Valentine’s spending looks to enjoy a similar boost seen with the 2017 holiday season, the most since the Great Recession of 2009. Strong indicators include a roaring stock market, low unemployment, and high consumer confidence.

Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies, says, “Shoppers opened their wallets more than analysts expected this past Christmas, with many retailers exceeding sales projections. Both retailers and consumers are beginning 2018 with more optimism. For Valentine’s Day romantics looking to spend on their sweethearts, retailers will offer promotions for top-gifting items, like candy, flowers, and jewelry that fit any budget.”

Create something memorable
Experiences remain popular, even when the sweetheart in your life is a furry friend. PetSmart is hosting pup playtime 9-5 on Valentine’s Day in select markets. Doggie desserts include a free ice cream treat, plus a free digital keepsake for pet parents.

If day trips are more appealing than diamonds, shoppers seeking experiences can book special romance packages like some of the options from Groupon, Travelzoo, or Renaissance Hotels.

Personalized gifts such as one-of-a-kind socks emblazoned with couple’s names or even faces, like sockprints.com add a little humor to gifting.

For a special night out, online sources like OpenTable are helpful for finding local restaurants with special menu items and promotions for February 14th.

Online and mobile shopping continue trending up
More consumers will shop with their thumbs, browsing, and buying more than ever from their mobile devices. Trendsetter Magnolia Market is featuring special selections for Valentine’s Day.

Online purchasing offers added convenience this season. Texas grocer H-E-B offers in-store pickup or delivery with floral orders.

Tech gifts are in
Besides traditional Valentine’s Day surprises, tech, and mobile accessories have become a popular item for both men and women. Online retailing giant Amazon is featuring deals on hundreds of tech selections, from headphones and smart watches to romantic-themed movies.

Don’t forget the favorites!
Classic Valentine gifts including cards, candy, dining out, and flowers will still top many lovers’ shopping lists.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

The American Marketing Association (AMA) and the American Marketing Association Foundation (AMAF) announce Leonard L. Berry as the winner of the 2018 William L. Wilkie “Marketing for a Better World” Award.

Berry is University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership, Regents Professor, Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence at Mays Business School. He will receive the award during the 2018 AMA Winter Academic Conference in New Orleans in February.

Berry is a leading scholar in services marketing and retailing studies and, more recently, a leader in the study of healthcare service. He has been published in leading journals and has written 10 books, including Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic, Discovering the Soul of Service, and On Great Service. Berry established the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University in 1982, serving as director until 2000.

He has received numerous honors including the AMA-Irwin-McGraw-Hill Distinguished Marketing Educator Award, Paul D. Converse Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Research & Scholarship from the Mays Business School. In 2015, he was named an AMA Fellow. Professor Berry received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University, and in 2014 was inducted into ASU’s Carey School of Business Hall of Fame.

…Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

As a former research assistant and now a research associate with the Real Estate Center (part of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University), Wesley Miller has spent almost a year tackling topics from border economics to the effects of globalization on Texas manufacturing.

But it wasn’t too long ago that he was tackling wide receivers as a safety for the Buffalo Bills and playing professional football internationally.

Miller, who joined the Real Estate Center full time in fall 2017 and is working toward a Ph.D. in economics, began his ride to the NFL while playing football at the University of Texas at El Paso. The California native was working on a master of science in economics at the time.

[ PHOTO by JP Beato III – REAL ESTATE CENTER ]“UTEP had some good academic programs, and they gave me my best opportunity football-wise,” Miller said. “My first goal at the time was football.”

After UTEP’s Pro Day, when scouts watch players work out and evaluate them as draft prospects, Miller wasn’t signed to a team. However, he was invited to the Bills’ rookie mini-camp. That’s where his professional sports career began.

“They usually have about 20 new players that they’ve signed, and they need more players just to run a practice,” he said. “So they invite other potential rookies or seniors coming out of college to run a practice or mini-camp for a weekend. Most of the time you’re not offered a position, because the roster limit is 90, and usually those are filled before rookie camp. That’s what happened with the Bills, but when I got there, I impressed them. They cut some guy and signed me.”

Miller completed his masters while playing for the Bills. He was with them through the third preseason game, about four months. The following year, he moved to Germany to play football for the Saarland Hurricanes.

“Football’s big in Europe,” Miller said, “and the most hardcore fans I’ve ever met are German.”

After his stint with the Hurricanes, Miller returned to the States and settled in College Station, where his fiancée, Jessica Smith, is currently a veterinary student at Texas A&M. He was hired as a research assistant and later as a research associate at the Real Estate Center. His position there coincided with his decision to pursue a Ph.D. in economics. He’s on track to finish his degree in 2022.

Although much of Miller’s research with the Center has focused on international economics, he says he’s particularly interested in housing markets.

“I’d like to research the positive and negative impacts homeowners’ associations have on housing markets,” he said. “There’s not much data out there, but with the resources available at the Center, I think there’s some meaningful research to be done. I’m also interested in public sector economics and politics. Every day, important decisions are made that have economic consequences that need to be evaluated.”

Miller says the special thing about economics is the flexibility it provides a researcher. “You can create an economic tie to almost anything.”

Miller’s latest article, which he co-authored with Real Estate Center Research Economist Luis Torres, is called “Globalization’s Effects on Texas Housing.” It’s available online.

– By Bryan Pope, associate editor, Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University

Categories: Centers, Featured Stories, News, Real Estate Center, Spotlights, Staff

An important aspect of the Mays Business School Strategic Plan is connecting Texas A&M students to former students, industry partners, and employers. The M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar program is shining example of this vision.

Named for the innovative merchant M.B. Zale, the founder of Zale Jewelry Company, the program emphasizes professional development for top retailing students at Mays. The Zales Scholars program is open to all business majors, with a highly competitive application process.

Through hands-on learning experiences that span two semesters, Zale Scholars build industry knowledge through interaction with retailing executives from across the state and country. Some of these experiences include a trip to New York City over Spring Break to tour retail flagship stores and buying offices. Monthly Friday seminars teach negotiation, effective communication, and professional presence.

“I encourage all business students to apply to the M.B. Zale Scholar program. This program will give you the necessary tools that will launch you to success, and finding your dream job,” said Supply Chain Management student Allison McGraw ’19, who just completed her final semester in the program.

Students attend the annual Retailing Summit, an executive education conference in Dallas, hearing case studies from top 100 retailers to startups.

“As a Zale Scholar, I view all of the program’s experiences as professional development opportunities to gain a better understanding, and evolve my personal career mission. From executive coaching, lunches, and coffee chats, I have networked with numerous professionals and gained multiple perspectives on how to deliver value beyond the ‘perfect product’ and discover new methods to interact with customers in a relevant way,” explained Marketing student Aricka Anderson ’18.

Zale Scholars also participate in on-site visits where they can observe the workplace environment. In October, the group visited the headquarters of Francesca’s in Houston.

“I researched Francesca’s as a high schooler, and it was studying this company that I decided I wanted to study retailing. Being a member of the Zale Scholar Program has given me numerous opportunities for face-to-face interaction with Francesca’s recruiters and internship coordinators,” added Business Honors student Caren Valenciano ’20.

The M.B. Zale Scholar program provides impactful learning experiences for students, and helps develop transformational leaders for tomorrow.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Shifting consumer attitudes are favoring online shopping more and more compared to brick-and-mortar stores, according to the 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study released by Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

Even with traditional stores adding more convenience services such as curbside delivery and in-store pickup, the shift toward online shopping has remained steady.

Four out of five consumers (81 percent) agreed with the statement that they “love the convenience of online shopping,” while 78 percent agree that “online shopping saves time and money.” Relative to physical stores, 62 percent agree that “online stores offer better value.”

The study is based on a nationally representative online survey of 5,881 adults conducted during October-November 2017. The margin of error is +/- 1 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

“Our study identifies the two big drivers of retail—convenience and value—that are fuelling online growth. Yet, physical stores will not vanish,” said Shrihari Sridhar, Center for Executive Development Professor of Marketing at Mays Business School. “Results show that 69 percent really enjoy going to a store and window shopping. There is also some backlash against online shopping, with 38 percent agreeing that e-commerce has taken out all the pleasure from shopping. Traditional retailers are at a critical strategic juncture. They need to balance the value and convenience of online shopping with the pleasure of in-store browsing.”

To challenge Amazon’s dominance in online sales, traditional retailers are responding to these elevated consumer expectations for convenience.

Retail giant Walmart announced that it will offer same-day store pick up for a greater variety of hot products ranging from the iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum and Xbox One S gaming system, to a 70-inch Vizio 4K television. Not only does Walmart provide the option for customers to receive a text alert once an order is ready, they will also have the ability to collect items in-store as late as 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Target, with 1,834 stores, recently acquired grocery delivery startup, Shipt. The acquisition builds an important same-day delivery network for Target.

“Brick-and-mortar retailers can leverage their physical store locations to get products to customers as quickly as possible,” added Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School.

The 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study is conducted by the Collaborative for Customer Based Execution and Strategy, sponsored by the Center for Retailing Studies, and underwritten by the R.C. Barclay Endowed Library Fund. The goal of the study is to provide an evidence-based approach to incorporate the customer’s perspective in strategic planning and execution for retailers. The research team for the Retail Study includes Vikas Mittal and Kyuhong Han at Rice University, along with Biwong Im at Texas A&M University.

For more information, contact:
Kelli Hollinger, Director, Center for Retailing Studies
khollinger@tamu.edu; 979-845-5898

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

As 2017 comes to a close, Mays Business School celebrates another successful year. Here are 12 of our favorite moments:

1. Strategic plan launch
Mays Business School officially launched its new strategic plan, after hundreds of Mays faculty, staff, students and former students worked together to develop it. The strategic planning process itself was innovative and unique among business schools, using Appreciative Inquiry – a positive approach to change – to affirm Mays’ past and present strengths, to discover what makes Mays truly distinct, and to envision ways to amplify that distinctiveness.

2. Business school with a heart
When Mays junior Ashton Robison shared her touching photo of Mays Clinical Assistant Professor Henry Musoma holding her baby during a lecture, it immediately went viral. From the headline “Mommy Was Able to Graduate” in People to a guest appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” news quickly traveled around the world about the culture of caring and connectedness at Mays Business School. It all started with the simple act of Musoma inviting Ashton to bring Emmett to his “Ethical Decision Making and Conduct” class when she didn’t have a babysitter. To recognize Musoma for his selfless service, Dean Eli Jones presented him with the first Mays Business School Spirit Award on Sept. 14. Watch “The Ellen Show” clip at tx.ag/ellenshow.

3. Largest single gift
The Texas A&M Foundation receives a commitment of $25 million from the Mays Family Foundation, the largest single commitment in the school’s history. The gift is part of an overall lifetime giving of $47 million, including a $15 million commitment in 1996 to rename the school to Mays Business School.

4. 50th to 1st anniversaries 

Many anniversaries of Mays programs were celebrated this past year, including the 50th of the MBA, the 5th of the Professional MBA, and the 1st of the MS Business program.

5. Inaugural Impact Award

Mays Business School gave the inaugural Peggy and Lowry Mays Impact Award to the award namesakes during the 25th-Year Anniversary Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner. The award was created to recognize outstanding contributions to the vision and mission of the school. Recipients must exhibit a long and distinguished record of impacting Mays Business School in significant ways, which include exemplary giving and strong leadership.

6. $150,000-plus to nonprofits
The Strategic Philanthropy class at Mays awarded $100,000 to nonprofits – double what was given the first year – in the spring of 2017, and another $62,500 in the fall. The funds are distributed by students in the class.

7. The Most CEOs
Texas A&M University is tied with the University of Michigan for having the most graduates currently serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, according to a Fortune magazine study. Three Fortune 500 CEOs are Mays graduates: Bruce D. Broussard ’84, CEO of Humana; David M. Cordani ’88, CEO of Cigna; and Jeff Miller ’88, CEO of Halliburton.
…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Centers, Departments, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, Programs, Rankings, Spotlights, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Holiday shopping is increasingly migrating online, according to the 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study. This is the first consumer holiday report conducted by Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

In 2016, about half of the participants (52 percent) did more than 40 percent of their holiday shopping online. This year, 62 percent plan to do more than 40 percent of their holiday shopping online. The vast majority of all consumers intended on shopping both store aisles and via digitally engaged devices, with fewer than 10 percent of respondents planning to only patronize physical stores.

This shift in consumer buying behavior is most affecting fashion products such as clothes and shoes, which top many wish list items at Christmas. About one in three respondents (34 percent) shop for these goods online.

The study is based on a nationally representative online survey of 5,881 adults conducted during October through November 2017. The margin of error is +/- 1 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

“Shoppers are the most clear about their shopping preferences during the holidays because of the planning it requires. These changes are here to stay,” said Shrihari Sridhar, Center for Executive Development Professor of Marketing at Mays Business School. Particularly retailers dealing in trend-influenced goods – like apparel, shoes, and jewelry – need to develop stronger digital options, because customers find online shopping to be a time saver and value generator.”

The 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study was conducted by the Collaborative for Customer Based Execution and Strategy. Mays’ Center for Retailing Studies and the R.C. Barclay Endowed Library Fund sponsored the research, which analyzed shopping preferences across several consumer categories including fashion merchandise, grocery, health/beauty, office supplies, and pharmaceuticals. The goal of the study is to provide an evidence-based approach to incorporate the customer’s perspective in strategic planning and execution for retailers. “The report confirms that consumers are rapidly transitioning their holiday shopping from brick-and-mortar stores to online purchasing. The findings should guide retailers to invest in omnichannel capabilities, such as in-store apps, social media platforms, and efficient product search,” added Sridhar.

This is the first of five planned trend reports based on the survey. On April 11, 2018, the Center for Retailing Studies will host a half-day seminar in Houston for business executives to explore the findings in-depth.

The research team for the Benchmark Retail Study includes Vikas Mittal and Kyuhong Han at Rice University along with Biwong Im, a doctoral student at Texas A&M.

For more information, contact:
Kelli Hollinger, Director, Center for Retailing Studies
khollinger@tamu.edu; 979-845-5898

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

The world of 3D printing is no longer an unattainable dream; 3D printers have been set up in Startup Aggieland, a facility operated by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School. These 3D printers can be used by any students who want to print out their innovative new ideas, but as a 3D model and not just as a 2D image.

Charles Hinton, I-Corps Director and Startup Aggieland veteran, is facilitating the startup process for these new 3D printers. As a Texas A&M graduate, Hinton understands the importance of students expressing their ideas in creative ways. According to Hinton, these printers will serve as the beginning of the development of a makerspace in Startup Aggieland, where students and faculty can come to design, experiment, and learn.

These 3D printers will give students the opportunity to build a touchable “first look” at the ideas and gadgets they have created in their head or on paper. This is an incredible feat for students who are looking to become entrepreneurs or students who just want to know if their idea could have any commercial value.

Users of the printer must first generate a model of the product they want to manufacture, which they can do on a 3D modeling software called Solid Works that can be acquired for free from the university. The students then bring their design to Startup Aggieland, where a different software will slice and convert the design to a printable format. The 3D printer can then get to work by adding layer upon layer of raw material fed into the printer to create a final product. …Read more

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, I-Corps, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Startup Aggieland, Students, Texas A&M

The new Mays Innovation Research Center has an inaugural director: Mays Business School professor Korok Ray, who conceptualized the center as a place to discover how and when innovation occurs, then transfer that knowledge to Texas A&M University students.

Ray, an associate professor of accounting, will lead the center to provide research support to existing and new faculty members across the Texas A&M campus. It will bridge the research at Mays with that occurring in engineering, business, liberal arts, and other academic disciplines. The center will also fund Ph.D. fellowships and undergraduate research opportunities, and award prizes for outstanding research that advances the center’s mission.

Ray’s research interests are performance measurement, compensation, corporate governance, and cost allocation. He has taught accounting at Texas A&M University, the University of Chicago and Georgetown University, and earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He also served as the senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House from 2007 to 2009.

Ray said he has experienced strong support for the concept. “Dean (Eli) Jones, The Texas A&M Foundation, and our donors have been outstanding in their support of this vision from the beginning,” he said. “I’m thrilled and honored to lead this center into new and uncharted territory, as the conversation on innovation unfolds both on our campus and nationally.  The center will engage students in research, support faculty, and pursue opportunities unique to Texas A&M, with its special combination of first-tier research and first-class values.”

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Innovation Research Center, News, Research, Texas A&M

Store brands, often called “own brands,” have certainly come into their own. Some retailers, like Trader Joe’s, almost exclusively sell private label products. Overall, this category of manufactured goods represents about 20 percent of all products sold at grocery, drug chain, and mass merchant stores. Yielding a higher margin compared to national brands, like Tide or Doritos, the industry is poised only to grow and offer lesser-known, but highly successful, career paths.

In November, seven Texas A&M University students became the first Aggies to attend the Private Label Trade Show and University Outreach program in Chicago. The event attracts 2,800 booths exhibitors from 70 countries with over 5,000 buyers and visitors’ eager to discover innovative new products catering to modern consumer taste pallets, from organic spices, gourmet baked cheeses, to mango Sriracha beef jerky. Some of the attendees included companies partnered with the Center for Retailing Studies in Mays Business School.

Supply chain major and M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar Allison McGraw ’18 said, “I loved this experience! The opportunity to shadow a supplier on day one and then a retailer on day two allowed me to build a more complete understanding of the grocery business.” McGraw will intern next summer with PepsiCo/Frito Lay.

…Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M