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Allen Edmonds’ ‘Gone in Seconds’ online promotion

BY Marianne Wilson

Port Washington, Wis. — Allen Edmonds, the 93-year-old premium men’s shoe brand, is embracing the digital age.

The company is offering its first-ever “Factory Seconds” flash sale on its web site. The seven-day-long sale starts June 26 and ends on July 2.

“Our quality standards are incredibly high; and because over 100 craftspeople touch every shoe as it’s being cut, sewn, lasted, soled, burnished and finished — we have a small percentage of shoes that don’t meet our exacting standards but come very close,” said Jim Kass, head of manufacturing. “At Allen Edmonds, we refer to these blemishes as ‘Factory Seconds’, or F2s.”

The flash sale will include a range of styles, although sizes, colors and inventory amounts are limited. Prices will be offered at a discount of almost 50% off first quality pricing and substantially below standard outlet pricing.

“The pricing makes these shoes affordable to everyone including men starting their careers or in need of their first pair of interview shoes,” said Colin Hall, chief marketing officer. “At these prices, we fully expect the shoes to sell-through quickly, which is why we branded it the “Gone in Seconds Sale.”

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Nielsen navigating new package design territory

BY CSA STAFF

Nielsen knows what makes brand marketing effective and now the company is applying its consumer communications expertise to the world of packaging.

Nielsen Design Navigator is the name of a new creative enablement tool the company contends helps marketers improve the in-market effectiveness of package design.

Nielsen is known as a leader in marketing effectiveness, innovation forecasting and in-market success but the introduction of the Design Navigator is new territory. Why the company has made the move is understandable.

According to industry data cited by Nielsen, as much as 90% of new package designs fail to deliver a measurable sales increase – and 50% of in-market designs actually hurt brand equity.

“Design is one of the most underleveraged marketing tools because of the uncertainty built into the process and absence of metrics to track results,” said Andrew Somosi, executive vice president of product leadership at Nielsen. “Solutions such as Nielsen Design Navigator have the power to change the design packaging game by empowering CMOs to view their package design work like they do advertising or social media – as a marketing investment with a clear and measurable financial return.”

Nielsen’s Design Navigator draws on patented technologies developed by recently acquired Affinnova to solve the central issues of the current design process. It does that by enabling brands and designers to explore a much broader range of early stage design concepts and objectively asses them based on visual stand out, consumer preference and brand equity.

These consumer-driven analytics provide unprecedented clarity for marketers, helping them identify design routes that will have the largest brand and financial impact, according to Nielsen. The bottom line for brand marketers and designers is they can more reliably and consistently launch more effective package designs for new products or re-launched brands.

The launch of Nielsen Design Navigator was announced at Nielsen’s annual Consumer 360 Conference which was recently held in Washington D.C.

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Dollar hurts H&M profits, but not its expansion plans

BY CSA STAFF

One of the world's biggest fashion retailers says the strong U.S. dollar hurt profits in the second quarter, but the company is moving ahead with plans to increase investments and even launch a new brand in 2017.

H&M said its gross margin shrank more than expected in the March-May quarter to 59.4% from 60.8% a year ago, which missed analysts' forecasts. The company,which buys most of its clothes in Asia with dollars, blamed the strong dollar and said costs could continue to increase depending on exchange rates.

Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M, said: “Looking specifically at the second quarter, i.e. March to May, sales development was again strong – particularly if we consider the more challenging conditions we faced such as strong comparables from last year, unusually cold spring weather in many of our important European markets and negative calendar effects. Profits have also developed well in the first half-year, with an increase of 19 percent – this despite the fact that the increasingly strong US dollar has resulted in increased purchasing costs and that we have continued to increase our long-term investments compared to last year."

Persson also told Bloomberg that the retailer is developing a new brand "completely different" from anything they've produced before.

H&M said it plans a net addition of around 400 new stores in 2015-16. H&M will expand its retail stores into five new markets in 2015, Taiwan, Peru, Macau, South Africa and India. Starting this July, H&M Beauty will gradually be launched in 900 H&M stores in 40 markets as well as online.

"Our goal is to offer a customer experience in which online and stores are closely interwoven, which will strengthen our customer offering further. In March and April we also opened eight new H&M online markets – Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Belgium – which were all very well received. With the opening of H&M shop online in Switzerland in the autumn, H&M will have 22 online markets. In parallel with our online expansion, we are continuing to open stores at a fast pace."

The H&M group has more than 3,600 stores in 59 markets including franchise markets.

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