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American Eagle Outfitters teams up with Shopkick

BY Marianne Wilson

Pittsburgh — American Eagle Outfitters and Shopkick, the largest location-based shopping app that rewards shoppers simply for walking into stores, announced the national rollout of Shopkick to all American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie stores across the country. Customers will earn "kicks" (points) just for walking in, as well as receive a number of other exciting, exclusive offers throughout the stores.

"Shopkick is an ideal partner for AEO as we strive to be an early adopter of technologies that matter to our customers," said Fred Grover, EVP of American Eagle Outfitters. "We are excited to expand our long-time partnership with Shopkick to delight customers in all of our stores nationwide."

Additionally, American Eagle Outfitters is the only retailer that integrates Shopkick "kicks" with its own loyalty program, enabling customers to turn their "kicks" into AEREWARDS points. American Eagle Outfitters was one of Shopkick’s first partners when the app launched in August 2010. Over the past two years, the retailer has been testing the technology in 200-plus stores. In addition to being a highly effective way to engage customers with the brand, the chain found increased traffic, sales and higher purchase amounts among Shopkick users.

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Net sales rise for Ahold USA in Q1

BY CSA STAFF

AMSTERDAM — Royal Ahold’s U.S. subsidiary saw net sales jump 2.8% to $7.8 billion during first quarter 2012, the company said Wednesday.

Ahold USA, which consists of such brands as Stop & Shop, Giant Carlisle, Giant Landover, Martin’s and Peapod, experienced a 1.4% increase in identical sales (0.1% excluding gasoline), as comparable-store sales were 1.8% for the quarter. Underlying operating margin dropped to 4.1% from 4.6% in the year-ago period. The company attributed last year’s solid sales growth to the "favorable timing of Easter (where the relatively low-sales post-Easter week shifted into the second quarter) and good operational execution during adverse weather events."

Commenting on the results, CEO Dick Boer said the company’s recent acquisition of 16 Genuardi’s stores in the Philadelphia market, as well as the U.S. online grocery shopping business, will help the U.S. subsidiary remain competitive in the market, but noted challenges that lie ahead.

"We continued to invest in competitiveness both in the United States and in Europe with higher levels of promotional activity, resulting in market share gains in the United States and maintaining our market share in the Netherlands," Boer said. "As we said before, we expect 2012 to be another challenging year for the food retail industry, with intense competitive activity and consumer spending under pressure due to economic uncertainty, particularly in Europe. We remain confident that our strong brands are well positioned and are well on track to deliver on our strategy."

Overall, Royal Ahold saw sales rise 9.7% to nearly $12.1 billion, while net profit slid from $363.4 million in first quarter 2011 to $352 million.

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Macy’s first minority business training program leads to successful vendor partnerships

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Five minority- and women-owned businesses have successfully completed the inaugural Workshop development program to become official vendors of Macy’s. The five enterprises include Bella Tunno, Big Girl Cosmetics, Cenia, Kane & Couture and Lamik Beauty, and all have begun selling products at select Macy’s locations and/or on Macys.com.

“The incredible success of our first Workshop is evidenced by this amazing group of enterprises that have now graduated to vendor status within Macy’s community of suppliers. Our goal with the Workshop has been to create a viable pipeline of businesses that will ultimately bring unique products to our stores and online storefront,” said Shawn Outler, Macy’s group VP multicultural development, fashion forecasting/operations and leased businesses. “We are extremely pleased to see this goal come to fruition so soon in the life of this long-term initiative. It speaks volumes about the impact of the coursework and the insight that was shared with these participants. They took the information they learned to heart, put it into practice and are now seeing their efforts come full circle with their first order of goods from Macy’s.”

The Workshop at Macy’s is a four and one-half day intensive training course developed by a consortium of experts from Macy’s learning and development; Macy’s multicultural merchandising and vendor development; Babson College, the nation’s leading business school for entrepreneurship; and with select Macy’s merchants and vendors. The specially-designed business development curriculum is aimed at minority- and women-owned retail businesses that are poised to succeed on a larger scale, but need real-world business practice information and perspective on large-scale vendor relationships to move to the next level and sustain growth. The goal of this annual program is to help create a pipeline of viable enterprises that will grow to become successful partners within Macy’s own vendor community. First held in the spring of 2011, the inaugural Workshop included 22 businesses that ranged from makeup/skincare companies to confectionaries, home textiles and ready-to-wear designers. The Workshop at Macy’s just recently wrapped its second program which featured 17 new businesses. The Workshop team will continue to follow current and past participants as they progress through the opportunities outlined during the program for potential graduation to Macy’s vendor status.

The new Workshop vendors include baby accessories from Bella Tunno, unique color cosmetics from Big Girl Cosmetics and Lamik Beauty, body- and fit- conscious dresses from Cenia, and fun doggy accessories from Kane & Couture.

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