Report: Target Has the Best Social Media Presence Among Retailers

According to a new survey by L.E.K. Consulting, as reported by Internet Retailer, Target Corp. has the best social media presence among retailers. Target took the top spot with 8.5 percent, followed by (8 percent), Walmart (5.4 percent), Best Buy (4 percent), and Macy’s (4 percent). L.E.K surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers, but did not say when the survey took place or define what constituted a strong social media presence.

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Walmart Kicks-off Black Friday Events Starting at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving

Walmart has released its Black Friday circular to shoppers on Facebook and to help families plan their holiday shopping. Items from electronics to gaming consoles and toys will be available during three shopping events.

Walmart’s Black Friday events will be held at the following times:

  • 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) –Toys, Home, and Apparel
  • Midnight on Black Friday (Nov. 25) – Electronics
  • 8 a.m. Nov. 25 through the weekend – Gifts for the entire family

“Our customers told us they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early, so we’re going to hold special events on Thanksgiving and Black Friday,” says Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S. “By sharing our Black Friday specials earlier than ever, we hope to make buying decisions easier for parents working hard to give their families the Christmas they deserve.”

In addition, all day long on Thanksgiving, shoppers can get online-only specials and save with free shipping options.

Walmart is also helping shoppers plan their in-store shopping strategy by making available store-specific maps on Facebook. To access the map, shoppers need to find their favorite store by clicking on the “My Local Walmart” application on Walmart’s Facebook page.

Walmart also promises to match the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product, including matching competitor’s deals for the day after Thanksgiving.

Victorious Products to Launch at Walmart for Back-to-School

Nickelodeon is gearing up for the initial launch of its Victorious products, based on the network’s live-action comedy series. The Victorious product line will be available exclusively at most Walmart stores in the U.S. and Canada during a special back-to-school window from this July to September.

The product line will include more than 250 Victorious-themed products, including apparel, accessories, entertainment, and school supplies. Walmart will also carry the Victorious: Season One, Volume One DVD, beginning July 5, as well as the Victorious CD soundtrack and a special Nickelodeon CD featuring stars from the network’s popular shows. Both CDs will be released on August 2

Regulators Approve Walmart’s Massmart Deal

According to the Associated Press, regulators approved Walmart’s $2.4 billion bid to buy a controlling share of South African retail chain Massmart. The AP reports that the deal followed “a fierce debate over protectionism in the country with the continent’s most promising economy.”

Under the ruling, government agency the Competition Tribunal said Walmart and Massmart could not lay off any workers for two years, must respect Massmart’s existing labor agreements for three years, and must invest in training South African suppliers. The AP reports that the company had already pledged to spend $14 million over the next three years to help farmers and other South African suppliers.

Walmart CEO and president Doug McMillon said he expected the transaction to be completed in a few weeks..

Universal Pictures and Walmart Unveil Exclusive Hop Merchandise

Universal Pictures and Walmart have announced a retail program tied to the upcoming live action/CG-animated comedy Hop, the second film from Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me) that hits movie theaters across the country on April 1. Walmart customers can build their Hop-themed Easter baskets, and visit the movie-inspired “Candy Factory,” with 100 exclusive licensed products, including candy, toys, activities, and apparel.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with a licensed property to brand an important seasonal event in Walmart stores,” said Gary Severson, senior vice president, Home Entertainment, Walmart U.S.
The program, which rolled out March 17 in more than 3,000 Walmart stores, includes a dedicated aisle rolling out sweet Easter treats, and a Build-a-Basket Factory. Toys include character plush toys from Funrise, coloring and activity books from Dalmation Press, bubbles, pinwheels, paddle board, memory card games, etc. from Funrise, and Hop-themed video games for the Nintendo DS, DSi, and 3DS.
Blending animation with live action, Hop is a comedy about E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), the teenage son of the Easter Bunny. On the eve of taking over the family business, E.B. leaves for Hollywood in pursuit of his dream of becoming a drummer. He encounters Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker with his own lofty goals, who accidentally hits E.B. with his car. Feigning injury, E.B. manipulates Fred into providing him shelter, and Fred finds himself with the world’s worst house guest.

Walmart Launches Toyland in Stores

Walmart has opened a one-stop toy destination, Toyland, in nearly all of its stores nationwide. With the addition of Toyland, Walmart now has the largest square footage dedicated to toys among all retailers.

Featured products include Scrabble Flash, Furreal Friends GoGo My Walkin’ Pup, Paper Jamz, Hide-and-Seek Jojo Interactive Bunny, and more. Toyland will be featured in Walmart Garden Centers through December 19

Walmart has also announced its “Toys and More” event, in time for the last holiday shopping weekend. Beginning at 9 p.m. on December 17 through December 19 (or while supplies last), Walmart stores will offer up to $50 in savings on many toys and electronics.

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Walmart Shuffles, U.S. Leadership

Walmart announced new CEO appointments for both its U.S. enterprise and Vice Chairman of Walmart Eduardo Castro-Wright has been appointed as Global’s president and CEO, while Bill Simon (pictured above) is Walmart’s new U.S. president and CEO.

Castro-Wright will maintain his seat as vice chairman, while both men report to Walmart’s President and CEO Mike Duke. Simon, previously Walmart’s COO, starts his new position immediately, whereas Castro-Wright takes over August 1.

Walmart Named No. 1 Retailer Once Again

Stores Magazine‘s annual Top 100 Retailers list crowned Walmart as the No. 1 retailer again, which was determined based on overall retail sales (not revenue) and did not include gas stations. IKEA North America made its debut on the list at No. 92, while Kroger came in at No. 2 and Target at No. 3.

Discount stores Dollar General (No. 28), Family Dollar (No. 45), and Dollar Tree (No. 61) climbed the list seven, 11, and 15 spots, respectively. Stores Magazines‘ editors attribute the climb to the poor economy last year, which forced people to find lower-cost solutions for the products they buy. The list was compiled and analyzed by Kantar Retail.

Report: 40 Percent of Retailers Reduced SKUs Last Year

According to a new Nielsen survey, reported by Reuters, more than 40 percent of retailers reduced the number of different SKUs on their shelves last year, and nearly the same number expect to make additional cuts.

According to Nielsen, these cuts can help retailers lower costs, but shoppers may leave stores without making a purchase if they cannot find a specific item. In the Nielsen survey, it was reported that 7 percent of shoppers who did not find their desired personal-care item said they would leave the store without buying an item in the category, with some shoppers saying they would leave the store without buying anything. Nielsen reports that if just 0.5 percent of grocery shoppers were to leave a store without making a purchase, retailers could lose sales up to $1.5 billion.

Walmart recently reported that its program to overhaul stores hurt sales. Last year the retailer removed slower-selling items from shelves, and replaced them with more popular items. However, the company found that not offering some items drove shoppers to other stores. In March, the company said it returned approximately 300 items to U.S. store shelves.

Walmart CEO Outlines Strategies for “Next Generation Walmart”

At Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting, president and CEO Mike Duke outlined four strategies for building the “Next Generation Walmart.”  He said Walmart is poised to deliver on Sam Walton’s vision of giving “the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and have a better life.”

The strategies are: (1) become a truly global company, (2) understand the business challenges that retailers will face and solve them, (3) play an even bigger leadership role on social issues that matter to its customers, and (4) keep its culture strong everywhere.

In order to be a more global company, Duke discussed the need to serve customers as a local store, share best practices, and leverage Walmart’s global supply chain. He stated that over the next five years Walmart will create 500,000 jobs around the world. Duke also discussed the importance on price transparency and low pricing, and being a company that stays strong globally.

The company also announced that its board of directors approved a new repurchase program that authorizes the company to repurchase $15 billion of its shares. This program replaces the previous $15 billion program, which was announced June 5, 2009, and had approximately $4.7 billion of remaining authorization. Under the program, repurchased shares are constructively retired and returned to unissued status.

Photo Credit: Huffington Post