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U.S. chain-store sales increase in September

Supermarkets and drug stores continue to depend heavily on in-store foot traffic, which means cash counters and check scanners are necessities.

According to data compiled recently by Fusion Marketing, a research organization, a large majority of U.S. consumers are reluctant to utilize online grocery shopping options that some stores have introduced in recent years. Advancements in e-commerce technology have made it possible for some supermarkets to sell products online that customers can later pick up in local stores. However, these trends have failed to catch on as originally expected. In fact, the Fusion Marketing report found 96 percent of shoppers surveyed said they continue to prefer the in-store experience because it allows them greater control in avoiding food safety risks.

Rather than utilizing smartphone and tablet apps to find coupons and other discounts, a large majority of respondents said they prefer to receive promotions by simply swiping loyalty cards at the checkout process. Eighty-five percent said they enjoy receiving promotions that are unique to the in-store experience.

Charting industry-wide sales growth
These trends are also occurring at similar businesses, such as drug store chains, that rely heavily on in-store purchases as opposed to e-commerce channels. Increased foot traffic has even lead to significant sales growth at retail establishments in the past year. According to the latest report from the International Council of Shopping Centers, U.S. chain store sales grew 4 percent during September. Researchers from the organization expect growth to continue through October, as well.

"The biggest story line here is that the September performance was led by the drug-store segment, posting its strongest monthly showing since April 2007," Michael Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist for ICSC, stated in a press release. "This seemingly heralds the full recovery of this segment after an extended period of weakness due to several mitigating factors."

Substantial growth in retail foot traffic at supermarkets, drug stores and other large-chain establishments means managers may want to consider investing in check scanners to make backroom processes more efficient. These tools offer businesses the ability to conveniently prepare deposits without having to take back-and-forth trips to the bank. They can also perform multiple deposits quickly so store owners waste little time processing checks at the end of the day.

10/22/2013