Posted by Barry Silverstein on March 27, 2013 03:31 PM
In many respects, the future of retail is a moving target that continues to shift in response to consumer demand. Retailers are now using mobile payments to help them succeed in a market that is increasingly mobile even as they scramble to reinvent and preserve the in-store experience.
When you bring these two trends together, they represent a not-so-subtle blending of distinctly different worlds: the physical store and the online store. It is here that battle lines are being drawn to determine who really owns the future of retail. That war is most evident when you examine some of the recent strategic moves by the top players.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on March 22, 2013 05:49 PM
Consider retailing a two-pronged challenge: On the one hand, retailers must accommodate the increasingly mobile consumer. On the other hand, the traditional retailer can't ignore the need to drive that consumer to a physical store.
As highlighted in our previous post on the future of retail, there is a flurry of activity surrounding online retail initiatives right now, with particular emphasis on mobile. Mobile payments in particular are getting a lot of attention as retailers figure out ways to transfer the shopping experience to every sort of handheld device.
But there is an equally intense effort to reinvent the traditional store. In fact, many retailers are beginning to realize that rather than close stores, they can sustain them by giving them a much-needed facelift. More than a surface makeover, however, reinventing the store involves a thorough rework that often includes a growing trend: creating a "brand story" to engage and involve a consumer in the shopping experience.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...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 18, 2013 03:32 PM
If Joe Fresh could rescue Ron Johnson, the Canadian apparel brand probably would, but opening Joe Fresh boutiques in nearly 700 of J.C. Penney's 1,100 U.S. department stores on Friday might be only the first step in a long line of right moves the Penney CEO must make in order to save the iconic retail brand from itself—and him.
In Canada, Joe Fresh, which is owned by supermarket brand Loblaw, appears mainly in Loblaw stores or in standalone stores next door. Yet Johnson was able to pluck it out of many possibilities as a fresh, edgy brand to occupy one of the first waves of "store-within-a-store" boutiques that are supposed to begin helping JCP escape the consequences of the CEO's strategy for tearing down the old brand in order to build a new one.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 13, 2013 02:23 PM
Plenty of businesses were unhappy when President Obama suggested raising the minimum wage, but Costco CEO Craig Jelinek recently let the world know that he’s all for raising it to $10.10 an hour—and the news isn’t hurting business, either.
Last quarter, Costco's revenue ballooned to $537 million, which is up from $394 million in the same period one year ago, The Huffington Post reports.
“At Costco, we know that paying employees good wages makes good sense for business,” Jelinik said last week. “Instead of minimizing wages, we know it's a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty. We support efforts to increase the federal minimum wage.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2013 04:22 PM
H&M has added another ampersand to its business portfolio. This one, though, is at a higher end than the attire found in the chain’s more than 2,000 locations worldwide.
& Other Stories launched on March 8th with a bash in London, where the new brand will have its first brick-and-mortar store that will offer the brand’s first clothing line as well as a number of products from other labels and designers. Called C-labs, these temporary partnerships include such companies as The Lake & Stars lingerie, Clare Vivier’s bags and accessories, Alyson Fox’s jewelry and fashion designs by Abigail Lorick Im, WWD reports. “We like working with people who we like,” Anna Teurnell, & Other Stories’ head of design, told WWD. “And these labels complement what we have already.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 6, 2013 07:07 PM
Marilyn Monroe died back in 1962 with eight milligrams of chloral hydrate and 4.5 milligrams of Nembutal floating around in her system. The 36-year-old former foster child’s death was listed as a “probable suicide” by the L.A. County coroner.
While Monroe’s final years weren’t her best, she had already seared her image onto the collective American culture with her work in such classic films as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven-Year Itch and Some Like It Hot, not to mention her sultry birthday serenade to President John F. Kennedy, who also happens to be the last person she called on the phone.
Like Monroe’s original name of Norma Jean Baker, most folks have pretty much forgotten about Monroe’s bad times and her image has become a symbol of sex and glamour. That’s been a lucky gift for Anna Strasburg, the wife of deceased father of method acting Lee Strasburg, the recipient of all Monroe's worldly goods.
Strasberg spent years taking various entities to court so she would clearly have the rights to Monroe’s image when it comes to commercial items. She cashed in and sold the rights to Jamie Salter’s Authentic Brands Group LLC and media company Neca LLC, according to Bloomberg. Salter, meanwhile, is already raking in cash every time any Bob Marley-related item causes a cash register to ring.
Don’t worry about the septuagenarian Strasberg. She stayed on as a minority partner in the company that planned to sell Monroe-branded makeup, lingerie and other products. The latest deal for the company has Macy’s launching a new line of Monroe-inspired clothing on March 15th, following the opening of the first Marilyn Monroe cafe (in Oakville, Canada) in November.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 5, 2013 06:36 PM
One more day of Martha Stewart on the stand in the Macy's-JCPenney trial over her brand and wares, and neither retailer may not want her anymore.
Testimony by the 71-year-old Diva of Domesticity on Tuesday at times sounded like something from Les Miserables or A Tale of Two Cities, leaving her views of the differences between Penney's and Macy's customers abundantly clear.
Penney customers "have 30 percent less income than Macy's shoppers," she said near the end of her testimony, according to the Twitter coverage from the courtroom by Ashley Lutz, who covers retail for Business Insider. "They're going to buy different things."
Not long after, a Macy's attorney in the landmark court case called her out for saying that JCP has different customers than Macy's, the lawyer noting that the Macy's contract prohibited her brand from collaborating with "downscale" partners, presumably because it would tarnish the value of the Stewart marque for Macy's.Continue reading...