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Good piece from Bloomberg about something that seems to be happening less and less these days - impulse buying.

The reason? According to Bill Martin, CEO at ShopperTrak, the combination of technology and economic hard times has created a climate in which people go to the store less, which makes it easier for them to avoid browsing the aisles.

More often than ever, people are either making their purchases on the Internet, or are researching their purchases on the web before going to the store, and then walking in with a list and greater sense of purpose. Browsing happens less, and therefore, impulse purchasing happens less.

“These mission shoppers visit fewer stores -- three per trip, down from five pre-recession, according to ShopperTrak. As a result, foot traffic may fall 2.2 percent during the holiday shopping marathon, says the Chicago-based research firm.”

Bloomberg goes on to report that “the shift will hit some chains harder. Electronics stores such as Best Buy are most at risk because it’s so easy to research gadgets online first ... Apparel chains like Limited Brands Inc. may fare better because even mission shoppers have to stick around long enough to try on clothes.”

The climate means that “retailers are being forced to adapt at a time when they’re closing stores and trying to attract consumers made cautious by a 9.1 percent jobless rate. The rising competitive pressures may accelerate an ongoing shakeout, said David Maddocks, who runs an eponymous consulting firm in Portland, Oregon.”
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