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L.L.Bean Boots Up Its Brand With Retail Expansion Driven by Bad Weather

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2015 03:08 PM

L.L. Bean Boots

In the early days of online retail, L.L.Bean was ideally positioned to navigate the new revenue stream: a strong brand with a limited brick-and-mortar presence and customers in the habit of ordering from its iconic catalog.

After years of online success, with e-commerce sales growing seven percent last year, the Maine-headquartered retail/lifestyle brand is expanding in a more traditional manner. It's boosting its full-retail store footprint over the next five years to at least 100 locations in 2020, from its current network of 26 stores in the US, according to the Associated Press. And that's not counting outlet stores.

Credit lousy winter weather in North America this year for driving sales of one item in particular: L.L.Bean Boots, the rubberized, winterized footwear that has found favor beyond preppy New Englanders with fashionistas, commuters and others battling the elements.Continue reading...


Best Buy Exits China in Move to Focus on North American Business

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 4, 2014 02:05 PM

Running a major business in China from the U.S. has become increasingly challenging—and Best Buy has decided to fold its cards there by selling off the 184 locations of its Five Star corporation to a domestic real-estate firm.

Best Buy already pulled out of the UK in 2012, and this latest move away from being a global brand reiterates the company's focus on making its North American business, including its operations in Canada and Mexico, the strongest it can be.

From the looks of its performance on Black Friday, Best Buy has some work to do in this department: Its website crashed twice on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.Continue reading...


Walmart, Turning 50, Seeks Smaller Pad in the Big City

Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2012 12:07 PM

Walmart executives must be experiencing deja vu.

Wasn't it just 20 years ago that they were reviled around the United States as plunderers of small retailers that didn't have a chance once a Walmart targeted a particular American town? The almost 50-year-old retail giant spent most of the last decade dutifully improving its reputation with various pools of critics on those grounds and others. But now, the Mexico-bribery scandal unveiled by the New York Times has brought back those awful allusions to ruthless corporate raiders — only, this time, the ignominy has been elevated to a global scale.

Walmart shoppers in America and the world around aren't likely to care too much about the company's bribes in Mexico; future sales trends are much more likely to be dictated by Walmart's pricing, merchandising and marketing practices and, of course, whether the U.S. economy ever pulls out of its slow-growth mode. But the house that Sam Walton built, which turns 50 in July, does need to be concerned about the future of its U.S. urban expansion plans for its smaller (than a SuperCenter) "Neighborhood Market" stores in the wake of the Mexico scandal.Continue reading...

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Lululemon Downplaying the Lulu to Keep From Turning Into a Lemon

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 27, 2012 01:01 PM

Lululemon, the billion-dollar Canadian yoga-inspired athletic apparel brand founded by former surfer Dennis "Chip" Wilson in 1998, continues to cause a stir in retail, lifestyles and its focus on a tight community with bizarre principles. 

In its earnings report last month covering its fiscal year that ended on January 29th, the company's CEO, Christine Day, announced:

"Reaching a billion dollars in revenue is clearly an important milestone that as a company we can all be very proud of. But far more important than the number itself are the beliefs, values, culture and people that achieved it. We really are so much more than our numbers; it is the everyday actions of our dedicated team that translates into an unparalleled guest experience and allows us to achieve our ultimate goal of elevating the world."

The original mission that Wilson set out for the brand, to "elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness," has morphed into "create components for people to live long, healthy, and fun lives."Continue reading...

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Krystal Seeks Healing Properties to Expand Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 28, 2011 03:01 PM

Southeastern burger chain Krystal is planning to supersize itself. The organization should be sold by the end of the year and then the plan is for it to double in size in the next five years to 760 locations, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press

"We're halfway through the [sale] process," said CEO Fred Exum, the Times Free Press reports. "The plan is to complete the process by the end of the year."

Exum said that the 79-year-old chain has been modernizing and moving stores to more profitable spots for a few years now, the paper notes.Continue reading...

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Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen to Expand in California

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 26, 2011 12:02 PM

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen may have its home base thousands of miles away, but don’t think that’s going to stop it from taking over as much of California — specifically, Southern California — as it can.

Restaurant News reports that the 39-year-old Louisiana-based fried chicken fast food restaurants “has launched an aggressive growth plan to increase its presence in Southern California.”

To that end, according to Popeyes' own press release, it's “seeking bold, passionate multi-unit operators to invest in new restaurants in Los Angeles and San Diego.”

Restaurant News notes that the company’s dollar share of the chicken quick-serve restaurant business is at a 10-year peak in the US. To help ease fears of potential franchisees, Popeyes is hosting two seminars this month in L.A. and San Diego.Continue reading...


Walmart Gets Into Lottery Biz

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 3, 2011 10:02 AM

Walmart has long said that has no interest in the business of selling lottery tickets. But the company is interested in keeping its customers satisfied. So a pilot program is about to get underway this week in Florida, where 27 Walmart stores will test selling tickets in a limited market trial.

"We want to offer products our customers want," commented Tara Raddohl, a company spokeswoman, to the Miami Herald. "We did some initial research and we determined it would be a good market to pilot in."

The growth of Walmart’s smaller neighborhood-market stores is what brought about the change in thinking from the Arkansas-based company.Continue reading...


Walmart: Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocer (by 2013)

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 22, 2011 10:01 AM

When you think Walmart, you generally think big and you don’t generally think groceries, but its Neighborhood Market stores may change that.

Chicago opened its third Walmart this week, but this is a Neighborhood Market store, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. At about 27,000 square feet, the downtown store is a fraction of a regular-sized Walmart, which can be as large as 150,000 square feet.

And while groceries are typically 1/3 of the product sold at a Walmart, it takes up ¾ of the Market, the paper reports. Walmart has been opening Neighborhood Markets since 1998 and now has 155 nationwide, but they are about to go into a boom time, with the company planning to have 300 of them by 2013, the Sun-Times reports.Continue reading...

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