Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 19, 2012 10:17 AM
Get ready to be nostalgic for Restoration Hardware. The retailer that once scarily commodified the products of an entire generation’s youth as it grew through the ’80s and ’90s is reinventing itself to forget about the nostalgia and pay more attention to high-end furniture, the Associated Press reports.
The rebrand will include simplifying the name of the place to RH. "RH enhances our identity and moves us beyond our hardware store beginnings," CEO Carlos Alberini said in a statement. "It enables us to leverage our core capabilities of innovation, curation and integration of new ideas and businesses."
This is the next step for a chain that has been changing since Stephen Gordon launched it in 1980 and severed ties in 2005, through to when Sears acquired a stake in 2007 and the company was sold back in 2008 to a private-equity firm.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2012 05:18 PM
From the swarming Indian metropolis of Mumbai to the windy streets of Chicago, a resurgent Walmart is flexing its muscles a bit more these days.
For a couple of years, during the Great Recession, Walmart was naturally preoccupied with its sagging sales and other troubles at home. But with U.S. same-store sales back in a solid growth mode now after Walmart executives about-faced and returned to their tried-and-true promotional and merchandising formula, the company has freed up cash flow to look at other potential growth areas.
One of the most beckoning is India. Some critics are still lashing the Indian government for its move last Friday finally to boost its economy by allowing greater foreign participation in retailing investment in the country, and other measures designed to kick-start an economy that is slowing even though India's population growth continues.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 13, 2012 10:01 AM
“UNIQLO Lucky Cube with Maru” (you know — Maru, Japan's Garfield turned YouTube and web sensation) is one of the ways UNIQLO USA is celebrating the fall openings of new stores in San Francisco and New Jersey.
The brand’s first West Coast flagship store, 111 Powell Street in San Francisco's Union Square, opens on October 5th. “San Francisco has always been a place of creativity, diversity, and social innovation,” stated UNIQLO USA’s COO Yasunobu Kyogoku. “In this same spirit, UNIQLO takes pride in developing innovative technology to create high-quality casual basics that are not only functional, but also affordable.”
Fans in the Bay Area can win blimp rides, merchandise and other prizes by playing with the You Tube Japanese cat sensation and the game is available now through October 14th on UNIQLO’s website, and via Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on September 5, 2012 05:37 PM
Target promotes the fall crop of pop-up boutiques opening Sept. 9th at its US stores and target.com at the height of New York Fashion Week fever, in its latest commercial above: New York's Kirna Zabete and Odin, Boston's Patch NYC and Boston's The Curiosity Shoppe.
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 5, 2012 01:02 PM
Supermarkets have become major players in the retail sale of books, movie and TV DVDs and music and are now buttressing their position in digital consumption through vendor acquisitions.
As Amazon and Barnes & Noble reach across the pond, preparing to launch more services and devices in the UK and Europe, Tesco is stepping up its own territorial imperative with the $7.2 million purchase of white-label digital bookseller Mobcast. "The acquisition further strengthens Tesco’s digital entertainment offer, following the purchase of movie and TV streaming service blinkbox in 2011 and personalised internet radio service WE7 in June 2012," the company commented in a press release.
According to Mobcast, e-Book sales via portable devices are projected to reach nearly $10 billion globally by 2016, three times expectations for 2012, with close to 30% of e-books purchased on tablets, 15% on smartphones and 55% on e-readers. And while Tesco accounted for 10.7% of UK entertainment sales this spring, Amazon gained a 21.1% share according to British trade journal The Bookseller.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 28, 2012 11:28 AM
Back-to-school season may not be what it used to be. Under the "new normal" that is the American consumer economy these days, many children, teenagers and their parents appear to be delaying their school-related purchases this season, according to the New York Times. Thus, the full swing of this year's back-to-school shopping blowout may amount to less than has traditionally been the case.
Some of the delay is because kids and parents are holding back to make sure they buy the stuff that's truly on trend, the newspaper says. And unusually hot weather has left some consumers decidedly not in the mood to shop for pants with legs and shirts with sleeves. Another factor is that households don't have to head into stores as early because they research more of their purchases online beforehand and, aware of retailers' strategies, hold out until later in the season when bargains are better.
The back-to-school season is the second-largest sales period for U.S. retailers, after the Christmas holidays. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 23, 2012 02:28 PM
Walmart has backed off its goal of becoming the supercenter of health care in America. But the retailing behemoth is still finding ways to expand its footprint in health services as it searches for new areas of growth and tries to take advantage of the shifting landscape in the provision of health care in the United States.
On Monday, Walmart will start offering vaccinations for infectious diseases beyond influenza and pneumonia at 2,700 U.S. stores on Monday: HPV, meningitis and eight other diseases and conditions recommended by the federal government via pop-up kiosks at the front of the stores and a contracted network of registered nurses.
"The goal is to take advantage of the fact that these individuals are in our stores shopping for groceries every day," said Dr. John Agwunobi, Walmart's president of health and wellness, according to the Wall Street Journal. "We want our customers to begin to see us as a destination not just for nutriton but for preventive health care."
But while Walmart may be unique, its health care vision isn't. A number of other retailers, including drugstore chains Walgreen's and CVX Caremark, also have been ramping up the number of injections they provide as well as other health care services. And with American parents mindful of vaccination requirements and wary of the return of their children to school, this is the time of year when brands typically ramp up their health care offerings. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 21, 2012 02:31 PM
The more Walmart returns to its knitting in its home U.S. market, the better the results seem to be. That's one reason the chain has decided to offer earlier layaway for its customers this year.
With the American economy still moribund, joblessness and under-employment still high, personal incomes stagnant and consumer confidence erratic at best, Walmart figured it's a good time to help its customers breathe easier. So it is launching its Christmas-layaway program a month earlier than usual and, while tripling its service fee, guaranteeing that customers will get it back after their final layaway payment.
The move is aimed at helping Walmart's clientele cope with a pronounced "paycheck cycle" these days, in which many households continue to struggle paycheck-to-paycheck, a company spokesman told the Wall Street Journal. Being able to put goods on layaway a month earlier will allow typical consumers to tap into two more bi-weekly paychecks to make the payments. Continue reading...