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American & Interstate Signcrafters taps industry veteran

BY Marianne Wilson

American & Interstate Signcrafters, a full service sign manufacturing and project management company, has hired industry veteran Mike Morelli. He manages national, and international, sign programs and oversees business development in the southeastern United States

Morelli brings to the growing American & Interstate Signcrafters team years of experience leading retail, fashion, hospitality, and QSR sign and branding programs.

“Mike’s reputation for brand-centric, design conscious customer service and execution is well-known within the sign industry,” said Lisa Johnson, VP, American & Interstate Signcrafters. “His energy and enthusiasm are contagious, and we’re so excited.”

Morelli’s experience includes execution of a multi-phase Neiman Marcus Last Call rebrand campaign and providing signage for nutrition retailer GNC. He is also responsible for the roll-outs of fast growing brands LePain Quotidien, which has more than 217 locations, and Corepower Yoga, dubbed the “Starbucks of Yoga.”

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Toys ‘R’ Us sells FAO Schwarz

BY Marianne Wilson

Expect more FAO Schwarz-branded toys, in-store “experiences” and even possible freestanding stores in the very near future.

In an unexpected announcement, ThreeSixty Group said it has acquired FAO Schwarz from Toys “R” Us. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Toys “R” Us purchased FAO Schwarz in 2009.

ThreeSixty designs, manufactures and distributes toys and other consumer products under a portfolio of owned and licensed brands — including, Sharper Image, Black Series, Discovery Kids, Smithsonian, and Animal Planet — for over 70,000 retail stores across the country.

Founded in 1862, FAO Schwarz was the oldest toy store in the United States and one of the oldest retail establishments of any kind when its sole remaining store, its flagship on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, closed in 2015. The name, however, has lived on, with FAO Schwarz-branded products sold on Toys “R” Us website and in its stores.

A new FAO Schwarz toy collection, designed by ThreeSixty, will draw upon the one-of-a-kind products and legendary in-store experience that marked the Manhattan flagship. The toy collection and a unique “in-store experience” will be available at select retailers in the fall of 2017, ThreeSixty said. Until then, FAO Schwarz merchandise will continue to be sold by Toys “R” Us.

“We are humbled to have an opportunity to build upon the iconic heritage of FAO Schwarz,” said Kirk McLean, co-founder of ThreeSixty Group. “For over one hundred and fifty years, FAO has provided a magical experience for children and we hope to keep this tradition alive by crafting fine toys and transformative retail experiences for generations to come. We are investing heavily in this brand and believe there is a tremendous opportunity to build upon the heritage experience and nostalgia of FAO Schwarz.”

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Couple accused of defrauding Staples

BY CSA STAFF

A couple from Georgia were charged with a complex scheme to defraud Staples of more than $1.4 million worth of product rebates and customer loyalty rewards.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts said John Douglas and an associate created more than 1,100 Staple rewards accounts using fake names, addresses and contact information, Masslive.com reported. His wife is accused of selling much of the fraudulently obtained Staples merchandise on eBay.

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