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Direct Response Marketing

Walmart, Kohl's Beef Up Marketing for Holidays

20 Nov, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – Expect to see more marketing during the holidays from Walmart and Kohl’s because of disappointing third-quarter sales in both chains, MediaPost News reports – good news for the slew of direct response marketers now with products in both chains.

At Kohl’s, comparable store sales fell 1.6 percent. Overall sales slipped to $4.4 billion, from $4.49 billion. Net income dropped 18 percent to $177 million, from $215 million in the same period a year ago. And at Walmart, sales rose 1.6 percent to $114.9 billion, below analysts’ expectations. And comparable store sales fell 0.3 percent.

Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, describes the marketing push as the retailer’s “best holiday plan ever. We’re committed to being the number one retail destination. We're making sure our shelves are well-stocked with the most popular toys, and we're guaranteeing low prices all season in the store through the Christmas Ad Match Program.”

Kohl’s CEO and chairman Kevin Mansell says in a press release: “We have increased our marketing spending and improved its impact and reach to drive higher traffic to our stores and online. Our customer will find the perfect gift for everyone on her shopping list at Kohl's and will be excited by the value she receives in both our only-at-Kohl's and national brands."

Ashley Shih, managing director at IGS, a strategy consulting firm, says this year it’s all about trying to get the customers first. “Stores are opening earlier, and making sure they put their best foot forward, to maximize whatever opportunities they have. And then they are following up with as many reasons as they can to make sure shoppers come back to them, whether it’s in stores or online,” Shih contends.

Shih adds the retailers are also doing a better job of addressing shoppers’ pain points, citing Walmart’s announcement that it would distribute wristbands for certain items, freeing customers to shop without waiting in long lines.

Shih believes the emphasis on omni-channel shopping will also yield good results this year. “Given that more than half of the U.S. have smartphones now, consumers are effectively carrying around their storefront.” And, while shoppers may be hopping from one chain’s physical store to another’s website, or vice versa, Shih adds, “Stores are recognizing that they have to be available in anyway the consumers want to connect. So it’s good they are striving to be relevant on all channels.”

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