There’s myriad surveys out there to know about shoppers emotions. Some say consumers are buying again; others say they are not. A few back-to-school research reports predict the season will be tough, while others said people put last year’s needs on hold and have to buy this year.


WSL Strategic Retail has monitored shoppers’ whims thanks to its ongoing research, called How America Shops The Pulse of Shopping Life. The latest research from this team suggests the recession is ending. What makes WSL predict that is new results showing that shoppers believe prices are up across all of the checked categories.


The Pulse survey reports less than 12 percent of shoppers think prices are down, across a mix of 19 tracked categories. Forty percent to 50 percent think prices are up on health and beauty categories like cosmetics, skin care and over-the-counter medication.


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If shoppers are seeing sales now, 59 percent said they’ll stock up on the lower-priced item. Twenty-three percent said they’ll buy more during the same shopping trip. And, only 25 percent said they’ll use the savings to pay bills. Twenty-one percent of shoppers said they’ll save the money on something else.


A year ago, according to the research, shoppers resisted stocking up even on sale items and attempted to pay off bills or save more. What can be gleaned from these findings is that now more than ever is a good time to let shoppers know when prices are down.

Here’s a sampling of how some retailers are touting their low prices:

• CVS has Maybelline buy one, get one 50 percent off, and an offer of $10 ExtraBucks when buying RapidLash

• Walgreens is touting 25 percent off L’Oréal skin care on the cover of its circular and a $5 off instant coupon on University Medical skin care. There’s also a coupon for 99 cent Sinful nail color

• Target is offering a free $5 Target gift card with the purchase of any two Burt’s Bees products, a relatively new promotion chains are using to build loyalty

• Kmart is reaching out to shoppers with Physicians Formula products at a 40 percent off.

All of these promotions have attractive pricing to encourage shoppers to buy multiple items and spend other dollars on the same trip, as well. With the back-to-school season in full swing, it is encouraging research to see shoppers in the mood to buy.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail. Corlett answers whether shoppers are coming back.

WWDBeautyNews: Are we seeing consumers return to stores?
Corlett: I don’t think they ever really left. They just changed how they shopped. They maybe gave up some items or changed where they shopped. The shoppers are still there.

WWDBeautyNews: Can you discuss the importance of licenses leading us out of the recession — are shoppers more or less willing to buy a celebrity name?

Corlett: The younger consumers today grew up with celebrity names — they don’t know anything else. In fragrances, these names will continue to be purchased because these shoppers don’t remember a time when names weren’t around. So, yes, licenses will continue to be important to beauty.

What’s In Store

Dr. Miracle’s Expands to Face: Dr. Miracle’s had success with My Goodbye Acne System and is now adding My Miracle Face Care.

Target’s Manhattan Store: Shoppers are already flooding the Harlem Target searching for Boots and Sonia Kashuk exclusives. The beauty department has been mentioned by shoppers as one of the biggest draws for the store, the first in Manhattan.

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