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Promotional pace held steady in May

Some companies were more aggressive with promotions last months and others were less so, but Target held steady producing the same number of circular ad pages (109) in May 2011, and it did the same month the prior year, according to data collected by the Chicago based firm Market Track.

Conversely, in keeping with Walmart’s renewed emphasis on every day low prices, its average number of promotional pieces per market decreased to two in May compared with 2.8 the prior year, however the average number of pages increased to 40 compared with 30, according to the Chicago-based firm Market Track.

On average, across a retailer set that includes many of the nation’s top companies, both the number of inserts and number of page counts decreased when comparing May 2011 to May 2010. Notable standouts for the insert counts include a decline of 39% for Home Depot and an 11% decrease for Lowe’s. While both Home Depot and Lowe’s dropped fewer inserts this year compared with last year, Home Depot’s decline was more pronounced from nearly seven inserts in 2010 to four in 2011. Interestingly, while home/hardware retailers experienced decreases in number of drops, the number of pages did not parallel the same level of decline. Home Depot’s pages only dropped by 7% and Lowe’s actually increased their average page count by 9% in 2011 compared with 2010. Sears charted the greatest percentage increase in inserts with 37% increase this May over May 2010. 

When looking at number of pages, Macy’s, Safeway and Walmart showed the strongest increase in number of pages on a year over year comparison, while Best Buy and CVS decreased their pages by 24% and 18% respectively.

It’s important to note a number of factors that should be considered when examining the number of inserts and pages retailers send into the marketplace. Market Track’s granular level of data reflects regional versioning and market specific differences. This is accomplished through an extensive collections process, including physically obtaining the ads from the various markets in which they are distributed. In the instance that retailers send additional circulars to a limited number of markets, Market Track’s information reflects these nuances through numbers with decimals (for average number of inserts per market) and odd numbers (for average number of pages).

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