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Airwalk, designer jeffstaple launch line for Payless

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. and DENVER, Colo. and TOPEKA, Kan. Airwalk and designer jeffstaple have launched STPLxAirwalk, a new line of sneakers that fuses skate and street design, exclusively for Payless. The new STPLxAirwalk limited-edition fall collection is available now at select Payless ShoeSource stores and Payless.com for $30 to $50 a pair.

The initial STPLxAirwalk fall collection includes five shoe styles for men and three styles for women. The five men’s styles are offered in sizes 6 to 11, 12 and 13 and feature such details as black leather uppers, tonal stitching, buffalo plaid materials, and custom-illustrated canvas. The women’s styles come in sizes 6 to 10 and are designed with quilted detailing, contrast colorations, and buffalo plaid materials.

“The STPLxAirwalk brand is really fresh in how it represents the progression of skate style,” said Bruce Pettet, president and CEO of Collective Licensing International, which owns the Airwalk brand.

The Airwalk and jeffstaple collaboration is a multi-year agreement for jeffstaple to create seasonal collections for fall and spring exclusively available at Payless under STPLxAirwalk.

“The back-to-school timing is perfect for the launch of our STPLxAirwalk brand in our Payless stores, and we know that consumers have been eagerly awaiting the fresh new styles from this new, unique brand,” said LuAnn Via, president and CEO of Payless ShoeSource.

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A long, hot summer for Target

BY CSA STAFF

July proved to be another challenging month for Target with same-store sales down 6.5%, as once again the company experienced fewer transactions that were smaller on average than the same month the prior year. August promises to be just as tough, due to ongoing difficult economic conditions combined with a Labor Day holiday which falls a week later this year and will push some seasonal sales into September.

Although the July comps were in line with the company’s guidance, a 6.5% decline is still disappointing, especially since it comes on top of a 1.2% decline last year. But that’s been the trend at Target this year, as the company continues to struggle with the perception that its stores are not price competitive, even as consumers reign in spending on discretionary product categories. The company has numerous merchandising and marketing initiatives in place to better demonstrate and communicate value, but, until those efforts take hold, at least gross margins are improving and expenses are under control. Even the company’s credit card business is looking better as risk trends are said to be improving indicating more people are paying their bills on time and are less likely to default.

As has been the case in past months, Target produced its best results in such categories as health, beauty and food, while such discretionary areas as home and apparel were the worst performers. Same-store sales in apparel declined in the high single-digit range, while home sales declined in the low double digits.

The opening of 23 new stores midway through July boosted Target’s U.S. stores count to 1,719 units.

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An unbeatable battle brewing

BY CSA STAFF

The latest salvo in the ongoing battle for low-price perception has Target this week promising “performance at unbeatable prices” on its C9 by Champion sportswear lane. What makes that simple phrase noteworthy is Target’s use of the word “unbeatable.” Walmart has attempted to make the “unbeatable” proposition its own through a national print and electronic advertising campaign and extensive in-store efforts with hundreds of oranges and white signs with the word unbeatable. The company also offers a price-match guarantee, as long as customers can produce a local competitors’ printed ad showing an identical item. Given Walmart’s high-profile emphasis on unbeatable, Target’s use of the word in its most recent circular appears both conspicuous and intentional and signifies an escalating effort on Target’s part to get more credit for prices it has long contended are as good or better than Walmart’s. An even more aggressive effort involves the new “low price promise,” which began appearing on new and remodeled stores this summer.

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