HOT CONCEPTS

Coming Attractions: Six new stores in the works

BY Marianne Wilson

New concepts are the lifeblood of retailing. Here are six new stores — three homegrown formats and three imports — that are currently in the works:

Bauer Hockey

Ice hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer Hockey is throwing its puck in the retail arena. The company will open its first-ever store this summer, in Burlington, Massachusetts, followed by a second location in the fall, in the Minneapolis area.

Designed by Toronto-based Perennial Inc., Bauer Hockey will offer an experiential retail experience that elevates the brand and the sport of hockey, complete with an indoor ice rink where shoppers can try out equipment. The stores will put an emphasis on product education and fit expertise, and include an areas to educate new-to-hockey families and welcome them to the sport. The spaces will also be host ongoing events and initiatives for players, parents and the overall hockey community.

Bauer plans to open six to eight stores during the next several years in key hockey markets across the United States and Canada.

Bunulu

One-hundred year-old Florida-based department store retailer Bealls Inc. is developing a specialty store concept — Bunulu — that is scheduled to premier by yearend.

The new banner will target a younger demographic, and feature coastal-inspired active lifestyle apparel and accessories for both men and women. The brand’s website describes Bunulu as the “next generation of outdoor active lifestyle brands. Personalized for the coastal lifestyle.”

According to reports, Bunulu will open three to five locations in the fall. Stores will average about 4,000 sq. ft. and have a casual atmosphere, with wood floors and shelving and beach décor accents.

Combatant Gentlemen

At press time, the three-year-old online menswear retailer was set to open its first permanent retail space, a showroom at its headquarters in Irvine, California. The move comes after the company tested brick–and-mortar with pop-ups in Los Angeles, and New York City last December.

Similar to Warby Parker and some other online startups, Combatant Gentlemen owns nearly every aspect of its product, from the design and production to the manufacturing. (It even owns a sheep farm.) The strategy cuts out the middlemen, allowing it to offer smart-looking, all-wool suits for as low $160. Specializing in suiting and shirts, Combatant Gentlemen also does a big business in “wedding suits” and tuxedos.

Currently, the retailer ships throughout North America. But the United Kingdom and Australia are expected to come on board by the end of the year.

Hamleys

Famed British toy retailer Hamleys is coming across the pond. The 225-year old company has retained JLL to facilitate a multiple store roll-out throughout the United States.

The retailer, which has some 50 stores across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including its famed seven-story flagship on Regent Street in London. Most recently, it opened its largest store ever, a 73,000-sq.-ft. location in Moscow. The two-level space is divided into nine themed areas that combine retail and entertainment.

In the United States, Hamleys is reportedly seeking locations in such major markets as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and is also looking to open about 20 airport locations.

Primark

One of Europe’s fastest-growing apparel chains, Primark, makes its U.S. debut this fall, opening a four-level, 70,000-sq.-ft. store in the former Filene’s space in Boston’s Downtown Crossing. Selling on-trend fashions for at value prices, the retailer casts a wide net in terms of demographics. (The Dublin-based company is owned by Associated British Foods.)

Primark plans to open about 10 stores in America by spring 2016. Most of those locations will be realized via a deal with Sears Holdings Corp. In late 2014, Sears entered into an agreement to lease seven standalone stores in the Northeast to Primark, with the first opening in late fall at King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia, Pa. Other locations include Danbury Fair, Danbury, Connecticut; Freehold Raceway Mall, Freehold, New Jersey; Willow Grove Park Mall; Willow Grove, Pennsylvania; and the Staten Island Mall, Staten Island, New York.

In total, Sears is leasing about 520,000 sq. ft. of retail space to Primark. Sears will maintain a presence, although with a streamlined format, at six of the seven locations, with the exception of the site at King of Prussia.

Tiger

Known for its low prices, upbeat attitude and design aesthetic, Danish retailer Tiger will enter the United States in May, opening a 5,000-sq.-ft. flagship in New York City’s Flatiron neighborhood. Expect it to be filled with a quirky, ever-changing and colorful mix of exclusive items — ranging from umbrellas and toys to T-shirts and seasonal goods — at affordable prices. (Most of the products will be priced under $10, according to reports.)

Based in Copenhagen, Tiger opened its first store in 1995, and currently has some 435 locations in 25 countries. (The company operates under the name Flying Tiger Corp. in Asia and the United States due to trademark issues.)

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Study: Nordstrom has a ‘superior’ social media IQ

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle – Nordstrom came out on top in a study that ranked the social media performance of department stores by digital marketing analytics company Rival IQ. The Rival Results Index (RRI) for High-end Department Stores scored 12 department stores based on their social media performance during first quarter 2015. Macy’s followed Nordstrom in the overall rankings, with Harrods (London), Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman rounding out the top five.

Of the department stores evaluated, Nordstrom was the only one to achieve the top honor, called the Superior Social IQ, achieving the maximum score of five in six of the eight categories surveyed, for a total score of 35 out of 40. (The categories studied included social presence, social audience, social total engagement, average engagement rates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and top social content across the three platforms.) Macy’s was next, with a total score of 30.

The study revealed that while all the evaluated department stores are active on social media, nearly all of them are missing the boat when it comes best practices and the full viral benefit of social channels. For example, none of the retailers connected a social media presence with an e-commerce store, and activity was inconsistent across multiple social channels. The stores also missed cross-promotion with product or partner brands on social media, thereby missing the potential influence and extended reach of those brands.

In other findings:

• One of the biggest surprises revealed in the study was the retailers’ low level of engagement on Twitter and Facebook. While most of the stores were active tweeters on a daily basis and had millions of followers, the highest engagement rate achieved was 0.33 by Lord & Taylor. Nearly all other stores had engagement rates of less than 0.10, meaning less than one follower out of every 10,000 is retweeting or favoriting a tweet. By comparison, a business-to-consumer (B2C) company on Twitter should target an engagement rate of at least .50, according to the study.

• The retailers achieved the strongest engagement on Instagram, which is typical of fashion-related companies, according to Rival IQ. Harrods outscored all other stores with an Instagram engagement rate of over 30, followed by Nordstrom with 17.81. The industry average for B2C companies is approximately 20.

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News

Former Macy’s and Target merchant joins Evine Live

BY CSA STAFF

Evine Live, the digital commerce company formerly known as ShopHQ, named Penny Burnett senior vice president and chief merchandising officer.

In her new role, Burnett will report to Mark Bozek, CEO of Evine live, a digital commerce company that offers customers multiple ways to shop and interact via television, online and on mobile devices in merchandise categories such as home, beauty, health and fitness, fashion and accessories, jewelry and watches and consumer electronics.

She most recently served as vice president of merchandising for Li & Fung’s Global Brands Group for the past five years, managing the merchandising strategy for new acquisitions and overseeing merchandising for the kids' and young men's businesses. Prior to that, she was the vice president of sales and merchandising for Guggenheim Partners on the Lionel brand. She also held merchandising roles at Macy's and Target.

"I believe Penny's strong track record building businesses across broad categories of product positions her well to lead Evine Live's efforts to expand our roster of proprietary brands and diversify our product mix," said Bozek. "Penny's retail and wholesale experience and her proven ability to drive both top line sales and profit should further our growth strategy."

The Minneapolis-based company changed its name to Evine from ShopHQ last November following the appointment of Bozek as CEO in June 2014. "I could not be more thrilled to join the Evine Live family. As a merchant, it's exciting to join a company distinguished for its vibrant approach to a wide range of products," said Burnett. "The future of Evine Live is very exciting and I'm looking forward to joining a top-notch leadership team in such a dynamic organization poised for growth."

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