Wal-Mart won top honors at the RACie Awards gala for a 2006 holiday television advertisement.
The RACie Awards, distributed by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association are given each year to honor the best campaigns in the retail industry.
For the first time, audience members at the gala were allowed to choose the “Best of the Best” in retail advertising through live voting. By a narrow margin, audience members chose Wal-Mart’s Holiday 2006 “The 12 Minutes of Christmas” advertisement to receive the year’s top honor over advertisements from OfficeMax and Build-A-Bear.
The television spot, produced by Bernstein-Rein Advertising, featured an unprepared guest at a Secret Santa party who begins a sing-along to “The 12 Days of Christmas” in order to rush out and purchase several gifts from a nearby Wal-Mart. Of course, he makes it back to the party with several CDs in a gift bag just as the final verse is ending.
Target, OfficeMax, Best Buy and Half Price Books were a few of the others to receive Gold Awards for excellence in advertising and marketing in various categories.
Additionally, J.C. Penney received the Peter Glen Award for its “J.C. Penney Jam: Concert for America’s Kids” event. The concert and a CD/DVD twinpack have raised more than $2 million for the company’s Afterschool Fund, which provides safe and enriching after school programs for America’s youth.
Alice Ballesteros has opened the doors to a dream that she’s had for several years. Her restaurant, Alice’s Mexican Cuisine, opened this week at 109 E. Pikes Peak Ave.
Ballesteros said her son and executive chef John Ballesteros has been in the restaurant business since he was 18 years old. She was a paralegal for 29 years and moved here six years ago from El Paso, Texas.
With more of a Mexican style than Santa Fe, she said the restaurant’s specialty is chicken tortilla soup.
Despite a winter slowdown, traffic at the nation’s major retail container ports is still expected to show growth compared to 2006.
Normally, traffic is expected to be at its slowest point of the year during February, according to the monthly Port Tracker report released Feb. 7 by the National Retail Federation and Global Insight.
“It’s the quiet time of year for retailers and shippers but the data from Port Tracker gives us the tools we need to plan for the busy season that’s going to be on top of us before we know it,” NRF Vice President and International Trade Counsel Erik Autor said. “We’re hoping for another smooth year, but keeping tabs on port traffic is one of the keys to keeping a smooth year from turning into a problem year.”
All U.S. ports covered by Port Tracker — Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma and Seattle on the West Coast, and New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast — are currently rated “low” for congestion, the same as last month.
Nationwide, the ports surveyed handled 1.26 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units of container traffic in December, the most recent month for which actual numbers are available. The figure was down 6.7 percent from November but up 5 percent from December 2005.
Volume is expected to follow its usual pattern of declining during the winter months, although numbers will continue to show growth from a year ago. January is forecast at 1.24 million TEU (up 2.3 percent from January 2006), and February (historically the slowest month of the year) at 1.17 million TEU (up 9.8 percent from February 2006).
Volume will begin to move upward again in March, forecast at 1.28 million TEU (up 3.1 percent from March 2006). April is forecast at 1.37 million TEU (up 3.4 percent from April 2006), May at 1.39 million TEU (up 6.1 percent from May 2006), and June at 1.43 million TEU (up 5.7 percent from June 2006).
One TEU is a 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.
Retailers had something to cheer about with the arrival of cold winter weather and consumers armed with gift cards.
U.S. chain store sales increased by 3.7 percent during January, on a year-over-year basis, according to International Council of Shopping Center’s index.
Overall, chain store sales rose in most sectors. Luxury stores led the way as sales grew by 11.2 percent. Drug stores and department chain stores also posted strong results as sales increased by 8.8 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.
Other sectors that posted increases were apparel chain stores (3.3 percent), discount stores and wholesale clubs which both posted gains of 2.6 percent.
“As expected, consumers redeemed their gift cards in earnest in January giving retailers an added boost for the 2006 fiscal year,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “In addition to gift cards, the late arrival of winter gave consumers the push they needed to finally purchase seasonal merchandise. ”
Joan Johnson covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.