OPERATIONS

Chute Gerdeman fills new position of VP of technology and experience design

BY Marianne Wilson

Columbus, Ohio — Strategic brand and design firm Chute Gerdeman has named Jim Crawford to the new position of VP of technology and experience design. He will be responsible for integrating next-generation technology into the shopping experiences and store designs that Chute Gerdeman creates for its clients.

Crawford joins Chute Gerdeman from Taberna Retail, where he served clients such as Disney, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Microsoft and Crutchfield. Crawford brings more than 20 years of successful experience in strategic consumer-centric technology development to tier one retailers and brands worldwide, having also served in leadership positions at Retail Forward/Kantar, Forrester Research, Intel and SAP.

“Jim brings energy, experience and a unique perspective to our business," said Chute Gerdeman president and CCO Brian Shafley. “He has a deep understanding of how technology changes both the expectations of shoppers and the experience retailers and brands can deliver. This understanding, coupled with Chute Gerdeman’s capabilities in designing and executing brand experiences, will be a tremendous asset to our organization and to our clients.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Many holiday shoppers still active with lists not finished

BY Staff Writer

Charleston, S.C. — After a successful extended Black Friday and another week in the stores, a healthy proportion of holiday shoppers are well on their way to being finished with their gift buying, according to the America’s Research Group and Inmar Holiday Shopping Survey.

However, while 30% of shoppers are reporting that they are either finished or 90% through with their holiday shopping, the opportunity for retailers to make merry before the end of the season is still there as another 37% see themselves as having completed only half or less of their gift buying.

Shoppers are looking in lots of places for gifts and deals – including the grocery store. Better than 50% of shoppers are planning to give food as a gift this year with 49% having used a coupon in the grocery store in the last 30 days to help stretch holiday budgets. While 65% of shoppers are visiting four or more stores looking for saving opportunities, those with smartphones are leveraging them in the same effort – 38% of shoppers with smartphones having reported using them to look for or buy holiday gifts.

As for overall spending, 42% of shoppers say their 2013 holiday gift budget will match last year’s and 71% say they’re committed to staying on plan. It appears, also, that shoppers are favoring relatively smaller gifts with 85% spending $50 or less for most of their gifts.

“This year looks to be a more planned and, perhaps more personalized, Christmas with the majority of shoppers intent on staying within budgets – that, for many, are smaller than last year,” says John Ross, president, Inmar Analytics President and EVP, Inmar. “Less expensive gifts, including food, are on lots of gift lists with shoppers in the grocery channel actively using coupons to help with their holiday spending.”

Some shoppers (12%) are looking to wrap up their efforts by the end of this week but 56% are giving themselves until Dec. 20 to finish and 31% are planning to keep shopping right up until Christmas Eve. Many of those waiting to finish (82%) are doing so in hopes of finding even better deals.

“Those who are waiting for the last-minute deals are holding out for seriously big discounts,” says Britt Beemer, chairman and CEO of America’s Research Group. “Fifty percent off just won’t cut it!”

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REAL ESTATE

REI heading to Fairbanks, Alaska

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — REI will open a store in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the spring of 2014.

The 30,000-sq.-ft. store will house a bike shop, and ski and snowboard shop offering assembly and repair services, and host free in-store classes.

"Whether hiking, skiing or practicing yoga, Alaskans are some of the most active people in the country," said Kevin Golic, REI retail director for the Washington and Alaska district.

REI has a long history in Alaska, dating back to its store in Anchorage, opened in 1979.

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