business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From USA Today:

"Some Target stores are getting an Apple upgrade.

"The Minneapolis-based retailer announced Thursday that a new 'enhanced Apple shopping experience' debuts online and will begin rolling out this month to 17 stores across the country and is scheduled to arrive in additional stores by the end of fall.

"The new concept doubles Apple’s footprint in select Target stores and brings displays for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods and other accessories together in one space 'designed for guests to experience new products through demonstrations,' Target said in a news release, adding its tech employees are receiving specialized training from Apple.

"Five Texas and four Florida stores are getting the upgrade along with one location apiece in eight other states: California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania."

The story notes that "this is not the first time Target worked with a popular national brand. In October 2019, mini Disney shops opened in 25 Target stores with a "shop-in-shop" layout with an average of 750 square feet … Target and Ulta Beauty announced in November that they were teaming up to bring 100 small 'Ulta Beauty at Target"' beauty shops to more than 100 Target locations and online in the second half of 2021, with plans to 'scale to hundreds more over time'."  And, "in October, Target announced it was expanding its partnership with Levi Strauss & Co and would bring Levi’s Red Tab collection to 500 Target stores by fall 2021."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Traditional retail chains like Macy’s Inc. that derive much of their income from shoppers who pay with a store credit card are making room for a less-lucrative customer: buy now, pay later.

"The emerging payment option is a modern take on old-fashioned layaway plans, allowing shoppers to pay for purchases over time. The difference is they get the goods upfront. Chains from Macy’s to Gap Inc. to Neiman Marcus Group Inc. have introduced buy now, pay later options in recent months to attract younger shoppers, who are less likely to use credit cards."

Maybe it is just me, but this doesn't exactly sound like the answer to competitive woes.  Is the problem that people want to shop at these stores and don't have the money?  Or is the problem that people don't want to shop there, and not having to pay for products up front won't make a damned bit of difference?  Methinks that they may be putting their focus on the wrong problem.

•  Kantar is out with a new report on integrated print and digital promotion activity, saying that "overall print promotion activity saw a decrease of -15.1% in 2020, while year-over-year digital activity decreased -8% for the first time as manufacturers and retailers reacted to COVID-19."

According to the report, "181 billion print coupons distributed $427 billion in purchase incentives across 85 billion pages in 2020. Looking at digital promotions, there were 7.9 billion print coupons 'clipped,' $15 billion in purchase incentives 'clipped' and 1.3 billion coupon pages viewed."