Older consumers buying power tools
Results just released from an NPD Group study indicates that consumers ages 65 and over accounted for 30% more in power tool sales and 16% more in outdoor power equipment sales in the 12 months ending March 2011 than they did in the previous year.
The next age group, 45 years and up, accounted for 11% more in hand tool purchases in the same 12-month period than they did the previous year.
Overall, this past winter was a successful one when it came to snow thrower/blower sales. Unit sales of snow throwers/blowers grew 6% in the 12 months ending March 2011, compared with the same time last year.
Electric staplers and brad nailers grew 7% in unit sales in the 12 months ending March 2011. Sales for wrenches increased 7% between April 2010 and March 2011.
Of the hand tools sold between April 2010 and March 2011, 19% were purchased in the mass and warehouse club channels, while the specialty channel (which includes lumber/building supply, outdoor power equipment stores, Agway, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon.com) grew by 7% in unit sales during this time frame. In power tools, 9% sold between April 2010 and March 2011 were purchased online. For outdoor power equipment, the number was 7%.
“It usually comes down to filling a need,” said Peter Goldman, president of NPD’s home division. “Mother Nature provides an excessive amount of snow, the economy drives consumers to do-it-yourself, a redistribution of discretionary income occurs with aging consumers who are looking to simplify their DIY projects, and therefore, we begin to see sales.”
Explaining the rise in Internet purchasing, Goldman said: “The interesting thing to watch is the increases in online sales, which is not as surprising when consumers are telling us they are spending more time researching their purchases, and the Internet makes this easy for them. But it is [interesting] when growth is occurring among more large items like outdoor power equipment.”
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Shoppers would spend more for good customer service, survey finds
Good customer service sells, according to a new study conducted by American Express.
American Express’ Global Customer Service Barometer discovered that 7-out-of-10 Americans are willing to pay an average of 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service, compared with 58% of Americans who echoed this sentiment in 2010. But while Americans put a heavy emphasis on good customer service, most (60%) believed that companies haven’t stepped up their game to improve their focus on providing good customer service. Among them, 26% believed that companies are paying less attention to their customer service.
What’s more, nearly 8-out-of-10 consumers (78%) said they will bail on a transaction or opt not to make an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. American Express also noted that 2-in-5 (42%) consumers said companies are helpful but don’t do anything extra to keep their business, while 1-in-5 (22%) thought companies take their business for granted.
However, 3-in-5 Americans (59%) that have a better service experience said they would try a new brand or company.
For adult shoppers seeking a company that puts a great emphasis on customer service, 81% of respondents said that small businesses are the way to go.
"Getting service right is more than just a nice-to-do; it’s a must-do," said Jim Bush, American Express EVP world service. "American consumers are willing to spend more with companies that provide outstanding service, and they will also tell, on average, twice as many people about bad service than they [will] about good service. Ultimately, great service can drive sales and customer loyalty."
The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer research was completed online among a random sample of 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18 years and older.
Approximately 70% of those
Approximately 70% of those questioned state that the positive customer service experience is very important in making the buying decision. Then just under 60% say they might still go with a new product or another company. What this means is that we have to be at the top of our game always and never take any customer for granted. It's the new "normal"; but not really new at all. Incidentally, this survey comes from American Express, and they really live what they claim. When they receive a challenge from a customer, they refer to "our mutual customer" as they mediate and seek resolution. Their follow up is exceptional. Customer service with all parties is their whole approach.
Canadian Tire to purchase sporting goods chain
Canadian Tire Corp. has signed an agreement to purchase The Forzani Group (FGL), Canada’s leading sporting goods retailer with 500 outlets across the country and revenues of $1.4 billion a year. The all-cash deal, in which Canadian Tire will purchase all the outstanding shares of FGL for $26.50 per share, has the support of the FDL board of directors, which is recommending to its shareholders to tender their shares to the offer. It is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011 pending regulatory approval.
In its announcement, Canadian Tire said it will gain from having access to an expanded customer base with FGL’s retail banners, including mall-based shoppers and the important 18-to-35-year-old customer segment.
More than 70% of FGL’s sales are in athletic apparel and footwear, with the balance of sales in sporting hard goods that complement Canadian Tire’s assortment with very little overlap, according to the company.
“Canadian Tire is today strengthening its credibility as Canada’s ultimate authority in sports,” said Stephen Wetmore, president and CEO of Canadian Tire. “The acquisition of retail banners like Sport Chek and Sports Experts is a natural extension of our core sports business.”
The offer is not subject to a financing condition, according to Canadian Tire. It is anticipated the $771 million acquisition (excluding FGL debt and shares already owned by Canadian Tire) will be financed with $500 million of cash on hand and the balance with short-term financing. Canadian Tire expects to return to pre-acquisition leverage levels within 18 to 24 months of closing the transaction.
Canadian Tire intends to operate the FGL retail banners as a separate business unit, similar to Mark’s and Canadian Tire Financial Services.
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