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Catering to Hispanics

The top 12 retailers where Hispanics say they've been shopping over the past year.

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The top 12 retailers where Hispanics say they’ve been shopping over the past year.

At 44.3 million people, Hispanics are the largest ethnic group in the United States, and they currently boast a buying power of nearly $1 trillion. Over the past year, Scarborough Research asked nearly 23,000 Hispanic consumers, “Where have you shopped over the past 30 days?” Many of the top retailers chosen have several initiatives in place to specifically target Hispanic shoppers. Tim Kregor, president of Nielsen Consumer Panel Services, recently noted of the needs of these consumers, “By understanding what Hispanic consumers are buying, where they’re buying it, how they’re buying it and why, retailers and marketers can adapt product offerings and promotions to ultimately better satisfy this rapidly growing and diverse consumer segment.”

1. WAL-MART
Hispanic consumers who said they shopped here: 56 percent
“Hispanics have a greater affinity for Wal-Mart than any identifiable segment of the U.S. population,” H. Lee Scott, chief executive officer, said last year during the company’s annual media conference. He pointed out that over a thousand Wal-Mart stores have predominantly Hispanic shoppers, and that his organization is working to continue to reach out to Hispanic consumers. “We are learning a great deal about Hispanic trends through our stores in Mexico and Central America,” Scott stated. “We are also spending about $45 million per year in Spanish-language advertising.”

2. TARGET
34 percent
Earlier this year, ImpreMedia, the number-one Spanish-language newspaper and online publisher, said its flagship publication, La Opinión, had entered a multiyear partnership with Target that calls for the retailer’s ad inserts to be placed in La Opinión and La Opinión Contigo, two of its Los Angeles-based newspapers. Target operates nearly 100 stores in the L.A. area, the largest Hispanic market in the country. Target offers “a surprising selection of ethnic food choices on the grocery shelves of SuperTarget stores…a variety of Latino music…[along with] many other multicultural merchandising choices,” according to the company.

3. J.C. PENNEY*
20 percent
In July, J.C. Penney presented three Hispanic students with college scholarships — each worth $15,000 — at Spanish-language network Univision’s annual Premios Juventud awards show for exceptional youth. Penney’s is the official retail sponsor for Premios Juventud. The company is also taking other strides to reach its Hispanic consumers: Last year, six of its associates were featured in “Somos J.C. Penney,” a special advertising section in People en Español magazine during Hispanic Heritage Month, and the company’s Web site contains a section entirely in Spanish.

4. KMART*
20 percent
In August of 2003, the Troy, Mich.-based retailer, owned by Eddie Lampert’s Sears Holdings Corp., unveiled its exclusive Thalia brand at select stores nationwide. The collection, created by Mexican pop star Thalía Sodi, is aimed at a young, female ethnic audience and features apparel, accessories, hosiery, jewelry, lingerie and home goods. Hispanic Market Weekly said in June that, in an effort to connect with Hispanic consumers, Kmart has returned to a brand staple: The Blue Light Special is back. This time, it’s in human form (versus animated) with Mr. Bluelight — and he speaks Spanish.

5. DOLLAR GENERAL
19 percent
With nearly 1,400 of its 8,000-plus stores located in Texas and Florida alone, Dollar General is getting the word out to southern Hispanic communities in the U.S. The company prides itself on a diverse employee workforce to cater to its range of customers. “We recognize that diversity is a business imperative,” reads the firm’s mission statement. The retailer’s stores average roughly 6,900 square feet and 30 percent of merchandise is priced at $1 or less.

6. DOLLAR TREE
18 percent
At Dollar Tree, specific items may change weekly, but one thing’s for sure: “Every item you find in our stores is priced at $1.00 (or less), every day,” according to the company. Dollar Tree currently has more than 3,200 locations across the U.S. The Arizona Republic reported earlier this year that the Phoenix metro area has witnessed a number of dollar store chains popping up in order to cater to the Valley’s growing Hispanic population. Dollar Tree plans to open 10 to 15 stores in the area within the next 24 months, said Dane Gladden, a real estate manager for the company.

7. SEARS
17 percent
Though Sears Holdings Corp.’s Hispanic magazine, called Nuestra Gente (Our People), shut down in 2005, the company hasn’t slowed in its outreach to Hispanic shoppers. Sears was one of the first retailers to market credit cards to Hispanics: The store card’s section of the Web site provides the option of reading details entirely in Spanish. Additionally, Sears was one of the largest national advertisers in Hispanic newspapers during 2006 (along with number 10-ranked Macy’s), according to Portada, a media company dedicated to Hispanic readers and viewers.

8. KOHL’S
16 percent
Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Kohl’s Corp. has taken on well-known Hispanic entertainers to help lift its awareness within Hispanic communities. For example, actress-model Daisy Fuentes has an exclusive collection with Kohl’s, including sleepwear, shoes and clothing. And 30-year veteran journalist Cristina Saralegui, who is recognized as one of the most influential role models for Hispanic woman, signed on in January to feature a line of home furnishings at Kohl’s called Casa Cristina.

9. SAM’S CLUB*
15 percent
Wal-Mart’s version of the warehouse retail chain format also ranked highly with Hispanic consumers. Last year, select Sam’s stores in Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada and Texas began carrying TuYo Mobile phones. The provider is IDT Telecom’s prepaid wireless service specifically designed for the mobile communication needs of Hispanic consumers. Advertisements in local Spanish-language newspapers were placed to promote the service.

10. MACY’S*
15 percent
As part of its rebranding strategy, unveiled in September 2006, Macy’s embarked on a new promotional campaign that included spots targeting Hispanic consumers. JWT Chicago and Latinvox created the ads in partnership with Macy’s. In its most recent Diversity Report, Bill Hawthorne, vice president of diversity strategies and legal affairs, stated, “It’s critical to our business success to grow our relationships with our multicultural core customers. To solidify those relationships, we strive to integrate diversity into five critical business areas: workforce, marketing, communications, supply chain and strategic community partnerships.”

11. BEST BUY*
15 percent
According to Forrester Research’s Hispanic Consumer Technographics report, Minneapolis-based Best Buy has almost 2.8 million Spanish-preferring Hispanic customers. And in August, Best Buy’s executive vice president of emerging business and strategy, Kal Patel, was the opening keynote speaker for the Hispanic Retail 360 Summit, held in Dallas. “The fabric of America is changing. And that means the fabric of our company must change,” Patel told attendees. He pointed out Best Buy is focused on bringing in more Spanish-speaking employees to cater to the Hispanic demographic.

12. FAMILY DOLLAR
14 percent
Matthews, N.C.-based Family Dollar has worked hard to place its locations in areas that cater to Hispanic consumers. For example, the company, which opened a location in Pecos, N.M., in June, said it chose Pecos for a new store based on demographics, proximity to competition and ethnicity. The company operates more than 6,400 stores in the U.S. — a typical store format ranges from 7,500 to 9,500 square feet. The store size permits the retailer to open in rural areas and small towns, as well as in large urban neighborhoods.

Source: Scarborough Research; Shoppers were surveyed within a 12-month period, Respondents answered that they have shopped at “x” store within the past 30 days; *Indicates a tie

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