News

AAFES launches upgraded website

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service announced a refresh of the organization’s official website, Shopmyexchange.com, in preparation for the key holiday selling season.

Improvements include a new homepage layout design, complete with an updated visual look and industry-standard navigation; more product categories; easy-to-find links to specialty stores and online mall vendors; improved product pages; and easier checkout.

Easy-to-find buttons for key features such as sales, customer service, online account management and Military StarTM Card service are also now conveniently placed at the top of the page, and the product search bar is now more prominent within the site’s layout. In addition, the shopping cart feature is now consistently positioned on the right side of all product pages.

Other new features include social media buttons that connect users with a direct source for exclusive discounts, new product announcements and local store events via Facebook, twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

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REAL ESTATE

AT&T unveils next-generation store design

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — AT&T unveiled its newest store design, at a new location in LaGrange, Ill. The store is built around the customer experience, with a goal of providing a glimpse of what the future of retail will look like. The new design will be rolled out at new and redesigned store locations across the country, and continuing into 2014. (For a video tour of the store, click here.)

The new store concept is the culmination of more than two years of exploration of how to better meet the needs of customers and embodies the spirit of the brand’s "Rethink Possible" tagline with immersive product experiences and engaging merchandising displays. AT&T tested store concepts by building physical store shells in a warehouse in Milwaukee.

“From the open floor plan to learning and community tables where customers can play and explore, every element of our new store concept was made with our customers in mind — and the experience we wanted them to have once inside,” Paul Roth, AT&T president of retail sales and services, wrote in a blog post. “As I’ve said before, our goal is to provide an extraordinary customer experience at every touch point. Our new store design is helping us do just that.

Key store design elements include:

  • Flexible design and open layout encourage customer exploration and discovery. This is achieved through flexible wall systems and a new adaptable kit of parts.
  • Digital screens are integrated throughout the environment for interaction, education and brand content delivery.
  • New finish palette blends the warmth of wood, with glossy white high tech finishes, both balanced by the bold pop of AT&T’s signature orange.
  • Familiar forms and residential styling of the fixture and furnishings create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.
  • New exterior design invites customers in with a unique porch feature and large open windows that maximize daylight and views in and out of the store.
  • The store was designed with sustainability in mind with LED lighting and selective material use (such as reclaimed teak wood).
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News

Sales increases at HSNi’s operating segments bolster Q2 results

BY CSA STAFF

Net sale increases at HSNi’s HSN and Cornerstone operating segments had a favorable impact on the company’s total net sales, which increased 6% to $812.6 million for the second quarter ended June 30 from $767.2 for the same quarter last year.

HSN’s 5% net sales increase to $526.2 million for the quarter, from $502 million for the same quarter last year, was due in part to lower return rates. The average price point decreased 4% while units shipped increased 7% primarily due to an increase in clearance activity.

Sales grew in home design, household, electronics and apparel and accessories, but were offset by lower sales in jewelry and culinary.

Cornerstone’s net sales increased 8% to $286.4 million, including 10% growth in digital sales, from $265.3 million for the same quarter last year. The increase in net sales was driven by sales growth in the home brands.

"Our strong financial performance during the second quarter is a result of the uniqueness of our customer experiences, the power of our digital platforms and the quality of our brands and products," said Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, Inc. "Sales for the quarter were up 6%, digital sales increased 10% and EPS grew 30%. In addition, we continued returning value to shareholders through our share repurchase and cash dividend programs."

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