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Bergdorf Goodman goes worldwide with Web sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman has partnered with Borderfree, a provider of international cross-border e-commerce solutions, to open its website and sell to international shoppers with BFX, Borderfree’s new global e-commerce platform for retailers.

Through the BFX platform, Bergdorf Goodman’s luxury goods are now available to international shoppers in more than 100 countries and territories, in more than 60 currencies. Borderfree worked with Bergdorf Goodman to create a fully optimized international site experience based on best practices and marketing insights while keeping the company’s brand at the forefront. In addition, Bergdorf Goodman plans to roll out international ordering capabilities to its in-store sales associates to give them more tools to enhance their relationships with international clients.

“We recognize the enormous global e-commerce opportunity, particularly for luxury goods, and with BFX, we can immediately provide shoppers worldwide with a localized version of the Bergdorf Goodman website and offer international shipping,” said Bergdorf Goodman spokesperson Agatha Wirth, VP of operations & strategic initiatives. “Bergdorf Goodman is a historic, world-renowned brand with a significant international fan base, and we’re excited to bring BG straight to our customers, no matter where they are located.”

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Running Buddy makes new social friends

BY Dan Berthiaume

Charleston, S.C. – The Running Buddy, a vertical retailer of specialty lifestyle products, have introduced a Brand Ambassador program. Running Buddy Brand Ambassadors are invited and encouraged to share their thoughts and collaborate with other ambassadors in a variety of ways including: social media outreach and engagement, sharing audio or video clips, outreach to potential Running Buddy retailers, writing informative blog posts or articles, sharing photos from marathons and other activities, and more.

Upon being invited to become a Running Buddy Brand Ambassador, these individuals are provided with program details as well as an ambassador badge that they can use on their social media accounts, blogs, or websites.

“One of the best parts about what we do is having the opportunity to hear our fans’ stories,” said The Running Buddy co-owner Julie Bradfield. “So it seemed natural that the next step was to give those fans a platform to share their stories with others, thus creating a positive community around our products.”

Several Running Buddy Brand Ambassadors are currently featured on TheRunningBuddy.com, with additional ambassadors to be added as the program continues to grow.

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Office Depot shrinks Q4 loss

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boca Raton, Fla. – Office Depot Inc. is seeing some fiscal benefits from its November 2013 merger with OfficeMax. The retailer shrank its net loss in fourth quarter 2014 to $84 million, from $120 million in the same quarter the prior year.

Net sales climbed 10% to $3.83 billion, from $3.49 billion.

For the full year, Office Depot’s net loss grew to $354 million from $93 million. Net sales fared better, rising 43% to $16.1 billion from $11.24 billion. Office Depot also reported an annualized run rate of more than $500 million in merger integration synergies for the year.

“We were pleased to deliver strong fourth quarter results, and full year 2014 adjusted operating income that was almost three-fold higher than the prior year pro forma,” said Roland Smith, chairman and CEO for Office Depot Inc. “Our teams executed extremely well on all of our 2014 critical priorities. Our operating priorities for 2015 primarily focus on driving continued synergies and efficiencies and improving the customer experience.”

On Feb. 4, Office Depot entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Staples Inc. This transaction is expected to close by the end of 2015. Office Depot expects total company sales in 2015 to be lower than 2014, primarily due to its decision to close certain stores, the negative impact of currency translation, and continued challenging market conditions. Due to the announced agreement to be acquired by Staples, Office Depot is withdrawing previous guidance for 2015.

By the end of 2016, the completion of the OfficeMax integration period, the company continues to expect to achieve total annual run-rate merger synergy benefits of more than $750 million. Office Depot continues to estimate that a total of approximately $400 million of cash merger integration expenses will be required during the 2014 through 2016 integration period, excluding costs related to optimizing the U.S. retail store portfolio. Nearly $300 million of these cash integration expenses were incurred in 2014.

In addition, the company continues to expect the previously announced European restructuring plan, which includes the creation of centralized and standardized processes across Europe, to generate approximately $90 million of annual cost reduction benefits by the end of 2016.

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