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Market Track: November 2012

Promotional activity among the nation’s leading retailers declined during November aside from several notable exceptions. There was a flurry of intense promotional activity around Thanksgiving weekend, as always, but for the months as a whole the number of inserts distributed by retailers declined 7% and the number of pages declined by 5%.

The main retailer that did not follow that trend was Walmart, who increased page counts by 75% and the number of inserts by 60%. A number of other retailers increased their page counts while maintaining the number of inserts as compared to last year, specifically JC Penney, Sears, Toys R Us, Kroger, and Safeway, while Target increased the average number of inserts yet decreased their page counts.

Walmart increased both the number of flyers and page counts, nearly doubling both when compared to last year. Home Hardware, Drug Stores and Office Supply stores significantly reduced the number of pages in their flyers, but continued to distributed an average of one circular per week.  With decreases in page counts that range from 14% (approximately 16 pages for Walgreens) to over 50% (approximately 32 pages for Lowes), these retailers reduced the pressure on Mass, Department and Specialty stores for the early holiday shopper dollars.

Two of the retailers that had the highest volume of promotional activity in 2011 (Kohl’s and Target) reduced their page counts which put them more in line with other retailers.  JC Penney released more pages this year (up 5%) while cutting the number of inserts in half (down to just over 7 for the average market).

Grocery stores continued to feel the pressure of increased promotional activity from Mass Merchants and responded by distributing more pages in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.  Safeway was up 20% in number of pages in the first two weeks of the month, before settling back to an increase of 7% for the entire period through cuts in page counts during the week of Thanksgiving.

It’s important to note a number of factors should be considered when examining the number of inserts and pages retailers send into the marketplace. Market Track’s granular level of data reflects regional versioning and market specific differences. This is accomplished through an extensive collections process, including physically obtaining the ads from the various markets in which they are distributed. In the instance that retailers send additional circulars to a limited number of markets, Market Track’s information reflects these nuances through numbers with decimals (for average number of inserts per market) and odd numbers (for average number of pages).

About Market Track:
Market Track is a market intelligence firm dedicated to increasing customers’ returns on their promotional investments. Through innovative technology and marketplace expertise, they monitor and analyze over 200 U.S. and Canadian markets for every channel of trade in order provide retailers and manufacturers with superior tools to monitor promotional activity, support dynamic decision making and turn information into market intelligence. For more information, contact Market Track at 1.800.235.3781 or e-mail perspectives@markettrack.com.

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