OPERATIONS

Apple granted trademark for its store design

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Apple Inc. has been granted a trademark from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its store design. The trademark covers the furniture and fixtures, floors, lighting and shelves found in Apple stores, along with the “Genius Bar.”

In addition, the trademark covers Apple’s all-glass storefront design.

According to various reports, Apple first applied for the trademark in 2010, but its application was rejected by the patent office. A second application by the company also was rejected. According to the Apple retail news site Ifoapplestore, the earlier rejections came because the company failed to prove the design was "inherently distinctive.”

The third time proved the charm for Apple. According to reports, Apple submitted some 681 pages of materials with its third application.

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REAL ESTATE

Abercrombie looks to convert former Beatles’ headquarters to store

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Abercrombie & Fitch wants to turn the building that once housed the Beatles’ Apple Records into one of its namesake children’s stores, Bloomberg News reported.

The building is where the famed singing group performed together for the last time, in 1969. The performance, which occurred on the roof, was filmed for the movie “Let It Be.” The Westminster borough council is due to vote on the proposal next week.

The site is at 3 Savile Row, close to London’s world-famous tailors’ shops. Abercrombie’s proposal was recommended by planning authorities despite the objections of local retailers, who want to preserve the area’s character and reputation as a center for upscale men’s tailoring.

“The council received objections stating the store would have ‘an unacceptable impact on the character and function of Savile Row, inappropriate congregation of crowds on the street outside, increased footfall will lead to safety issues on the highway, and potential noise and disturbance to surrounding properties,” according to Bloomberg.

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OPERATIONS

Most Canadian retailers ready for penny phase-out

BY Alaric Dearment

Toronto — Most retailers in Canada are ready for a phase-out of one-cent coins, a national retailing trade group said Wednesday.

The Retail Council of Canada said the majority of the country’s retail businesses were prepared for the disappearance of the penny and will follow the government’s proposals for determining prices.

The Canadian Mint stopped producing pennies last spring and will begin phasing them out of circulation starting on Feb. 4. At that point, retailers are encouraged to round prices up and down to the nearest five cents when exact change is not available. For example, an item that costs $1.01 or $1.02 will be rounded down to $1, while an item costing $1.06 or $1.07 will be rounded to $1.05; an item costing $1.03 to $1.04 will be rounded to $1.05, while an item costing $1.08 or $1.09 will be rounded to $1.10. Rounding will not be needed when payment is made by check or electronically.

"On Feb. 4, most of Canada’s retailers will be ready at the cash register to handle the phase out of the penny," RCC president and CEO Diane Brisebois said. "While we have been supportive of this initiative all along, we are grateful that the government delayed implementing the changes until this point, as retailers have needed the extra time to prepare."

According to an RCC survey, 55% of retailers are prepared for the phase-out, while 74% of small retailers and 75% of large retailers will round manually at the cash register. At the same time, 63% of large businesses will change their point-of-sale systems, which could cost them more than $100,000.

"While smaller businesses will do the rounding manually and then determine the appropriate course of action, both in relation to cost and customer service, it is not a practical approach for retailers 0with thousands of employees," Brisebois said. "This of course represents a substantial cost for retailers to enable them to maintain standardization and meet consumers’ needs and expectations."

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