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1-800 Flowers completes acquisition of Harry & David

BY Staff Writer

Carle Place, N.Y. — 1-800-Flowers.com announced the closing of its acquisition of Harry & David Holdings, a specialty retailer and producer of branded premium gift-quality fruit, gourmet food products and other gifts.

“This combination will propel our total annual revenues to more than $1.1 billion and offers numerous opportunities to accelerate our top and bottom-line growth going forward,” said Jim McCann, CEO of 1-800-Flowers.com.

The acquisition includes Harry & David’s brands and websites as well as its headquarters, manufacturing and distribution facilities and orchards in Medford, Oregon, a warehouse and distribution facility in Hebron, Ohio, and 48 Harry & David retail stores located throughout the country.

To fund the all-cash deal, the company has entered into a new credit facility, led by JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Bank. N.A., consisting of a $142.5 million five-year term loan and a co-terminus $200 million revolving credit line to be used for working capital and other business needs.

McCann noted that the senior management team of Harry & David, led by Craig Johnson, is remaining with the company.

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Study: Amazon tops U.K. digital customer experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

London – Amazon.com ranks first in end-to end customer experience across key digital channels including websites, mobile sites and apps. According to the latest EChannel Retail Benchmark report from EDigitalResearch, Amazon tops the benchmark study due to their core multichannel functionality, especially across the search and purchase sections of the customer journey.

Consumers particularly liked their accurate and fast predictive text on keyword search, extensive integrated customer reviews on product pages and their one-click purchase functionality, available on all three of their digital channels.

Department store Debenhams came a close second thanks to their recent site design re-fresh. Marks & Spencer’s overall multichannel digital customer experience has slipped following their site re-launch earlier in the year, scoring poorly in both the first impressions and checkout stages of the customer journey — two key areas where changes were made as part of the sites development.

"Amazon have long led the field with their multichannel customer experience, introducing ideas such as predictive search text and one-click purchases,” said Derek Eccleston, commercial director at EDigitalResearch. “While they still don’t lead the way when it comes to design or first impressions, Amazon clearly understand their customers — they know that people are often wanting to make purchase quickly and their digital channels more than deliver on this front.”

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Survey: Consumers will drive to save; like rebates

BY Dan Berthiaume

Lewisville, Texas – Consumers are still sensitive to price, so they’re willing to drive at least five-to-10 minutes out of their way to get a better deal. According to the new Parago shopper study "Ring Up More Holiday Sales," 81% of consumers would drive five to 10 minutes out of their way for a $10 rebate on a $50 item.

In addition, 80% of shoppers would like to use their smartphone to submit rebates, and 83% of 1,400 U.S. adult consumers surveyed said they found rebates attractive for both online and in-store purchases. More than seven in 10 (72%) consumers find rebates easy to use

"With the holidays fast approaching, retailers are looking for new ways to increase foot traffic and account for the shift to online retail. They know customers have high expectations for deals when they come in store, but what they may not know is that customers will drive a bit further to find those deals," said Rodney Mason, CMO of Parago, a global incentives and engagement company. "With rebates, retailers can offer these deal-hungry customers the very lowest price, but also protect margins, unlike across-the-board discounting or online price matching."

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