sephora_virtual_artist
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Beauty retailer expands augmented reality experience

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A new app enhancement is helping Sephora shoppers complete their look.

By adding new augmented reality-based features to the Sephora Virtual Artist app, the chain enables shoppers to virtually try on thousands of shades of single and palette eyeshadows directly through their mobile device. This service augments the app’s existing functionality that allows users to try on an assortment of lip colors and false eye lash styles.

The Sephora Virtual Artist now also offers “Expert Looks,” enabling users to preview inspirational looks, and three new “Virtual Tutorials” to hone their brows, contouring and highlighting techniques.

“With these additions, Sephora Virtual Artist continues to put the power and expertise of Sephora quite literally in the palm of our clients’ hands,” said Bridget Dolan, VP of innovation at Sephora.

“Since launching Sephora Virtual Artist in 2016, our clients have virtually tried on hundreds of millions of shade combinations,” she added. “It gives her the freedom to choose when, where and how she wants to shop as she creates customized looks and discovers the products that are just right for her.”

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Circle_K
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Couche-Tard’s Circle K remodels, earnings increase

BY Al Urbanski

Canada-based convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard posted net earnings of $287 million in the third quarter of its fiscal year, up 4.7% from the previous-year period.

Same-store merchandise sales fell by a point in Europe, but were up 1.9% in the U.S. Same-store gasoline sales volumes rose 2.8% stateside.

Couche-Tard’s global rebranding of its Circle K stores proceeded at a quick pace during the quarter, with more than 1,000 U.S. stores completed.

The company took a $3 million hit from Hurricane Matthew in October, due to lost sales, floods, and power outages at more than 500 stores.

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BonTOn
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Bon-Ton misses Q4 estimates

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Weak traffic and unseasonably warm weather impacted Bon-Ton’s earnings for the fourth quarter.

For the period ending January 28, 2017, the department store chain reported net income of $44.7 million, or $2.09 per diluted share, short of analyst estimates by 37 cents.

Revenue fell 5.5% to $877.3 million for the period, and comparable store sales decreased 4.7%.

For the full year, Bon Ton's net loss widened to $63.4 million from $57.1 million a year ago. Total revenue for the year decreased 4.3% to $2.6 billion.

"While the continued weak traffic trends and unseasonably warm weather pressured sales in the fourth quarter, we expanded gross margin by 145 basis points and grew adjusted EBITDA by 8%” said Kathryn Bufano, president and CEO. “In addition, we exceeded our cost reduction goal by $7 million, with net savings of $31 million for the year.”

The company also made progress on a number of initiatives, including the introduction of its ‘Close to Home’ product assortment, and a continued to focus on its omnichannel strategy, with double-digit sales growth through its website, mobile site and its Buy Online Pick Up In-Store program.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2017, the company remains focused on its omnichannel business, refining marketing strategies, and further evolving its merchandise assortment, “with even greater emphasis on growth categories and localization,” Bufano said.

Bon-Ton Stores operates 263 department stores in 25 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers banners.

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