Posted by Dale Buss on August 21, 2013 06:17 PM
With American consumers still proving reluctant to open their pocketbooks too wide, Walmart is trying still harder to make it easier for them to spend by introducing free layaway for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
On the sales floor, Walmart and its competitors could be doing much better as they fret the slow pace of back-to-school sales and the implications for the Christmas-shopping season. The chain's second-quarter comp-store sales slipped by 0.3 percent and it's predicting relatively flat third-quarter comps, even while there are a few other signs of continued but slow economic recovery in the United States.
So heading into the year's most important spending season, Walmart is taking no chances. Its new layaway program eliminates last year's $5 fee for opening a new account, though it restores a $10 cancellation fee that Walmart had dropped last year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 20, 2013 06:06 PM
For JCPenney, rewinding the recent past has continued to key a brighter future. That was apparent in fiscal-second-quarter results, released today, that showed the brand slowing its sales decline to only 12 percent year-on-year—a brutally negative figure that was only brightened by comparison with the 23 percent quarterly sales decline a year earlier.
With activist investor Bill Ackman out of the way, or at least off the JCPenney board, and his support shored up, CEO Myron Ullman apparently sees positive glimmers of the old JCPenney that he ran until a couple of years ago. The closer the retailer returns to the strategy he followed before giving way to Ron Johnson as CEO, Ullman is indicating, the greater chance JCPenney has of surviving.
"There are no quick fixes to correct the errors of the past," he said in a statement. "Moving forward, we're focusing our efforts on regaining customer loyalty by offering trusted brands, award-winning service and affordability that families can depend on."Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on August 14, 2013 02:22 PM
Gap is launching the biggest marketing campaign in its history—dubbed "Back to Blue"—this fall with a global media push that includes the brand's return to TV after a hiatus since 2009, as well as print and outdoor advertising, social media, in-store promotions and digital marketing. In fact, Gap will be the first brand to take over all mobile ads on Tumblr for one day, August 29.
"Pop culture doesn't really start on TV anymore," Rachel Tipograph, Gap's global director of digital and social media, told Mashable. "Pop culture starts on the Internet. When you think about what community is creating pop culture on the Internet, it's Tumblr."
The Tumblr campaign includes a content creation contest, where the winning work will earn a spot on Gap's Tumblr and be turned into Tumblr mobile ads. There are also nearly 10 "Back to Blue Moments" videos on its YouTube page.
The impetus for "Back to Blue" is two-fold, according to Seth Farbman, Global Chief Marketing Officer for Gap.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 2, 2013 05:12 PM
The next 10 years of retail are going to be quite different from the last 100, mostly because of the introduction of digital, AT&T retail head Paul Roth told AllThingsD. So the company is about to change its entire retail experience, starting with a test store in the suburbs of Chicago.
The store features different areas, each styled after areas of a home. "Technology can be intimidating for people, but when we put them in a friendly, comfortable environment, we show them how technology can enhance their lives," Dave Fine of AT&T told the Chicago Tribune.
One very obvious thing that the new concept store is missing is cash registers. Instead, transactions will be completed with mobile devices anywhere in the store with any store employee, Forbes.com reports. “The future of retail is all about personalized service and education,” Roth told the site.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 29, 2013 04:37 PM
After months of sale rumors, 90-year-old retailer Saks has been bought by Canada's Hudson's Bay Company for $2.4 billion. The purchase boosts HBC to 320 retail locations, including 179 full department stores, according to The New York Times. In addition to the existing US retail locations, Hudson's Bay will introduce Saks Fifth Avenue and Off Fifth outlets to the Canadian market.
Hudson’s Bay, which back in March rebranded itself from 'The Bay' as Target debuted in Canada, is owned by NRDC Equity Partners, which also owns mid-market luxury retailer Lord & Taylor.
“This exciting portfolio of three iconic brands creates one of North America’s premier fashion retailers,” Richard A. Baker, the Hudson’s Bay Company’s chairman and chief executive, told the Times. “I’ve had a long connection with Saks over the years, and am thrilled to bring one of the world’s most recognized luxury retailers into the HBC family.”Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on July 25, 2013 12:46 PM
As global retailers find a tightening competitive environment in the US and Europe, many are in search of emerging and middle-of-the-road markets to extend their brand. China has been fertile ground for the past few years, as evidenced by the growth of Western auto sales. But the next wide open opportunity for Western brands may be India, a market with a $500 billion retail potential.
The second most-populous country in the world won't be the easiest market to win over, however. For one thing, India boasts its own cadre of domestic brands in various categories. Already accepted by Indian consumers, some of these brands are positioned to effectively compete with multinational rivals, especially across food, beverage and auto.
Of even greater significance, though, is a regulatory environment in India that, until recently, made it very difficult for companies not based in India to penetrate the market. That may be changing.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 22, 2013 04:42 PM
Is it too early to conclude that Sears has jumped the shark as a conventional retailer and that it's all over but the shouting for the retailer as a brick-and-mortar brand? Two new indicators about the future of Sears leave that impression.
It seems that Sears is attempting to pivot from its increasingly woeful performance as a retailer in American shopping malls to an attempt to leapfrog its traditional business model, and the restraints of its own brand, in e-commerce. Sears CEO Edward Lampert has been pushing his beleaguered company to secure upscale offerings for the Marketplace section of Sears.com, which features goods sold by third-party vendors, according to the Wall Street Journal.
That means Lambert expects to persuade an upscale clientele that never shopped at Sears somehow to go to Sears online to purchase delicacies such as Balenciaga sunglasses, Pour La Victoire boots, Rolex watches and Chanel handbags. In so doing, the CEO—perhaps at his wit's end as to how to revive Sears—is hoping to outmaneuver Amazon, eBay and other e-commerce giants.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 22, 2013 03:33 PM
Had the Rodeo Drive store made famous for its ill treatment of Julia Robert’s character in Pretty Woman been using VIP-identification technology, prostitute Vivian Ward might have been treated quite differently.
“It is the moment every sales assistant dreads,” writes London's Sunday Times. “A customer is demanding attention; they seem vaguely familiar but you do not have time to deal with them. Only when you get the call from head office does the penny drop: you have just snubbed one of the richest people in the world and turned away a month’s sales in a day.”
Designed by NEC IT Solutions, facial recognition software similar to that used to help identify criminals and terrorists is now available in retail settings. The ID technology analyzes footage of people's faces as they enter a store, taking measurements that generate a numerical code or "face template" which can be checked against a database.Continue reading...