See Which Retailers Offer Free Shipping

See Which Retailers Offer Free Shipping

The website istobe offers a daily free shipping report for over 500 online retailers, where you can quickly see whether there’s a minimum purchase requirement or if the retailer offers free shipping at all. It’s a good resource to use as you compare prices, and istobe says they update it daily.

Are You Ready To Go Shopping On Your Next Flight?

Are You Ready To Go Shopping On Your Next Flight?

American Airlines is beginning to experiment with turning flights into shopping opportunities, reports the New York Times. We’re not just talking about in-flight purchases of Sky Mall schwag, either: the paper reports that limousine services, tickets to theme parks and Broadway shows, and train tickets are some of the offerings being considered or currently being tested.

What Cheer? Consumers More Glum Than Ever

What Cheer? Consumers More Glum Than Ever

Retailers have been hoping that we’d enter the annual Festival of Shopping with higher spirits than last year, but it looks like that might not happen after all. The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index was updated today, and it shows a drop to 66.0, “well below October’s reading of 70.6 and a sharp reversal of the 71.0 figure economists had expected.”

Store Theft In The US Jumped 8.8% Last Year

Store Theft In The US Jumped 8.8% Last Year

Maybe this is why stores seem to be getting more and more aggressive about shoplifting: CNN says that retail theft in the US jumped 8.8% over the past year, versus only 1.5% in the prior year. But you may be surprised (only if you’ve never worked retail) to see where most of the theft occurs.

Newly Frugal Behavior Is Permanent, Say Some Consumers

Newly Frugal Behavior Is Permanent, Say Some Consumers

A new study says that 26% of US consumers “have no plans to return to their free-spending ways,” which probably doesn’t sound like good news to retailers. Even worse (for retailers), about a third say they’ve become less loyal.

Sony's Ebook Store Prices Too High? Try Shortcovers

Sony's Ebook Store Prices Too High? Try Shortcovers

Michael bought a Sony Pocket Reader last month, but with the exception of $10 bestsellers, he’s finding that other books he wants are priced higher than he’s willing to pay. For example, Tad Friend’s memoir Cheerful Money is $10 on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble, but $17.49 from Sony. Michael wants to know if we have any advice on how to get Sony to lower their prices.

Layaway Making A Comeback

Layaway Making A Comeback

Sears and Toys R Us are among retailers who have brought back layaway programs to help boost sales, reports Eve Mitchell at the San Jose Mercury News. Not all stores think it’s worth the effort, so you won’t find it at JCPenney, Target, or Walmart. However, if you want to use layaway at retailers that don’t offer it, there are now websites that can help.

Walmart Prepares For New Push Into Major Urban Areas

Walmart Prepares For New Push Into Major Urban Areas

If you live in Chicago, New York City, or Philadelphia, expect to start hearing some noise about Walmart in the coming months. The retailer has announced that it’s going to “step up efforts to mobilize local political support” so that it can finally open stores in those cities, reports the Financial Times.

Radio Shack Opening Mobile Phone Kiosks In Target Stores

Radio Shack Opening Mobile Phone Kiosks In Target Stores

One problem I’ve always had when shopping for jacked-up prices is I can’t find enough crazy to go along with it. Same thing for the crazy: I know where to go to get cart-loads of that, but I can’t find the 2400% markup! What I need, clearly, is for Radio Shack to open up specialty kiosks inside Target stores, so then— oh hey! It’s the Bullseye Mobile Solution!

Best Buy Can Now Overcharge New Yorkers 'Round The Clock

Best Buy Can Now Overcharge New Yorkers 'Round The Clock

If you like Best Buy, come to New York City! In November the company will open its first 24-hour store, in the remodeled carcass of the Circuit City that formerly anchored Union Square. In fact, it’s probably best we call it the Circuit City Best Buy to avoid confusion. According to Best Buy’s PR department, the store will also feature “the largest Best Buy Musical Instruments Department in the United States.”

Linens 'N Things Resurrected (In Canada)

Linens 'N Things Resurrected (In Canada)

In today’s marketplace, going out of business doesn’t mean you go away forever. Your storefronts may disappear, but you’ll just pop up again online—like CompUSA and Circuit City—or you’ll come back on someone else’s shelves as a brand, like Linens ‘N Things.

Christmas This Year Will Be Less Tacky

Christmas This Year Will Be Less Tacky

Because retailers plan their Christmas offerings so far in advance, most were too far along with trendy or ostentatious Christmas merchandise to change course last year, reports the Associated Press. This year they’re prepared to pursue the fiscally conservative consumer, which means everyone is selling the holiday decor equivalent of comfort food.

Connecticut Bathroom Access Law Now In Effect

Connecticut Bathroom Access Law Now In Effect

Connecticut shoppers with bowel disorders, rejoice! Now, there’s a sentence we never expected to write. In order to prevent humiliating and undignified restroom access debacles for people with verified medical conditions, Connecticut has passed a law guaranteeing their access to otherwise off-limits restrooms in public places. The law went into effect on October 1st.

Men's Retailer Begs For Customers

Men's Retailer Begs For Customers

Here’s a new take on direct mail that we’ll call the “painfully honest but kind of sad” approach. George Anderson at RetailWire writes that a local men’s retailer sent him the following plea via snail mail.

Target Must Pay $600,000 To Settle Lead Paint Charges

Target Must Pay $600,000 To Settle Lead Paint Charges

Looks like the CPSC can afford donuts tomorrow for their office: Target has agreed to pay $600,000 for selling toys with too much lead on them from May 2006 to August 2007, reports Reuters. The fine “resolves allegations” over the issue, so now Target can focus on what it does best, which is act crazy.

Why Even Bad Online Reviews Can Increase Sales

Why Even Bad Online Reviews Can Increase Sales

We’re generally quite critical of companies that try to squelch negative online reviews, astroturf them, or just bribe customers for positive ones. Not only is this behavior bad for consumers, but the experience of one company shows that it’s bad for businesses, too.

Walmart's New Competitor-Crushing Initiative

Walmart's New Competitor-Crushing Initiative

Walmart is looking to grow. Yes, grow. Their latest initiative, “Project Impact,” aims to make stores easier and quicker to navigate, improve customer service, and to move in on competitors’ territory as much as possible.

Retail Expert Describes What Men Want Out Of A Shopping Experience

Retail Expert Describes What Men Want Out Of A Shopping Experience

Brand specialist Bertrand Pellegrin has published a new book for retailers that says if they want to capture the typical guy’s dollar, they need to create more inviting spaces to shop in. The author “points to electronics stores, strip clubs, sports bars and gyms as spots where men feel comfortable socializing and spending money.” That may all be (kind of) true, but that’s gonna make one hell of a noisy, sleazy, sweaty, drunken place to shop for clothes.