US Retailers Cut TV Adspend

21 October 2008

NEW YORK: Some of the largest retailers in the US have made substantial cuts to their TV ad bugets in the last few months, with Wal-Mart one of the few big players to buck the trend, according to figures from TNS Media Intelligence.

Sears posted one of the biggest declines in the July–September period, slashing its number of TV spots by 34% year-on-year. 

Apparel retailer Target reduced its TV advertising levels by 17%, with Kohl's down 15% and Macy's by 7% over the same period. 

Gap has also announced it is unlikely to advertise on TV for the rest of the fiscal year – focusing instead on online and print – having posted a 14.6% drop in TV adspend from $45.2m (€33.6m; £25.9m) to $38.6m in the second quarter. 

Says Louise Callagy, speaking on behalf of the company: "We have not ruled it out completely, but have no plans for TV this holiday season. Given this economic environment, customers have a lot on their minds and might not always be responsive.”

Wal-Mart was one of the few retailers to take the opposite approach – doubling its number of TV ads compared with the same period in 2007 – with JC Penney also increasing ad output by 9%.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff