Posted by Dale Buss on May 6, 2013 09:15 AM
YouTube close to launching paid subscription channels, reports say.
Amazon launches first Android app-store in China, ahead of Google.
Pfizer lets bashful buyers get Viagra online.
Al Jazeera America plans to open Detroit bureau.
Asustek plans to make small Windows 8 tablets.
Audi considers doubling production at Mexico factory under construction.
Berkshire Hathaway provides peek at era after Buffett.
BuzzFeed takes steps to expand foreign news.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 3, 2013 06:20 PM
After the March announcement of a potential shortage in its supply of black Luon pants due to a failure to meet technical specifications—a.k.a., the sheerness issue—the eccentric Vancouver-based lifestyle brand and highly successful global retailer is still repenting.
In a report published Friday, Wedbush analyst Betty Chen downgraded the rating on Lululemon from Outperform to Neutral. Following a survery of 300 Lulu customers, the analyst found that management has not properly addressed the consumer perception of "quality erosion," that the brand may be losing ground to other yoga apparel companies and that only 10 percent of respondents plan to restock once the Luon pants are back in stores.
We could have called that one. After complaints started to flood in that customers were unknowingly baring their derrieres, Lululemon pulled the designs in question from store shelves and pointed a finger at production managers in overseas factories. Brand loyalists flooded social media pages with complaints and questions, but the brand maintained an oddly cool demeanor, simply directing infuriated customers to the brand's Guest Education Center.
The nightmare didn't end their though, as reports flooded in about store clerks demanding customers to try on the pants and "bend over" before granting refunds and exchanges. Indeed, the trajectory of events since March takes a page from the brand playbook of what not to do after a major product incident.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 5, 2013 12:53 PM
Above, all of the name brand paper joss items available for this week's Qing Ming Jie or Tomb Sweeping Day when Chinese burn items to send to ancestors in the afterlife. Qing Ming is now big business.
China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.
This week: Apple still in trouble... China's anti-"fixie" rhetoric... infant formula saga... Celebrity China clout... PETA... counterfeit beer... Porsche... Startup Asia 2013... fly home to vote... "Baidu Glass"... W Hotels... McDonald's... Iron Man 3 to World War Z... cheap Bollinger... iPhone joss... "vulgar" Birkin brand... and more.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 4, 2013 01:46 PM
The self-inflicted brand damage continues at Lululemon as the company has announced the departure of its chief product officer, Sheree Waterson, effective April 15. Waterson had been with the company since 2008.
Lululemon called the change part of a "reorganization of our product organization," but it is widely believed that Waterson's exit is directly related to the company's recent yoga pants recall.
Last month, as brandchannel reported, Lululemon was forced to recall its black Luon pants because the bottoms were too sheer, revealing areas of the body and causing potential embarrassment. Lululemon pulled the product from stores—effecting about 17 percent of its retail products—and its website and offered customers a full refund. The problem was not only a blow to an exceedingly popular lifestyle brand, it could also cost Lululemon around $60 million, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. In fact, analysts expected the company's earnings and stock price to take a big hit.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 4, 2013 09:37 AM
Arthur Frommer buys back travel book brand from Google, which acquired it with big plans last August.
Facebook readies for rumored phone event today.
Apple's futuristic campus project runs late and $2 billion overbudget.
BlackBerry turns mobile website into "test drive" of new Z10 phone, kills off BBM music service.
CVS and Rite-Aid target allergy season.
ConAgra boosts ad spending as commodity costs drop.
Detroit Electric launches Tesla rival.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 3, 2013 10:01 AM
You've certainly read about Google, YouTube, American Eagle, BMW and other major branded April Fools' hijinks. But, below, smaller brand-focused April Fool's jokes you probably missed.
At top, Jockey Sport amended its landing page to announce a new product: The environmentally friendly NearlyNaked running shoe, made completely from recycled underwear. And below, the lately maligned Lululemon addresses its sheer yoga pants crisis with a material that licks that problem: leather.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 21, 2013 03:18 PM
Lululemon Athletica revealed Monday that it expects earnings to drop this quarter due to a dud batch of its popular yoga pants made with its proprietary luon fabric, which its store managers indicated were being returned by customers who found them too sheer for wearing. “Some of our bottoms were made with a batch of black luon that doesn’t meet our standards so we’ve pulled them from our floors and our website.”
After being downgraded by Credit Suisse and others after the news, an earnings call today meant to detail the company's fourth quarter and full year 2012 results along with 2013 developments such as a move into golf and tennis apparel was instead taken up with answering analysts' questions about how it was handling the crisis—and offering more (ahem) transparency about the situation than has been offered to customers.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 19, 2013 03:49 PM
Is this a sign of things to come for Canada's retail darling? Lululemon, the Vancouver-based lifestyle brand and highly successful global retailer, over the weekend pulled its Luon black yoga pants from store shelves after discovering the sheer material was just too sheer, a result, some say, of poor quality control on the company's part. On Monday, the retailer announced it would be pulling various—but unnamed—styles of its popular (and pricey) yoga pants, explaining, “Some of our bottoms were made with a batch of black luon that doesn’t meet our standards so we’ve pulled them from our floors and our website.”
“At lululemon, our most important relationship is with our communities and our guests. We recently learned some information about some product that arrived in our stores and we wanted you to know right away,” according to the retailer's blog post. “We are working with our supplier to replace this fabric and other manufacturers to replenish the affected core items as fast as we can. What that means is there will be a shortage of these styles in our stores and online until our new stock arrives. We are also in conversation with our manufacturing partner to understand what happened during the period this fabric was made.”
The brand said it will offer refunds or exchanges to customers who bought the affected item in March, either online or in stores. Lululemon—which was just named Canada's top retail brand by Interbrand's 2013 Best Retail Brands report—is known for turning around products on short order. "Our guest knows that there's a limited supply, and it creates these fanatical shoppers," CEO Christine Day, a former Starbucks executive, told the Wall Street Journal. But the reported pants issue isn't a calculated sales strategy to boost demand and drive sales.Continue reading...