OPERATIONS

Barnes & Noble agrees to reinforce breast-feeding policies

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – In a settlement with the state of New York over a complaint by a New Jersey resident who was asked to cover her breast while nursing in a Nanuet, New York, store, Barnes & Noble has agreed to educate employees about its policies regarding public breast-feeding. As part of the agreement, Barnes & Noble also agreed to strengthen procedures for resolving customer complaints and to make a $10,000 donation to the Rockland County Breastfeeding Promotion and Support Program.

Barnes & Noble has always had policies in place allowing breast-feeding in its stores. The customer who was asked to cover her breast also received a $50 gift card.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

World Cup boosts soccer-related U.S. e-commerce

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Jose, Calif. – For the month of June, soccer-related searches across the U.S. sites of eight international sporting goods and apparel retailers increased by 280%, compared to May. According to analysis from SLI Systems, there were more than 2.2 million U.S. soccer-related product searches from these eight e-commerce sites alone, with a corresponding boost in online shopping behavior during June for products including soccer cleats, balls, shin guards, gloves and other equipment.

June 16 was the peak day for soccer-related shopping in the U.S., the day U.S. played Ghana. In the U.S., the international teams with most consumer interest are Brazil, followed by Germany, Argentina, and the Netherlands.

The most popular search terms, in order, for the U.S., were:

• Soccer
• USA soccer
• FIFA
• Nike soccer

“Soccer is played year-round in the U.S., but recreational soccer gear tends to be purchased before fall and spring seasons,” said Tim Callan, CMO, SLI Systems. “We found (data) demonstrating the country’s increased interest in actually playing the sport. It is clear that The World Cup U.S. fanfare will continue long after Sunday’s final game.”

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OPERATIONS

Rent-A-Center names Lowe’s exec marketing VP

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – Rent-A-Center, Inc. has named Aubyn Thomas as VP marketing. With more than 15 years of leadership experience in brand strategy and customer-relationship management, Thomas recently served as VP consumer marketing at Lowe’s Home Improvement, where she was responsible for delivery of all consumer and professional marketing programs.

Earlier in her career, Thomas held leadership positions with organizations such as Macy’s, Caesars Entertainment, Bank of America and Lenscrafters Retail Group.

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