Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2013 03:58 PM
Maybe November wasn't such a turkey after all—for JCPenney, at least. The still-beleaguered retailer reported a 10 percent increase in comparable-store sales for the month, thanks to a strong Black Friday and, presumably, the conclusion by American consumers that the brand isn't dead just yet.
While most retailers have bemoaned the overall results of Thanksgiving weekend and aren't sure their promotional aggressiveness will serve them much better this month, JCPenney reported that its online sales were strong. Notably, it was the second consecutive month for which the retailer reported comparable-store sales, according to TheStreet.com, after dropping monthly reports two years ago.
And JCPenney CEO Myron Ullman took a minute to crow, sort of. "We are pleased with our performance over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, particularly in light of the continued spending pressures on consumers," he said in a press release. "The combination of our great merchandise and compelling promotions put us in a position to succeed in a highly competitive environment, and our teams executed very well."Continue reading...
video killed the _____ star
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 4, 2013 02:56 PM
Netflix, the streaming leader in the US, has made a big business out of binge-viewing. But the service's next series release will go a little differently.
Dreamworks Animation is producing Netflix’s first animated kid series, Turbo FAST, which it is set to launch Dec. 24, but the first episode will only come with four others simultaneously available to consumers. The other 21 shows scheduled for the first season will be released in bits and pieces along the way, much like a regular TV show.
“Production on animation is [on a] different timetable so we chose to make the episodes that are ready now, available for viewers as they were ready,” Netflix chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland, told Variety.
But have no fear, binge-watchers: just because Netflix is slowing its roll with Turbo FAST doesn't mean others will follow suit. The next season of Lillyhammer, for instance, will debut on Dec. 13 with all eight episodes ready to watch.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2013 01:49 PM
In hindsight, it's obvious that Mercedes-Benz left little to chance in its determination to wrest the US luxury-auto-sales crown from BMW this year. And now—benefiting from just-in-time launch of a hot new vehicle, from new dealership sales tactics, and even a little feint from the CEO—the brand is less than a month from confirming its victory.
Mercedes-Benz extended its US sales lead over BMW for the year to more than 7,600 vehicles after both luxury marques reported November sales this week, a huge tack-on from a lead of less than 5,000 vehicles at the end of October. More than likely the lead will be even bigger by the end of this month, a busy one in the premium segment anyway with by-now-traditional year-end promotional pushes.
No doubt the biggest factor in Mercedes' ability to take the crown from BMW after the latter's two-year reign will prove to be great reception by American consumers and fantastic timing for the September launch of CLA-Class, an entry-level luxury sedan with starting prices under $30,000 that appeared in a segment where demand is growing but there hasn't been much available.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 4, 2013 12:36 PM
After 80 years of printing, Newsweek announced last October that it would be going all-digital—a move that proved detrimental to the venerable brand. So now, nearly a year since it merged with Tina Brown's Daily Beast, Newsweek will be returning to print, albeit in a bit of a different form.
According to the New York Times, the company will begin printing a 64-page weekly print product in January or February. The 'new' Newsweek won't be as dependent on ad dollars, though.
“It’s going to be a more subscription-based model, closer to what The Economist is compared to what Time magazine is,” Newsweek Editor in Chief Jim Impoco told the Times. “We see it as a premium product, a boutique product.” In other words, suscription fees will make up for the product's lack of ad pages.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2013 11:07 AM
The gourmet burger is king in fast-casual restaurants these days, but gourmet pizza may be threatening the throne.
Olive Garden is the latest chain to bow to the rise of gourmet burgers. In a move that doesn't at first glance seem to fit with its Italian menu, the Darden-owned brand has introduced its Italiano Burger nationwide as part of a broader menu overhaul. The burger is topped with crisp prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, arugula, tomatoes marinated in fresh basil, and garlic and Italian spices, according to NRN.com. And it's served with a garlic aioli spread and comes with parmesan-garlic fries.
But it's still a burger. And that's the point: To combat slower sales, Olive Garden is trying lots of new stuff. "The objective is to regain same-restaurant traffic momentum," CEO Clarence Otis said in September when discussing earnings, according to NRN.com.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2013 09:18 AM
Snapchat hires away Emily White, Instagram's ad exec, to be company COO.
Mercedes-Benz CLA comes through and cements US sales lead over BMW.
Newsweek plans return to print.
Applebee's rolls out tablets nationwide.
Benetton rises above Levi's to become India's top international fashion brand.
BJ's Wholesale Club owners express interest in buying Hess gas stations.
Boeing tantalizes states with 777x production.
China issues 4G mobile licenses to country's three main telecom companies.
Drake announces partnership with Nike's Jordan brand.
Greenpeace makes Christmas a downer with Santa reporting from melting Arctic.
JCPenney finally reports comp-sales increase.Continue reading...
long arm of the law
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 3, 2013 08:03 PM
When the sure-to-be-contentious races get fully underway for 33 Senate seats, 38 state and territorial governorships, and all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives later this year, political advertising will probably feel inescapable. Signs, T-shirts, and door knockers will be out in full force. Robocalls are sure to come early and often. Whatever creative way politicians can find to get their names into the brains of those who will head to the polls on Nov. 4 will be used.
However, there will be at least one safe zone on the media landscape that folks can hide from the onslaught: public television and radio. The US Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that public radio and TV stations cannot run ads from political candidates and corporations.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 3, 2013 07:22 PM
Tina Brown, once the editor of venerable print brands like Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Talk, and Newsweek, doesn’t even read magazines anymore. “The habit has gone,” she told reporters in India last month.
The “habit” is apparently gone for a lot of other folks, too. Everywhere you turn, consumers are looking deeply into their screens rather than into the pages of a magazine or newspaper. Advertisers have noticed and are moving more of their dollars into the digital world. New York magazine’s ad pages are down 9.2 percent so far this year, according to Ad Age.
That’s part of the reason the title announced Monday that it would be printing half as many issues next year—ramping down from 42 issues to 29—printing every two weeks while its website, nymag.com, will start publishing more content. The move will save the company $3.5 million in manufacturing costs—savings that will be recycled back into the magazine and website to product better content.
The announcement came fittingly on Cyber Monday.Continue reading...