelings About Return Policies, Fraud

According to a survey Tada commissioned of more than 7,000 online shoppers, 59 percent claim they’ve never been denied on a return while 38 percent of respondents claim they are. These shoppers double-check the policy to ensure that not only is there ample time for returns, but that there’s free shipping both ways as well.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) conducted a survey in 2012 to determine how much return fraud is costing stores: $2.9 billion last holiday season alone. A panel of shoppers claim that they very rarely, if ever, take advantage of an overly generous return policy (90 percent would not do this). Meanwhile, 92 percent say they’ve never committed wardrobing, which is buying something with the intent to use or wear it and return it. Generation Y is the most guilty of this, as 7 percent admit to doing this with clothing and 4 percent with electronics and other items.

These shoppers were also polled to find out who ranks as having the best and worst return policies. Some retailers ended up on both lists. Tada came up with their own list of the stores with the best return policies.

Easter Bunny Keeps Frugality in Mind This Year, According to NRF

Americans will celebrate Easter in style and on budget this year according to NRF’s Easter Spending Survey, conducted by BIGinsight. Keeping cost and their shopping list in mind, the average person celebrating Easter will spend approximately $145.13 on candy, decor, apparel, and food, flat with last year’s $145.28. Total spending will reach an estimated $17.2 billion.

Consumers will spend an average of $20.82 on gifts.

“While many of today’s consumers are coping with tight budgets, the Easter Bunny isn’t headed toward retirement in 2013,” says BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow. “Look for cost-conscious parents to scope the sale racks, head to discounters, and clip coupons to keep spending on track and to make the holiday special for youngsters this year.”

Santa to Bring High-Tech Gadgets, Familiar Favorites to Children This Holiday Season

Children’s wish lists this holiday season are full of the latest gadgets such as Apple iPads and the Nintendo Wii U, but there’s still demand for some classic gifts like Lego blocks, dolls, and toy cars, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s 2012 Top Toys Survey, conducted by BIGinsight.

A surprise item in this year’s top ten is Furby, which ranked No. 3 on girls’ wish lists and No. 9 on boys’ lists. Furby became a must-have item and child favorite in the late 90s but has since undergone a digital makeover complete with LCD eyes and compatible iPad apps. Video games also appeared on both lists this year. According to NRF’s holiday survey, 45.1 percent of consumers plan to buy toys this holiday season.

Meijer Drops Prices on More Than 400 of Season’s Hottest Toys In-store and Online

Meijer will continue to be a toy destination this holiday season, offering customers the lowest prices on the hottest toys and brands by slashing prices on more than 400 popular products in-store and online.   [Read more...]

NRF to Welcome Walmart President, CEO as Keynote at Retail’s BIG Show 2013

The National Retail Federation has announced that Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S. will keynote Retail’s BIG Show, held from January 13 to 16 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. Simon’s keynote, titled “A Job to Do: Retail’s Role in an American Renewal,” is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15 at 8:30 a.m.

In his keynote address, Simon will make the case that leadership from within the retail industry is needed now more than ever when it comes to issues like the economy and job creation.

Retail’s Big Show and Expo serve as the world’s leading retail event, bringing 25,500 retail executives and vendors from more than 75 countries together for educational and networking opportunities. The convention has been ranked as one of the Top 200 events in North America, as well as one of the 50 fastest-growing events. Other speakers will include executives from Coca Cola, Belk, Sony, and Deloitte.

NRF Survey: Shoppers Will Remain Conservative With Holiday Gift Budgets

Consumers are prepared for a holly, jolly holiday season, though it’s evident most will take a conservative approach with their gift-giving budgets. According to NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, greeting cards, and more, up slightly from the $740.57 they actually spent last year. NRF is forecasting holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion.

According to the survey, the biggest portion of shoppers’ budget this year will go towards gifts for family members with the average person planning to spend $421.82 on children, parents, aunt, uncles, and others. Additionally, people will spend $75.13 on friends, $23.48 on co-workers, and $28.13 on others, such as pets and community members. Consumers will also spend on food and candy ($100.76), greeting cards ($28.66), and flowers ($19.55.) When it comes to decorations, the average person will spend $51.99, up from $49.15 last year and the most in the survey’s history. Total spending on holiday décor will reach $6.9 billion.

Click here for complete survey data. For more information about NRF, visit www.nrf.com.

Retail Sales See Three Consecutive Months of Decline

Retail sales continued to stall in the month of June as consumers held off on discretionary and non-discretionary spending—marking three consecutive months of retail sales decreases—implying that persistently-high domestic unemployment, stagnant job growth, and international economic unease have taken a toll on American consumers this spring.

According to the National Retail Federation, June retail sales (excluding automobile, gas stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from May but increased 1.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year. This year-over-year increase marks 24 consecutive months of sustained retail sales growth.

June retail sales, released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month but increased 3.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

NRF Report Finds No Retailer Immune to Organized Retail Crime

Retailers are reporting organized retail crime (ORC) has become more troublesome than ever before. Of the 125 retail companies surveyed for the National Retail Federation’s (NRF’s) eighth annual ORC Survey, 96 percent say their company has been the victim of organized retail crime in the past year, up from 94.5 percent last year.

“What this tells us is that as retailers and law enforcement become more aware of and more proactive in pursuing organized retail crime gangs, criminals have become more desperate and brazen in their efforts, stopping at nothing to get their hands on large quantities of merchandise,” said NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention, Rich Mellor.

Cargo theft continues to grow at an alarming rate, posing huge problems for retailers and their distribution centers. On average, 52.1 percent of companies say they have been a victim of cargo theft in the past 12 months. A significantly higher percent of companies this year said cargo theft occurs mostly en route from the distribution center to the store (68.1 percent vs. 57.4 percent last year), while 43.5 percent say these incidents also occur en route from manufacturer to distribution center.

When asked what new trends exist in organized retail crime, retailers cited familiar issues involving the economy, returned stolen merchandise, gift card fraud, and increases in violent activity upon apprehension. However, new to the list of trends this year were specific references to digital receipt fraud, increased smash and grab incidents, and collusion with street gangs.

“Though retailers continue to make great strides in their fight against organized retail crime, sophisticated criminals with unending opportunities and anonymous outlets to sell their stolen merchandise are proving to be quite challenging for both retailers and law enforcement agencies working to combat this issue,” said NRF Senior Asset Protection Advisor Joe LaRocca “With the types of organized retail crimes changing in severity and scope every day, and cargo theft and violent instances becoming more troubling, retailers are constantly on high alert.”

Despite the increase in incidents, more companies this year believe law enforcement is aware of and understands the severity and complexity of the issue (40.0% vs. 32.3% in 2011). More than half say top management at their company is aware of the problems associated with organized retail crime. NRF strongly believes that organized retail crime must be addressed through Federal legislation by amending the Federal Criminal Code to effectively address the organized and serious nature of this issue, properly defining it as a federal crime with appropriate sentencing guidelines, and providing Federal law enforcement the resources needed to combat this crime.

This post was originally written by Leah Rocketto and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

“This is Retail” Video Contest Launches for Retailers

As part of its “Retail Means Jobs” campaign, an initiative by the National Retail Federation (NRF) that aims to raise awareness of the retail industry’s economic impact, NRF has launched the “This is Retail” video contest. “We’re on a hunt to find the best retail stories in America—from marketing geniuses to customer service superstars to small business owners,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release.

To participate, retail employees or business owners submit a two-minute video that shares their retail story for a chance to win up to $25,000. NRF will accept video submissions from March 5-16. A panel of retail executives will narrow the videos down to the top 20, and finalists will be prominently featured on RetailMeansJobs.com. The winners will be chosen based on votes, and announced during NRF’s Washington Leadership Conference in May. For more information, visit www.retailmeansjobs.com/contest.

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