retail

Macy’s Introduces Marilyn Monroe Collection to a Racier Generation

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...

brand news

In the News: Taco Bell, Fox, Best Buy and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2013 08:56 AM

In the News

Taco Bell makes new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos available a day early.

Fox reveals details of new planned national sports network to compete with ESPN.

Best Buy ends work-at-home program for corporate employees as Yahoo! policy continues to be debated.

Alfa Romeo says its performance numbers make 4C an ideal car for U.S. market.

Doritos launches first global campaign.

Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne presses full merger with Chrysler.

Groupon CFO says company's business model will stay.

JCPenney board's patience said to be wearing thin with CEO Ron Johnson, as Martha Stewart dished from the witness stand and rehashes her testimony on NBC's Today Show.Continue reading...

retail

Martha Stewart Dishes From Lofty Perch of Witness Stand in Macy's-JCP Trial

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...

brand news

In the News: Walmart, Diageo, HSBC and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2013 08:46 AM

In the News

Walmart philanthropic director Sylvia Mathews Burwell expected to be nominated Monday as Obama's budget chief.

India develops a taste for premium beer while officials approve $2 billion Diageo deal.

HSBC set for $23 billion profit as turnaround gains traction.

AB InBev takes to Twitter and newspaper ads to fight watered-down-beer charges.

AIDS drug breakthrough sees infant evidently cured through early use of virus-blocking drugs.

Alfa Romeo reboot marks tough road for Fiat.

American Airlines drops below 60,000 employees for the first time since 1987.

AOL's new Brand Group CEO Susan Lyne lays out her goals.

Asos joins brands using Twitter's Vine for short form social video marketing.Continue reading...

retail

JCPenney Goes From Worse To Worst, While Sears, Walmart Confront Own Problems

Posted by Dale Buss on February 28, 2013 05:26 PM

Is it just us, or does J.C. Penney's "Yours Truly" ad sound like a goodbye? Unfortunately for the 100-year-old brand, it may not be far off. 

J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson may be testifying in the suit against his company by Macy's over Martha Stewart any day now. Sitting in the hot seat in that courtroom can't be any worse than sitting in the hot seat that he already occupies: as the man who presided over what's been called "the worst quarter in retailing history" by Business Insider and who seems increasingly unable to stop Penney's self-imposed slide.

Not that things are hunky-dory at some of his competitors these days either. Sears' problems continue and now Walmart is having trouble keeping its shelves stocked.

Things seem to be spinning out of control at Penney. This week, Johnson reported an adjusted decline in same-store sales of nearly 32 percent for the fourth quarter; and for the fiscal year as a whole, sales dropped by a staggering total of $4.3 billion compared with 2011—just before Johnson was hand-picked as CEO by the Penney board that had been starstruck by his accomplishments running Apple retail. Last month, he finally conceded that the "no-sales" basis of his strategy might be flawed. Continue reading...

retail

JCPenney Hopes to Breathe Life into Retail Sales with Pop-Up Shops

Posted by Brittany Waterson on February 27, 2013 12:37 PM

JCPenney, seemingly a permanent fixture in the news these days, seeks to push past the negative financial and branding headlines and tap into customer experience with their new pop-up shops, which will hopefully garner appeal from designer collaborations. 

The store, which is currently embroiled in a high-stakes trial with Macy's and Martha Stewart over product licenses, has had a rough time since CEO Ron Johnson took over a year ago. The brand's "no markdown" strategy backfired, and word on the street is that employee morale has hit an all-time low at the company's Plano, Texas headquarters. 

However, the company had a moment during the Oscars broadcast. The new campaign, a series of commercials introducing JCP’s latest brand partnerships expanded on last year's rebranding campaign with Ellen DeGeneres. It also boosted activity on Facebook and Twitter, rewarding some followers with gift certificates.

Now, with the success of shop-in-shop brands like Sephora, MNG by Mango, Levi's Denim Bar and Liz Claiborne, the retailer is adding more designers to its in-store boutique lineup and plans to expand to home goods later this spring. Each brand will have their own design aesthetic within their individual shop.

With its in-store designer additions, J.C. Penney joins Target, Macy's (now battling JCP in court over Martha Stewart) and Bloomingdale's as the latest department store to experiment with boutique-style shops. In fact, JCP is stealing from Target's playbook with a new exclusive home goods collection by American architect Michael Graves—Target's first designer partnership, which launched in 1999 and produced a whopping 2,000 items—and Justin Timberlake's William Rast collection, which launched as a Target exclusive in 2010.

Other upcoming JCPenney designer collaborations include in-store boutiques for Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler, Designs by Conran, Watchgear by Tourneau, Carters and Giggles. Here's a look at the in-store boutiques now hitting its stores:Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: AB InBev, Twitter, Cablevision and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2013 09:09 AM

In the News

AB InBev fiercely denies allegations that it waters down Budweiser, as its earnings are boosted by U.S.

Twitter sees potential valuation soar as it mulls IPO.

Cablevision sues Viacom for making it run second-tier channels.

AMC is propelled by "The Walking Dead."

Apple is expected to address cash horde at annual meeting as it tries to crack India market with iPhone.

Asus plans aggressive push in U.S. PC market.

Boeing encounters lack of battery expertise as probe of Dreamliner drags on.

Facebook opens up its ad exchange to sell everything but Google.

GM CEO Dan Akerson requests no pay raise for second year in a row.

Huawei kicks off branding campaign at Mobile World Congress.

In-N-Out Burger is kept on track by heiress.

Kraft debuts theme of Velveeta as "liquid gold."

Macy's plans to intensify digital efforts and issues upbeat outlook.

Milwaukee Brewers renew deal with long-time sponsor Miller Lite. Continue reading...

see you in court

Terry Lundgren's Testimony Questions Future of Macy's Without Martha

Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2013 05:12 PM

Testimony by Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren this week helped answer one of the questions raised by his company's determined pursuit of perceived justice in its suit against J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia: Why does this dispute seem so personal? Macy's helped the company after Stewart got out of prison eight years ago and Lundgren had come to consider her a friend.

But Lundgren's remarks on Monday about the centrality of the Martha Stewart deal to Macy's business raised another, more important question for all three brands: Why is the Martha Stewart imprimatur so important to the dean of department-store chains and why does Penney believe her brand has so much appeal that it's willing to allow its CEO to share company secrets in court about its tremendous potential?

As first of the three most important people in the trial to actually take the stand, Lundgren left no doubt about how important sales of Stewart-branded merchandise have become to the chain. While the home department is usually the least profitable section of a Macy's store, because of its long lead time and slow turn of products, he testified according to Advertising Age, 40 percent of Macy's advertising is attached to the home business. And that's largely because Macy's wants consumers to know it's got Martha's stuff. Continue reading...

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