The calendar might have just turned to October and the leaves on the trees haven’t even started to turn yet, but retailers are already looking ahead to the holiday shopping season.
And it’s expected to be a big one this year.
On Tuesday (Oct. 4), the National Retail Federation said it expects holiday sales to increase 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion.
Here are some of the other big winners and losers of the retail game at the moment.
Google officially introduced Google Home on Tuesday, the search giant’s answer to Amazon’s Echo and other smart home devices. Google Home will retail for $129 and will be available in stores on Nov. 4 but is available for pre-order now.
Google Home is a Wi-Fi-connected speaker that allows users to access music and other services through voice commands, and it looks like it’s about to ramp up the device and Internet of Things war between Amazon, Google, Apple and whoever else wants to throw their hat into the ring.
Also on Tuesday, Google unveiled its latest smartphones, the five-inch Pixel that will retail at $649 and the 5.5-inch Pixel XL that will retail for $769. The Pixel, which also went on presale on Tuesday, will come with 4GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, a 12MP rear-facing camera and a fingerprint sensor. And it’s blue. Really blue.
Bass Pro Shops is going to buy its outdoor sporting competitor, Cabela’s, for $5.5 billion, which works out to $65.50 per share.
Founded in 1961 by Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela, Cabela’s now operates 85 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada.
“Today’s announcement marks an exceptional opportunity to bring together three special companies with an abiding love for the outdoors and a passion for serving sportsmen and sportswomen,” Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, said in a statement announcing the agreement. “The story of each of these companies could only have happened in America, made possible by our uniquely American free enterprise system. We have enormous admiration for Cabela’s, its founders and outfitters and its loyal base of customers. We look forward to continuing to celebrate and grow the Cabela’s brand alongside Bass Pro Shops and White River as one unified outdoor family.”
EMV chip cards were supposed to make things easier and more secure for merchants.
But a new report from Yahoo Finance found that they also make a transaction about 20 seconds longer, and those 20 seconds can add up to minutes a day that merchants aren’t making sales because of consumers struggling to grasp the new chip reader technology at the checkout counter.
“Say you run, for example, a high-traffic business, like a sandwich shop that processed 100 transactions per hour in the swipe era during a heavy lunch rush,” according to the Yahoo Finance report. “If you add 20 seconds to each transaction, it would take an extra 34 minutes to hit 100 transactions per hour. In other words, in that hour, checkout efficiency would have fallen significantly to just 64 customers per hour. It’s as bad as cash, which Visa once lampooned as slow and inefficient.”
Trunk Club, Nordstrom’s online shopping service where a stylist will ship men (and now women, too) a curated trunk that they can try on at their own leisure and keep the items they want, is now charging a $25 at-home try-on fee and shortening the return window from 10 days to five days.
A federal judge has ruled that Costco Wholesale Corp. violated and infringed on the name “Tiffany” and must now pay Tiffany & Co. $5.5 million for selling engagement rings the wholesaler labeled as “Tiffany.”
According to Retail Dive, Costco argued that it should only have to pay $781,000 because it only sold about 2,500 rings. Tiffany & Co. could also seek punitive damages as a result of the trademark infringement.