According to Bloomberg, retailers expect to close 73,000 stores in the first half of 2009, because no one bought enough Christmas presents. Thanks, Marc!
Shoppers are frequently haggling over prices, even at major chain stores, the AP reports. With retail stores suffering, “you’d have to be a moron not to ask for a discount.”
In an update and conclusion, reader Sean let us know he finally got satisfaction regarding his story that we posted, “Circuit City Credits Wrong Card For $130 Return, Sends You Away With Nothing.”
Everyone seems to agree– this year will be the year of the cheap big-screen tv. The only question remains… will anyone buy them?
Last month, Walmart announced it was shutting down the DRM side of its online music store, and too bad if you were a customer, because they were also going to turn off the DRM server that authorized your music for playback. Apparently enough customers complained, because they came to their senses—at least for the time being—and decided to keep the server running. Read their email below.
Last week, Walmart sent out emails to its online music store customers letting them know that on October 9th, 2008, they will no longer be able to play any DRM-crippled tracks. Unlike Yahoo, which did the right thing by offering free replacement downloads of unprotected songs when they killed their DRM program, Walmart simply brags about its new unlicensed model and tells you to burn your protected tracks to CD if you really want to listen to them in the future. Good job, Walmart, there goes another betrayed consumer into the welcoming arms of digital piracy. And another. And another…
Shaw’s has wised up to the trick of using a basket instead of a shopping cart to physically limit your grocery purchases, and they’ve come up with a creative workaround: convertible baskets that you can drag behind you on wheels when they become too heavy to carry.
Sidd snapped this photo at the Palisades Mall in West Nyack, NY over the weekend. “Flexible hours” in this case might mean a lot of free time very soon.
The New York Times reports that several supermarket and retail chains, including Safeway, Walmart, and Whole Foods, are beginning to experiment with much smaller store sizes that emphasize things like cafes, prepared meals, and produce. The idea is to emphasize speed over choice, and was apparently triggered by UK competitor Tesco, which has launched over 70 small-format supermarkets in Nevada, Arizona, and Southern California over the past year. Of course, the stores also require less shelf space for products than they did a year ago.
Best Buy will start selling the iPhone on September 7th, making it the only retailer other than Apple and AT&T to offer the device. [Associated Press]
Starbucks has released the complete list of stores that will be closing. You can browse the full list, organized alphabetically by state, inside.
Violating every conceivable standard of decency, the Grocery Shrink Ray has unleashed a heartless attack on baby cheese. Mini Babybels, those adorably pudgy wax-encrusted cheese cylinders, were once allowed to grow until they reached 132 grams. Now, the Babybel’s are a stunted 120 grams.
“The Camera Professionals” are not actually that professional, nor do they have cameras to sell you. That’s what ZDNet reporter Josh Taylor discovered when he decided to take their Google AdWord bait and buy a camcorder they were offering for nearly $300 less than other stores. He didn’t expect much success, and he was richly rewarded:
Best Buy, Circuit City, and Sears are all contesting the FCC’s recent fines against them for not properly following analog transition rules in their stores, reports Ars Technica. Last week, Best Buy submitted a 41-page response (PDF) that claimed among other things that the FCC has no authority to fine them.
A former camera store manager came forward to defend retail renting as a common tactic that helps drive sales. Retail renting is when a customer buys a pricey item like a prom dress with the intention of returning it later. Our completely unscientific poll shows that 70% of you disapprove of retail renting, but our tipster insists that it is a victimless crime and a valuable sales tool. Our enlightening chat with the former manager, inside.
Update: Zappos will still surprise customers with free overnight shipping, but it is no longer a perk they will actively promote.