FINANCE

Authentic Brands and ImagineX Group ink deal to expand Juicy Couture in Asia

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — ImagineX Group, Asia’s leading retail, brand management and distribution company, and Authentic Brands Group, LLC, the new owner of Juicy Couture, today announced a long-term franchise partnership to drive Juicy’s market expansion and category development in China. The partnership will provide the momentum to add more Juicy Couture stores throughout Asia; expand the brand’s reach with new product lines; and support further regional growth initiatives.

ImagineX, a company within The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, first acquired the management and distribution rights of Juicy Couture for Greater China and South East Asia in 2006 and now operates more than 80 points of sales in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

The next phase of growth will focus on brand extensions to create a complete lifestyle brand, and an integrated distribution network beyond shopping malls. Building on the success of Juicy Couture’s Black Label Collection in Asia, a new footwear collection produced by Steve Madden will launch in 2015. Intimates and Juicy Couture Girls Collections will also be added, with freestanding stores planned in the upcoming years. More than 40 points-of-sale will be opened in key locations, while a major push in e-commerce, with both omnichannel and wholesale online accounts, will significantly extend the brand’s reach across the region.

“We look forward to working with ImagineX to further accelerate Juicy Couture’s growth in Asia, consistent with our long-term goals for the brand in global markets,” said Jamie Salter, CEO and chairman of Authentic Brands Group. “ Our growth plans for Asia are consistent with the evolution of the brand globally, including the unveiling of new concept stores in the U.S. in 2015; new offerings in footwear, intimates and kidswear; and exciting developments in fragrance, watches, eyewear and swimwear.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Consumers love gift cards

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – Americans love giving and receiving gift cards. According to a survey of more than 1,100 U.S. consumers from the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA), 77% of consumers have given a gift card in the past year and 90% have received at least one in the past year.

In addition, most consumers don’t require a sale or promotion to purchase a gift card and the number one reason shoppers like to give or receive gift cards is that they allow the end users to purchase what they want. Sixty-five percent of consumers prefer the convenience of gift cards when giving a gift from a group and74% of shoppers will wait for a sale or promotion before redeeming their cards. Other key findings include:

• Mobile and e-code gifts are still emerging: 54% of consumers have not heard of mobile gift cards or e-codes and only 17% of shoppers are “very comfortable” using them. However, 62% of the respondents who choose mobile/e-code gift cards do so when they need to get it there right away.

• Significant benefit to retailers: Gift cards get shoppers in the door to purchase more; 72% do some shopping for themselves when going to a store or website to purchase a gift card. Also, gift cards increase sales during redemption; 45% of shoppers will spend more than the value of the gift card when they redeem.

“Convenience and choice make gift cards extremely popular among consumers,” said Mary Donovan, executive director of the RGCA. “Although mobile gift cards and e-codes are not widely used by consumers, we anticipate that the adoption of these technologies will continue to rise into the future. From a business perspective, we are pleased to see the degree to which gift card sales deliver benefits to retailers: consumers report spending more when both purchasing and redeeming gift cards.”

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OPERATIONS

Report: Secret Service arrests Russian hacker

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Secret Service has reportedly arrested a Russian national for hacking into consumer credit card data between February 2009 and October 2011. According to Fox Business News, Roman Valerevich Seleznev, 45, was arrested July 5 for hacking into the networks of unspecified U.S. companies.

Seleznev is known as “Track2” on underground hacking sites and was indicted in 2011 on charges of hacking into POS systems of U.S. retailers. He is currently charged with five counts of bank fraud, eight counts of intentionally causing damage to a protected computer, eight counts of obtaining information from a protected computer, one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, two counts of trafficking unauthorized access devices, and five counts of aggravated identity theft.

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