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Macy's Dials Up Omnichannel Strategy Ahead of Holiday Shopping Blitz

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 17, 2014 01:29 PM

Macy’s is making a bigger investment in omnichannel retail technology ahead of the major holiday shopping season by creating a more personalized and interactive shopping experience for consumers in-store, online and on mobile devices. 

A pioneer in the implementation of RFID technology, Macy's will be rolling out shopBeacons to all of its locations across the US and will be expanding its partnership with Shopkick to drive consumer engagement in-store. 

“Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s remain committed to operating at the forefront of innovation, as well as fostering a locally relevant shopping experience in every store,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman and CEO of Macy's, in a press release. “We are a multi-faceted retailer with stores, technology, Internet capability and mobile access that come together for our customers. They are at the center of all our decisions, and our ongoing research and development will continue to help us understand how to personally engage with them.”Continue reading...

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Target CEO Vows Return to "Tarjay" While Home Depot Battles Data Breach

Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2014 03:17 PM

Target's new CEO, Brian Cornell, has decided to go back to the future to retool the retailing brand while Home Depot CEO Frank Blake has to hope that he can see something other than Target in the crystal ball for his own brand, as Home Depot deals with a potentially mammoth data breach.

Target suffered a debilitating customer-data breach nearly a year ago, but the brand clearly was having problems before that. The biggest: Former CEO Gregg Steinhafel had allowed Target to drift away from a distinct identity as the au courant mass merchandiser whose chic apparel and homewear designs elevated it above price-first rivals such as Walmart and dollar stores. Steinhafel instead added a greater variety of goods and focused on grocery expansion.

Now, with Steinhafel gone, PepsiCo veteran Cornell is only a month into his job but told the Wall Street Journal that he has one major strategy planned: return to the narrower range of categories where the chain originally made its reputation as "Tarjay," including fashion and furniture, as well as expand fast-growing other segments including organic foods and children's wear.Continue reading...

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Starbucks Launches New Store Formats to Sell Coffee Up and Down Price Scale

Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2014 03:06 PM

Whether you're a coffee snob or just want to grab a cup of java in the quickest and easiest way possible for the morning commute, Starbucks wants to make things easier for both of you. So in yet more initiatives to extend its brand, Starbucks plans to accelerate the development and opening of three new types of coffee stores.

Forget for the moment that Starbucks also is trying to take over the tea-shop business with Teavana, Greek-style takeout yogurt with Dannon, and the juice business with its Evolution Fresh brand—these new gambits are all about coffee.

For one thing, Starbucks "plans to test small-footprint, express stores focused on offering convenience to customers," the company said in a news release, building on "the profitability of tailored, localized store design and formats." This will include an emphasis on drive-throughs, which already account for more than 40 percent of company-operated stores and, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, have a higher-than-average sales growth compared with non-drive-through locations.Continue reading...

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Branding Stays On the Shelf in Dollar-Store Jockeying, But Will Walmart?

Posted by Dale Buss on August 27, 2014 03:39 PM

It's clear that the proposed combination of Family Dollar and Dollar Tree is all about financial considerations, mainly the cost streamlining the merged company could enjoy after the proposed $8.5 billion deal is completed, through closing up to 500 stores and blending back-office operations.

But what about the two retailers' brands? And what about brand considerations if a third player, Dollar General, which would like to buy Family Dollar, is part of the chase as well? How would any of the possible business combinations here affect the stores' brands afterward?

There seems to be not as much concern about brands in this situation as there is in other consolidations of other consumer-facing companies, such as Burger King and Tim Hortons.Continue reading...

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On Comeback Trail, What Can JCPenney, Best Buy Teach Other Retailers?

Posted by Dale Buss on August 26, 2014 06:04 PM

JCPenney and Best Buy have shown signs of life in their earnings reports in recent days, providing some hope to brand leaders, other employees, investors and communities associated with the companies. Do their unlikely, though still very tentative, comebacks provide some lessons for other retailers that now are afflicted with big leaks in their own boats, such as Walmart, Target and Sears?

One of the main lessons of the improved recent performances by Minneapolis-based Best Buy and Dallas-based JCPenney is that major shifts in strategy may be required to survive today's extremely challenging retail scene—and that some determination in following them can pay off relatively quickly.

Best Buy has shown some progress under new CEO Hubert Joly in implementing its "Renew Blue" plan, which focuses on boosting online sales, enhancing the in-store experience and leveraging the retailer's multichannel presence.Continue reading...

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Kmart Hopes Renewed Push Behind Pay In Store Will Lift Sales

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 25, 2014 11:17 AM

Kmart’s Pay In Store program is already a year old, but the brand is putting some fresh effort behind the offering as it moves to adapt to a more digital retail landscape.

The program lets customers to order products online and then pick them up and pay for them in-store, allowing consumers to shop online whether they have access to credit or not. The initiative is similar to Gap's Reserve In-Store function, which allows online shoppers to locate an item in a local store, reserve it online, and then go and pick it up. 

Kmart's new push behind the in-store pick-up service includes a new ad, "Shop Like a Boss," featuring a funky granny.Continue reading...

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Rent the Runway Sets Up (Permanent) Shop in New York's Flatiron

Posted by Brittany Waterson on August 18, 2014 11:26 AM

Rent the Runway, the unique startup turned major e-commerce success that "rents" designer dresses and accessories for a fraction of the retail price, is opening its first permanent brick and mortar location in New York's Flatiron district. Opening September 3, the store will host over 200 designers and an ever-changing selection of hundreds of dresses and accessories. 

Founded in 2009 by Harvard Business School alum Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, the site offers up designs from Diane von Furstenberg, Moschino, Kate Spade and more on its online platform. But as omnichannel retail becomes increasingly important to sustained success, Rent the Runway is joining brands like Birchbox, Warby Parker and Kate Spade Saturday in opening physical retail stops to capture consumer attention.Continue reading...

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Target, Finally Getting Canada, is Really Sorry

Posted by Dale Buss on August 15, 2014 10:01 AM

Target says it's got some of its biggest problems in Canada figured out and has begun to reverse them with a three-pronged turnaround plan that will focus on the chain's supply chain, pricing and merchandise selection in an attempt to turn around an important geographic expansion that has gone badly awry.

The chain has been facing a number of problems lately, including the monumental data breach last December and a loss of much of its overall brand mojo in the US, and those problems helped lead to the departure of CEO Gregg Steinhafel earlier this year.

But the problems in Canada—where Target massively launched last year by opening 124 stores and three distribution centers—led to a loss of nearly $1 billion as sales fell short of expectations and rivals pummeled the retailer.

Now, new Target Canada boss Mark Schindele is insisting that the new initiatives will improve its business performance, pricing and inventory issues and deliver the Target brand experience to Canadian customers.Continue reading...

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