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Adobe Target simplifies testing & targeting

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Jose, Calif. — Adobe Systems Inc. is upgrading Adobe Target, an element of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, with aims of easing the optimization of digital marketing efforts. The new solution features a completely redesigned, touch-based interface, as well as a step-by-step framework, with built-in best practices, for creating and implementing A/B testing and targeting activity.

In addition, a Visual Experience Composer enables marketers to create unlimited variations of content directly on a web page, a Custom Audience Library provides a central repository for creating and re-using audience segments for targeting, and enhanced core testing and targeting capabilities for mobile apps. Other new features include real-time interactive reporting and integration across the Adobe Marketing Cloud. The new Adobe Target is expected to be available by the end of September 2013.

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Decreased traffic to Coldwater Creek affects second quarter results

BY CSA STAFF

SANDPOINT — Traffic to specialty retailer Coldwater Creek dropped in July leading to lower-than-expected sales for the second quarter ended Aug. 3. The company is taking several steps, including bringing in a new chief marketing officer, in an attempt to turn things around.

Consolidated net sales for the quarter were $149.7 million, compared with $163.7 million in second quarter 2012. Net sales from the retail segment were $118.6 million, compared with $129.9 million in the same period last year.

Comparable premium retail sales declined 7.3% for the quarter. Net sales from the direct segment were $31.1 million, compared with $33.8 million in the same period last year.

Consolidated gross profit was $44 million, or 29.4% of net sales, compared with $48.5 million, or 29.6% of net sales, for second quarter 2012. The 20 basis point decline in gross profit margin was a result of improved occupancy leverage, offset by lower merchandise margins reflecting increased promotional activity.

"Sales were lower than planned in the second quarter, largely due to a deceleration in traffic during the month of July. Despite a challenging environment, we delivered bottom-line results that were in line with our guidance," said Jill Dean, president and CEO. "Our return to more consistent comparable store sales has been slower than expected; however, we know that customer engagement and driving traffic are critical to our long-term success and two recent announcements represent progress against these objectives. First, we have further strengthened our management team with the addition of Deb Cavanagh as chief marketing officer. In addition, our partnership with Alliance Data Systems provides us with an enhanced platform to drive sales and customer loyalty. We believe that these steps, combined with the extensive work we are continuing to do to align our merchandise assortment with our brand strategy, as well as our disciplined management of expenses and inventory, remain the right focus for our business."

The company closed three premium retail stores and one factory store during the quarter, ending the fiscal quarter with 344 premium retail stores, 36 factory stores and 8 spas. As part of the company’s ongoing store optimization plan, the company’s plan to close up to six additional retail stores in fiscal 2013 for a total of 45 stores since fiscal 2011.

Coldwater Creek is a leading specialty retailer of women’s apparel, jewelry and accessories. The company was founded in 1984 in Sandpoint, Idaho, and sells its merchandise through premium retail stores across the country, online and through its mobile applications.

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Tesco’s to sell Fresh & Easy

BY CSA STAFF

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Private investment firm Yucaipa Cos., which was founded by billionaire Ron Burkle, plans to acquire Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market from U.K.-based Tesco PLC.

Yucaipa’s purchase is slated to be complete within three months. In the meantime, it is expected to be business as usual for most Fresh & Easy stores.

Tesco stated that Yucaipa will acquire more than 150 stores as well as Fresh & Easy’s Riverside distribution and production facilities. More than 4,000 employees will transfer to the new business. As part of the deal, Tesco will loan the new business 80 million pounds, secured against the Riverside Campus facility.

Those stores not included in the transaction will be closed over the coming weeks. The total cash outflow relating to the closure of these stores, other expenses and the loan is expected to be no more than 150 million pounds.

“The decision we are announcing today represents the best outcome for Tesco shareholders and Fresh & Easy’s stakeholders. It offers us an orderly and efficient exit from the U.S. market, while protecting the jobs of more than 4,000 colleagues at Fresh & Easy,” stated Philip Clarke, CEO of Tesco.

“Fresh & Easy is a tremendous foundation. Tesco should be applauded for giving their customers an affordable, healthy, convenient shopping experience,” added Burkle. “Its dedicated employees and great base of customers give us a solid starting point to complete Tesco’s vision with some changes that we think will make it even more relevant to today’s consumer. We plan on continuing to build Fresh & Easy into a ‘next-generation convenience retail experience,’ providing busy consumers with more local and healthy access for their daily needs."

Fresh & Easy opened its first stores in November 2007 and has 200 neighborhood markets in California, Nevada and Arizona. The company employs more than 5,000 people, including 1,300 at its distribution and manufacturing facilities in Riverside.

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