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Jennifer Marks

Home is Where the Cart is

Jennifer Marks EDITOR-IN-CHIEFJennifer Marks Editor in Chief
FOR ALL THE CONCERN about consumer spending intentions - well-placed, certainly - one channel of retailing continues to balloon: e-commerce.
     Retailers that serve hard-pressed moderate consumers in particular have noted that their shoppers are cutting back on the number of trips they're making to stores. At the same time, online shopping grows steadily.
     In the recent spate of quarterly financial reports from retailers, HSNi (formerly known as the Home Shopping Network) said e-commerce sales grew 22% for its Cornerstone Brands division (which includes Garnet Hill and Frontgate, among other brands) and 11% for HSN.
     Macy's Inc. reported that online sales for macys.com and bloomingdales.com combined rocketed up 40.2% in the second quarter and 39.2% in the first half. Even Sears Holding - parent of Kmart, Sears U.S. and Sears Canada - saw online sales jump 32% during a quarter that otherwise had not much to crow about, numbers-wise.
     The laggard: JCPenney, which experienced fairly robust online growth before the Great Recession. During the second quarter, JCP's internet sales rose only 2.8%.
     Last week, Stein Mart announced the creation of a new ecommerce guru position. Target said it is preparing an ecommerce re-launch this fall that has been two years in development. There's also been movement on the supplier side. Last week, Laura Ashley debuted an e-commerce site for product created by U.S. licensees, and Sure Fit - a pioneer among home textiles suppliers in terms of e-commerce - launched an improved site.
     The flash site/membership sale e-commerce channel is also erupting. Recent weeks saw the introduction of Froogal and Fab as well as the expansion of Mertado and MyHabitat (Amazon's membership-only fashion site) into home textiles.
     And I just deleted four more paragraphs about recent moves in e-commerce and m-commerce (social media) developments to save space.
     Bottom line: The fastest growing shopping cart going these days is a keypad.

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