Holiday Hopes

Which retailers are ready to stand out in 2012?
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Posted October 17, 2012

$749.51. That’s the amount the average holiday shopper is expected to spend on gifts, decor, greeting cards and more this holiday season, the National Retail Federation (NRF, Washington, D.C.) reports in its annual holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight. That total is up slightly from last year, and as a whole the NRF is forecasting that holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion in 2012. (For more on the report, click here.)

“As the most promotional time of the year, retailers will continue to look for ways to stand out, specifically with attractive deals on toys, electronics and apparel, even well before the official start of the holiday shopping season – Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” says NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay.

But today’s shopper wants more than just a good deal. She wants an experience that feels special, authentic and designed to fit her needs, especially around the holidays. So how are retailers looking to stand out in 2012? Already the season looks to have a few treats in store.

Macy’s (Cincinnati) recently announced it’s partnering with Toys“R”Us to open branded toy shops inside its department stores. Seattle-based Microsoft is focusing on consumers by bringing temporary holiday shops filled with technology and electronics products to such tourist-heavy destinations as Times Square. Mass merchant Target Corp. (Minneapolis) has several incentives planned for the season, including a holiday collection with luxury department store retailer Neiman Marcus (Dallas). During the unveiling this week, Greg Steinhafel, Target Corp.’s chairman and ceo, and Karen Katz, president and ceo of the Neiman Marcus Group, talked about the unusual partnership. “Target is without peer in its ability to source and manufacture. This will resonate with those who shop at Target or Neiman Marcus or both. It’s the perfect match in every way,” says Katz, according to a Women’s Wear Daily article.

That match includes a Christmas ornament by Rodarte, a stationery set by Carolina Herrera, a Proenza Schouler sweatshirt and girl’s dresses designed by Jason Wu, to name just a few.

Steinhafel says the mass merchant’s customers get its value proposition, something that can be measured in its strong apparel business this year. “We’re seeing signs and glimmers of hope,” he told WWD.

Others may be as fortunate as long as they think outside the box and focus on delivering the unusual and unexpected in 2012.