Retail roundup: PacSun prepares for store closings, free shipping at Macys.com, 2010 toy industry figures
-- Teen retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., which has struggled through nine straight quarters of sales declines and losses, will close between 20 and 25 stores at the end of the month, Chief Executive Gary Schoenfeld said in an interview Friday. The locations are all underperforming and the chain has opted to not renew their leases; Schoenfeld didn't specify which stores would be affected.
-- Macys.com is caving to pressure from customers by launching free shipping -- but only on purchases of $99 or more. On smaller orders the company will charge a flat fee of $8, with some exclusions. For beauty products, customers can receive free shipping on purchases of $50 or more.
Previously, the website would require special codes for free shipping offers or would have free shipping only during promotional periods or holidays.
Macy's said it is now "one of a select few national retailers to offer free shipping within the United States," but the move still falls short of online retailers such as Zappos.com, which offers free shipping every day with no minimum purchase, or Amazon.com, which offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more.
-- The toy industry saw a slight uptick last year, with sales rising 2% over 2009, according to the NPD Group. U.S. retail sales of toys totaled $21.87 billion, up from $21.46 billion a year earlier. Strong fourth-quarter sales, which were up 3% year-over-year, amounted to $10.2 billion, representing close to half of the year's total.
Plush and building sets saw the most significant increases at 18% and 13%, respectively. Outdoor and sports toys saw an increase of 9%, and dolls and infant/preschool had increases of 6%.
-- Andrea Chang