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Berkshire Partners forms partnership with former Urban Outfitters exec Glen Senk

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston — Berkshire Partners LLC, the Boston-based investment firm, and Glen T. Senk, a New York-based retail and consumer executive, are partnering to co-invest in innovative, high-growth retail and consumer businesses. Berkshire Partners has initially committed $350 million to future investments alongside Senk and his newly formed firm, Front Row Partners LLC, where he serves as chairman and CEO.

Prior to forming Front Row Partners, Senk served as CEO of David Yurman and, prior to that, as CEO of Urban Outfitters. He also held senior executive positions at Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma, Habitat, and Bloomingdale’s. Senk serves on the board of directors of Melissa & Doug, and previously served on the boards of Bare Escentuals, cooking.com, David Yurman, Tory Burch, and Urban Outfitters.

"I could not have found a more complementary partner than Berkshire Partners for this new venture," Senk said. "They are an exceptional group of people with tremendous integrity and deep experience investing in the consumer space. Front Row Partners will benefit immensely from having access to the talent and resources that Berkshire can provide.”

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Kohl’s says ‘yes’ to new omni-channel campaign

BY Dan Berthiaume

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — Kohl’s Department Stores has debuted its new brand campaign, based on the word “Yes.” A 60-second commercial, featuring designer Vera Wang, unveils the “Yes” campaign using striking visuals and artists’ renderings of the letters “Y,” “E,” and “S.”

The spot tells the story of what “Yes” means at Kohl’s. Various 30-second commercials celebrate other “Yes” moments. Customers can also participate in the campaign by sharing their personal “Yes” moments using #FindYourYes which could be shared on Kohl’s social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. The full commercials can be viewed on YouTube.

“There are very few moments in the lifetime of a brand when you have the opportunity to refresh who you are and how you connect with customers," said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief customer officer. “This is our moment and ‘Yes’ is our voice. It is authentic and grounded in our heritage.”

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Survey: iPad shoppers reading more digital catalogs

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Altos, Calif. — Shoppers using the Catalog Spreee iPad app read 60% more catalogs and viewed 39% more catalog pages when compared year-over-year (first quarter 2014, compared to first quarter 2013). In addition, Catalog Spree’s new quarterly iPad Shopping Trends Report indicates half of all shoppers visited a retailer’s website directly from the app to view further product details.

The quarterly report provides a look at the shopping habits of consumers, including trends, changes, engagement, and more. Additional findings from the report include:

• Shoppers want deals: More than one-quarter of shoppers use the price drop notification feature to find a sale.

• Shoppers want content: 65% of shoppers requested to be notified of new catalogs from their favorite brands.

• Top three brands shopped: HauteLook, One Kings Lane and Macy’s.

• Frequent publishing benefits: Daily publications had the highest engagement levels.

• Most popular categories shopped: Women and Home.

• Seasonal weather is a factor: Cities with highest concentration of traffic included cold weather metro areas New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

"At Catalog Spree, we’ve always believed that shoppers on mobile devices want a very visual, emotional shopping experience, just as they would when going to the mall or reading a traditional catalog," said Joaquin Ruiz, CEO of Catalog Spree. "To make this experience happen, we’re looking beyond the search-find-buy mentality typical on mobile and web e-commerce sites. We’re looking to content. Gorgeous, easy-to-shop content. Clearly we’re onto something as the data speaks for itself — if the content is there, the shoppers will come."

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