OPERATIONS

Barneys tops list of favorite luxury retailers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Stevens, Pa. — A survey released Tuesday by Unity Marketing revealed the list of retailers frequented by the most wealthy American shoppers – those earning $250,000 and up.

Barneys New York, Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman ranked as the top luxury department stores among the ultra-affluent in the Luxury Report 2011. However, the survey also uncovered signs that the wealthiest consumers are slowing their pace of shopping in these stores.

Barneys New York, which currently attracts some 22% of ultra-affluent consumers, has weathered two quarters in the past year when patronage dipped as low as 16%. And while Nordstrom ranks as the second most popular destination, its share of purchase among ultra-affluents dropped by more than 5 percentage points from fourth quarter 2010 to first quarter 2011.

In fact, among the seven leading luxury department stores included in Unity Marketing’s luxury tracking survey, only one — Saks Fifth Avenue — captured a larger share of ultra-affluent shoppers this quarter as compared with last.

The survey showed that luxe department store patronage among ultra-affluents is down after peaking in third quarter 2010. Even more striking is the decline in the percentage of ultra-affluents shopping in these luxe department stores overall. While the percentage of ultra-affluents shopping in luxury department stores peaked at nearly three out of four in third quarter 2010, it has declined precipitously since, leveling off at about 70%.

"While the popularity of each store waxes and wanes quarter-to-quarter, the overall trend is that ultra-affluents are slowing their pace of shopping in the luxury department store sector,” said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury. “If the downward trend among ultra-affluents continues, each of these stores may have to rethink their approach if they are to remain a compelling and attractive destination for the wealthy."

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STORE SPACES

Ahold USA selects EnerNOC’s EfficiencySmart to track and reduce energy use

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Boston — EnerNOC said Tuesday that Ahold USA will deploy EnerNoc’s EfficiencySmart Insight in the majority of its Stop & Shop, Giant Food of Maryland, and Giant/Martin’s grocery stores.

The web-based enterprise energy-efficiency solution will use data from 630 supermarket locations throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic region to target and prioritize energy savings and offer Ahold USA enterprise-wide and store-level visibility into overall energy usage and spending. It will also help reduce energy spikes and related demand charges, optimize energy efficiency investments and strategy, and enhance measurement and verification of ongoing and future energy-efficiency projects.

“Ahold USA has worked with EnerNOC since 2005, and during that time we have gained a much clearer view of our energy usage on a site-by-site basis,” said Paul Grenier, manager of energy, Ahold USA. “EfficiencySmart Insight allows us to take those lessons to the next level by helping us compare usage across stores, identify leaders, and share best practices across all our locations.”

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OPERATIONS

J. Crew, Alliance extend private-label credit-card program

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems Corp. said Tuesday it has signed a long-term extension agreement with J. Crew Group to continue providing the retailer with reward program and private-label credit-card services, accepted at J. Crew stores and through J. Crew’s web and catalog channels.

“We are privileged to have the opportunity to help drive J. Crew’s sustained profitability and build on the successful cross-channel marketing, credit and loyalty programs we’ve partnered with J. Crew to establish,” said Ivan Szeftel, president of retail services for Alliance Data.

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