Monthly Archives: November 2016

Cyber Monday Set To Be Largest Shopping Day In History

Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) is the largest shopping day of not only the Thanksgiving weekend, but the year. According to Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), it is expected to be the largest online shopping day in history. The upcoming holiday season will be the largest online shopping affair yet, with expectations of 11% biggest growth year over year (YoY) and $91.6 billion in total holiday online sales.

The History Of Cyber Monday

In 2005, the National Retail Federation coined the term “Cyber Monday” in a press release from its Shop.org unit: “77% of online retailers said that their sales increased substantially on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a trend that is driving serious online discounts and promotions on Cyber Monday.” The reason that the Monday after Thanksgiving saw a spike in online sales rather than the weekend is simple. In 2005, many consumers only had access to high-speed internet at work and would use it to begin their Holiday shopping the first day they were back in the office, after the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Consumers have become more comfortable spending money online, a major positive for Cyber Monday sales. According to ADI, Cyber Monday is expected to hit $3.36 billion in online sales this year, a YoY growth of 9.4%.

The Growth Of Cyber Monday

In a survey from digital marketing firm Fluent, 34% of respondents said they had done some holiday shopping before September this year. Many of those consumers polled will also focus on Cyber Monday this year: 40% will be participating in the online shopping holiday, with 53% planning to spend the same amount as last year and 26% planning to spend less. The poll reveals the importance of retail websites during the 2016 holiday season and their contribution to overall sales.

The graph below shows the dramatic growth in Cyber Monday sales from 2005 through 2015. Sales on Cyber Monday have grown at a 16.8% CAGR over the period, and the rate has been slightly higher in recent years (it was 24.7% in 2010-15).

Source: comSource, Inc./ Fung Global Retail & Technology

Source: comSource, Inc. / Fung Global Retail & Technology

Is Cyber Monday Still Significant?

Retailers seem to be falling all over themselves competing to see who can announce their holiday deals the earliest. Cyber Monday has become Cyber Week, and November is turning into Cyber Month. With increased access to high-speed internet at home as well as on mobile devices, pent-up demand for shopping the Monday after Thanksgiving ought to be weaker now than it has been in previous years.

But Cyber Monday is as strong as ever, and there appears to be no letup in sight in consumers’ appetite for chasing deals. Data from comScore indicate that, last year, Cyber Monday was a major shopping day—indeed, it was the biggest day—even outpacing the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (12% vs 10% growth YoY).

*Non-travel (retail) e-commerce spending excludes auctions and large corporate purchases of total US (home and work) desktop computers. Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days Source: comScore, Inc. / Fung Global Retail & Technology

*Non-travel (retail) e-commerce spending excludes auctions and large corporate purchases of total US (home and work) desktop computers. Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days. Source: comScore, Inc. / Fung Global Retail & Technology

Cyber Monday’s Convenience Factor

There are many reasons why consumers are more likely to shop online during this holiday season. ADI determined that the top reasons for shopping online include: lower-priced goods, free shipping and product availability. Consumers are looking at convenience factors more than ever this year.

Source: CMO by Adobe Digital Insights / Fung Global Retail & Technology

The projected figures for Cyber Monday’s 2016 sales look to be quite exciting, as it is forecast to be the largest online shopping day in history. While consumers are becoming more comfortable shopping online and attracted to Cyber Monday’s convenience, retailers prep themselves for what is sure to be a strong, revenue-generating day.

Story By: Forbes.com

Chiquita Launches New Global Banana Box For New Year

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017 Chiquita Brands International will roll out its more structurally sound global banana boxes with cooling design to improve the freshness of its bananas, while allowing for the most stable transport on pallets.chi1

Chiquita’s commitment to quality is extended with its new consistent cooling design, which allows for bananas to ripen evenly. According to market tests supported by the company’s ripening facility, there were more equal ripening temperatures, better color uniformity and better ABC scores when using the new boxes — a potential energy savings of 20 percent.

“Our goal is to continue to provide the highest quality products to people all over the world, which is why we are committed to creating more efficient transportation methods of our fruit,” Chris Dugan, Chiquita Brands vice president of North America, said in a press release. “We’re excited to see improvements in the quality of fruit that arrives to our partners, as well as the cost efficiencies that these new boxes will create.”

The new banana boxes will create less food waste by avoiding unnecessary damage and over-ripening of the fruit during transport — offering more fresh fruit to people across the globe. The boxes will also include new imagery and a cleaner look to represent Chiquita’s newest brand messaging and colors, giving shoppers and buyers a consistent look and feel from the brand they’ve known for years.

Story By: Producenews.com

E-Commerce Continues To Play A Larger Role In Retailers’ Black Friday, Holiday Game Plans

Retail giant Walmart U.S. will kick off its digital Black Friday sales in Arkansas at 11:01 p.m. the night before Thanksgiving Day, three hours earlier than last year. On the East Coast the official time is 12:01 a.m. Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) which is still well before the in-store sales begin at 6 p.m. local time that same evening.

Walmart has also already made its Black Friday store circular available through the Walmart app.

“I said it before and I will say it again, we will win the season on price – on Black Friday, on Cyber Monday and every day before and after,” said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S.

In a blog post on the retailer’s website Bratspies added, “That means delivering the Black Friday deals we’re known for in stores, online and on our app. And, we’ve secured significant availability of these items. Our goal is not to advertise a great price and then not have the product for the customer.”

Walmart said it will use the wristband system for certain Black Friday and Thanksgiving Night in-store sales promotions. A common shopper complaint in years past has been there was not enough product for the demand, and even though they waited in line they were not always guaranteed the deal because supply was too short.

Walmart Store Manager in Rogers, Tina Budnaitus, told Talk Business & Politics they have planned for the Thanksgiving Night and Black Friday sales since August. She said the store maps available with the Walmart app are given out ahead of time so shoppers can plan their route during the busy shopping time. She said this year the stores will use colored balloons in certain areas to signify the product category such as yellow for the toys. She said the balloons are easily seen across the store even when it’s crowded.

“This year those giving out wristbands will be told not to give out wristbands that outnumber the product inventory. We are serious about this,” she said. “The stores will be completely staffed, all registers open and we have additional security personnel to ensure everyone’s safety.”

She said the $99 drone and the virtual reality headsets are first-time items this year for the Walmart in-store Black Friday deals.

“It will be interesting to see how those sell,” she said.

A majority of the electronic and toy deals are online exclusives for the second year in row at Walmart. In hopes of selling more online Walmart said it ramped up its merchandise for online-only deals by 50% over last year. One thing Walmart did not change is that it is not offering free shipping deals outside the norm during the holiday period, despite Target’s free shipping offers. Target is also offering certain Black Friday deals on its website beginning Thanksgiving morning. Target plans to open its physical stores at 6 p.m. local time Thanksgiving Day.

Competitor Best Buy will open Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m. local time. Toys R US will also open at 5 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving Day and remain open for 30 continuous hours.

“Our customers have voted at the doors year after year, and they continue to want the option to get an early start on their holiday shopping lists,” Joe Venezia, executive vice president of global store operations at Toys R Us, said in a statement.

Amazon kicked off its Black Friday Deals Stores earlier this week featuring sales and updating items daily until Dec. 22. Adobe Digital Insights predicts online sales across the industry will grow 15.6% on Thanksgiving to $2 billion. Overall, Adobe predicts online sales will increase 11% this holiday season to $91.6 billion – just shy of last season’s 12.7% growth.

Kantar Research projects retail sales growth of 3.8% for the fourth quarter, a slight increase over the 3.4% growth in the year-ago period. Kantar also expects the majority of the growth this year will be driven by online sales, which it says will increase nearly 16%. Brick-and-mortar growth will be a modest 2%, the same as last year.

BLACK FRIDAY IMPACT

How much do Black Friday sales really matter for retailers and their bottom line? Analysts say it’s hard to know the exact impact of that one day because the buying habits of consumers have changed so much in recent years. That said, the year-end shopping season, which typically spans November and December, can account from 20% to 40% of retailer’s annual sales.

The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to grow 3.6% this year to more than $655.8 billion. NRF expects American consumers to spend an average of $935.58 this holiday shopping season, based on its annual survey of consumers conducted by Prosper Insight. Per capita spending is expected to dip 1.78% from last year’s $952.58 all-time high.

The trade group said consumers cite a slight cautiousness in spending this year in part because of the election and the uncertainty of the administration change. Close to half of consumers have been tackling their holiday lists early again this year, with 41% saying they started shopping in October or earlier, according to the NRF survey.

“While many holiday shoppers are starting early on their gift lists, Millennials are waiting to catch the best deals for their gifts, with nearly half (46%) waiting until November to start shopping,” said Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “Younger consumers are likely to be looking forward to the Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping ‘experience’ — and know that retailers will be offering great promotions that weekend.”

Charles O’Shea, senior retail analyst with Moody’s, has said retailers are in better shape this holiday season because of improved inventory control. He said shoppers out on Thanksgiving Night and Black Friday are not shopping they are buying, scouring for the best deals. He said how much retailer’s really make on the discounted deals varies widely and it’s more about taking share than padding bottom line.

ADDITIONAL LABOR COSTS

Not only are prices extremely discounted but store labor costs are also higher during the holiday season which also squeezes margins.

“Lower prices and job growth will stimulate more holiday shopping activity this year,” said Doug Hermanson, principal economist with Kantar Retail. “On the other hand, falling prices will create a tough environment for topline retail sales growth. And while expectations of stronger than average e-commerce growth this holiday won’t surprise many, the distance at which e-commerce will lead brick-and-mortar growth will be much wider than recent years.”

Retail hiring for the last three months of 2016 is expected to be about the same as last year’s 738,800 seasonal job as reported by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The global outplacement consultant firm said in retail stores the number is stagnant but higher in warehousing and transportation as e-commerce takes a bigger share of the overall spend.

Amazon has announced the hiring of 120,000 temporary workers to handle holiday demand, up 20% from the 100,000 hired in 2015. Target plans to hire almost 80,000 seasonal employees, the majority of those (70,000) are for stores and about 8,000 are for warehousing and fulfillment centers related to online sales. JCPenney has said it will hire 40,000 holiday workers, about 2,000 to support online orders. Kohl’s will hire 69,000 this year which includes in-store and warehouse fulfillment.

Walmart has not disclosed its holiday hiring plan this year. Last year the retail giant announced in September it would hire 60,000 for the holiday season.

Macy’s will hire 83,000 for positions at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Those jobs are are in stores, call centers and distribution and fulfillment.

Logistics giants United Parcel Service (UPS) will hire 95,000 seasonal workers who do a majority of loading and unloading trucks. The U.S. Postal Service will hire 35,000 workers this year, up from 29,000 last year. Federal Express has not yet disclosed its holiday hiring plans.

Story by : Talk Business & Politics

Apple Supplies Strong For Promotions

Higher overall inventories of U.S. apples should give buyers plenty of promotion options this season, with a double-digit increase over the five-year average.
Fresh apple inventories as of Nov. 1 totaled 134.8 million bushel (42-pound) cartons, up 14% from year-ago levels and 13% higher than the five-year average.
The November storage report from the U.S. Apple Association, the first of the season, shows total apple inventories were 179.1 million cartons, up 11% from a year ago and from the five-year average.
Nov. 1 total fresh holdings were 8.1 million cartons in the Northeast U.S., down from 11.4 million cartons a year ago and 10.5 million two years ago. New York’s fresh holdings were pegged at 5.82 million cartons, or more than 70% of remaining fresh supply.
For the Midwest, the Nov. 1 storage report showed 7.7 million cartons of fresh apples on hand, up from 6.9 million cartons in 2015 and 6.7 million cartons in 2014. Within the Midwest region, the storage report showed Michigan accounted for 7.54 million cartons, or 98% of the Midwest fresh supply.
Northwest U.S. fresh apple holdings on Nov. 1 were 117.6 million cartons, up from 98.4 million cartons a year ago but off from 127 million cartons in 2014.
For the Northwest region, Washington’s Nov. 1 apple inventories were 116.3 million cartons, or 99% of remaining fresh apples in the Northwest states.
Variety breakdown
The leading U.S. fresh varieties on hand Nov. 1 were red delicious (39 million cartons), gala (25.9 million), fuji (14.7 million), granny smith (13.7 million), golden delicious (8.1 million), Honeycrisp (7 million cartons) and cripps pink/Pink Lady (5.5 million cartons).
The Washington State Tree Fruit Association on Nov. 9 raised its estimate of the Washington fresh apple crop to 137.4 million cartons, up 3.4% from the August estimate of 132.9 million 40-pound cartons.
“Apple harvest is still ongoing for some Washington varieties, but based on volumes harvested so far our members are expecting an increase to 137.4 million boxes,” Jon DeVaney, Washington State Tree Fruit Association president, said in the release. “Since not all varieties have finished being picked, this estimated total may be revised in December. Our members are seeing a high-quality crop with good storage potential, meaning consumers can expect delicious Washington apples throughout 2017.”
Declining inventories of Honeycrisp apples in Michigan will give Washington marketers more opportunities in the Midwest, said Roger Pepperl, marketing director of Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers Inc.
“The demand for Honeycrisp in the Midwest is bigger than ever and we have the supplies to back it up,” he said.
The size of the Northeast U.S. apple crop is diminished in volume and fruit size, which gives Washington marketers room to expand sales, he said.
Pepperl said there is plenty of premium fruit in long-term storage in Washington state this season.
“We have a lot of bigger sizes this and you are not seeing large diversions of smaller fruit to lesser markets that might want a lesser quality (apple),” he said. “We have a lot of holiday promotions coming up which is the time we shine.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Washington f.o.b.s for size 72 galas on Nov. 10 was $24-26 per carton, compared with $28 to $32.90 the same day a year ago.
Washington size 72 Honeycrisp showed prices ranging from $65-$68.90 per carton for top fruit on Nov. 10, compared with $60 to $65 per carton the same time a year ago.
Washington size 72 red delicious prices were $26-28 per carton for best fruit on Nov. 10, up from $18 to $20 per carton at the same time last year, according to the USDA.

Wal-Mart Pledges To Double Its Locally Grown Produce Sales In The U.S.

Wal-Mart plans to double its locally grown produce sales in the United States by 2025.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant has been focusing on this program for a number of years. Wal-Mart more than doubled its locally grown produce sales between 2009 and 2015, from $404 million to $825 million, according to Ragan Dickens, director of sustainability communications for the company.

Based on that 2015 number, Wal-Mart’s goal is to have local produce sales of at least $1.65 billion in 2025.

“Customers love local produce,” Dickens said in an e-mail. “Setting a goal to yet again double local produce will deliver on customers’ expectations for freshness, supporting their local community and removing food miles.”

The company’s definition of local produce is produce grown in the same state in which the store is located.

Wal-Mart president and CEO Doug McMillon spoke about the initiative and others Nov. 4 at the Net Impact Conference as part of an outline for a “new era of trust and transparency.”

McMillon said Wal-Mart is also committing to expand sustainable sourcing for what it deems 20 key commodities. Those include bananas and grapes, according to a news release from the company.

The company has changes planned for packaging as well, aiming for its private-label packaging to be 100% recyclable by 2025. It is also continuing to encourage its suppliers to reduce their packaging.

It has been 10 years since the company introduced supplier “scorecards” designed to urge suppliers to cut down on packaging. At the time, more than 1,000 North American fresh produce shippers were asked to document and track information about their packaging in an effort to reduce waste.

Wal-Mart released a document it calls the Sustainable Packaging Playbook in late October “to provide guidance, best practices, and tips for how to make packaging more recyclable, optimized, and sourced sustainably,” Dickens said in the e-mail.

Story by: Thepacker

October Employees Of The Month

Congratulations to Steven Hutchinson and Stephen Schmitz, ReedTMS Logistics’ employees of the month! Stephen Schmitz has been an incredible asset to the mid-west team and routinely handles the area with great poise. While Steven, a former driver has taken exceptionally to his new role as a driver manager and continually does everything possible to ensure drivers are taken care of.

Some of the comments as to why they were nominated are as follows:
“Steven came into the role of Driver Manager with the experience of driving for TMS.  He has taken ownership in his position and has tackled every task at hand with enthusiasm.
“Steven goes above and beyond on a daily basis. He comes in early and stays late to ensure TMS driver’s are taken care of.”
“Steven willing will run in the truck when needed and assisted with taking the USF Football trailer up to Syracuse. He always has a positive attitude and is always willing to do what is needed.”
“Stephen has done a great job taking over the West Dry zone.  He has been able to establish carrier base that allows him to prebook not only his freight but the midwest dry as well.  He has been a valuable addition to the team.”
“Stephen has made the most of an extremely tough market in the Midwest. This is by far one of the toughest seats to be in and Stephen has went above in beyond in the Month of October. With an incredible amount of loads booked and his great attitude all around…this is why Stephen gets my vote.”
” Stephen always comes to work with a positive attitude and covers the most difficult freight in the company.”
Thanks for all you do Stephen and Steve, keep up the good work!