Street Fight Daily: Shoppers Flee Stores, Gannett Splits Digital Business

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology

Woman handing over shopping bag at cash registerShoppers Are Fleeing Physical Stores (Wall Street Journal)
U.S. retailers are facing a steep and persistent drop in store traffic, which is weighing on sales and prompting chains to slow store openings as shoppers make more of their purchases online. Aside from a small uptick in April, shopper visits have fallen by 5% or more from a year earlier in every month for the past two years. (Subscription required)

As Losses Widen, Groupon Struggles to Redefine Itself (Street Fight)
Groupon said Tuesday that losses widened in the second quarter, as marketing and sales cost jumped but gross profit remained flat. The culprit, a far less profitable ecommerce business than anticipated, accounted for every dollar of the company’s top line growth as it struggles to find new footing for its sluggish local deals business.

Gannett To Split Print and Broadcast/Digital Divisions (New York Times)
The splintering of print and television companies in the media industry continued unabated on Tuesday when the Gannett Company announced that it would spin off its newspaper division, which includes USA Today, into a separate company next year. Some analysts also expressed disappointment that Gannett paired its lucrative digital sites with its new broadcasting company, rather than its publishing division.

5 Pet Sitting Marketplaces in the ‘Sharing Economy’ (Street Fight)
Americans spent more than $55 billion on their pets in 2013, and a number of hyperlocal startups are looking to capture that puppy fever by creating local marketplaces where pet owners are matched up with people who are willing to take care of their pups while they’re out of town. Here are five hyperlocal pet sitting marketplaces getting in on the action.

Facebook’s New Video Ads Aren’t Ready for Small Businesses — Yet (Recode)
Facebook spent the summer teaching small businesses how to advertise on its platform, but the company’s highly anticipated video ads weren’t part of the lesson plan. Video ads — especially the autoplay video ads, which first debuted this spring — aren’t yet ready for the general Facebook advertiser, says Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of small businesses.

Should Publishers Really Think ‘Mobile-First’? (Digiday)
According to publisher analytics service Chartbeat, mobile consumption is, on the whole, complementing desktop. Mobile, in contrast, tends to decline in the early morning and peak in the evening. Put in more concrete terms, people are reading on their desktops while at work and shifting to tablets and smartphones while at home.

StubHub Music Takes On Music Concert Discovery Apps WillCall And Live Nation (TechCrunch)
StubHub has created a new app in hopes of engaging a wider audience on the hunt for local concerts. It’s recently been expanding its music offerings and looking at ways to engage fans in a way that could take them from initial discovery to actually purchasing tickets.

With Staffers Leaving and the Local Daily Shrinking, the New Haven Independent Prepares to Reboot (Nieman Journalism Lab)
It’s been one of the notable successes in nonprofit online community journalism. Now the Independent is dealing with an issue common to small outlets: staff turnover.

We Pushed for Pizza, and We Have No Regrets (Slate)
A new app updates food delivery for the Yo era: After entering onetime information about your location and payment method, it calls up the nearest participating pizza place and offers you either a cheese or pepperoni pie in just three taps, from start to finish.

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