retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• A new study by Harris Interactive, commissioned by Coupons.com, suggests that “approximately 99% of U.S. adults are aware of rising food prices, and the vast majority (95%) plans to employ at least one savings strategy at the grocery store as a result ... The survey found that incorporating coupons was the most popular planned activity to off-set rising food prices, cited by nearly three-quarters (72%) of U.S. adults. This strategy was followed by other budget-stretching actions, including comparing unit prices of package sizes (71%) and shopping at discount grocery stores (66%). The study also identified other planned behavior, including stocking up when items reach rock-bottom prices (64%) and buying in bulk (57%), among others.

• Interbrand is out with a report saying that Tesco is the UK’s most valuable retail brand, followed by marks & Spenser. According to the report, both retailers combined value, sharp pricing and a positive in-store experience to achieve the distinction.

According to the report, “The brands that got it wrong offered less, for less, by slashing prices and failing to invest or innovate. The brands that did well managed to focus on price without compromising...”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that NCR, through its Blockbuster Express-branded kiosks that compete with Coinstar’s Redbox in the DVD rental space, “is expanding a pilot program to rent movies on the same day they are available for sale, charging more than it does for older titles.

“After seeing an enthusiastic response to its four-city trial of the higher-priced rentals, launched in December, NCR will go nationwide Tuesday with the so-called ‘day-and-date plan.’ It will begin the broader test Tuesday with Oscar-winner "Black Swan"; other national titles will include "Casino Jack" and "Gulliver's Travels” ... Day-and-date films will rent for $2.99 for the first night; Blu-ray discs will rent for $3.99. Older DVDs cost $1 a night, or $2 for Blu-ray discs.”

• The BBC reports that British retailer Marks & Spencer plans to re-enter the French market with a 15,000 square foot store on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, a decade after the company pulled out of France.

In addition, M&S reportedly is considering opening a number of franchised Simply Food stores in Paris, and may also launch an international online business.
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