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Consumers can register digitally for West Elm’s wedding/gift registry

BY Staff Writer

New York — Home furnishings retailer West Elm has launched a wedding and gift registry that allows shoppers to register in stores, online or via smartphone app.

“Our customers have great individual style and definitely know how to party,” said Vanessa Holden, creative director of West Elm. “Our new wedding and gift registry features tips and tricks from some of our favorite partners, and it’s the perfect tool to help couples design a home to suit their new life together or plan for any type of celebration.”

The West Elm assortment includes handcrafted and artisan-made products. Customers will also have access to the Monogram Shop so they can personalize their gifts.

Registrants will also have access to free home design services provided by West Elm Home Stylists. West Elm retail locations will host private registry events and there will be opportunities for customers to get ideas and inspiration while browsing pieces in person before the store opens to the public.

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Barnes & Noble to develop co-branded Nook tablets with Samsung

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Barnes & Noble Inc. is teaming up with Samsung Electronics America to develop a new Nook tablet. The co-branded devices will combine the Nook software with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 hardware, creating full-service tablets that also can access Barnes & Noble’s collection of more than 3 million books, magazines and newspapers, according to a statement.

The companies are expected to introduce the new Nook in a 7-inch version in early August. It will be sold, along with Nook eReaders, at Barnes & Noble’s nearly 700 bookstores and online retail locations and its website.

“We are very excited and proud to partner with Samsung, a world-class technology and tablet leader, to create customized co-branded devices featuring our valuable Nook reading experience and digital content catalog for Barnes & Noble customers nationwide,” said Michael P. Huseby, CEO, Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble has been reining in its investments in the money-losing Nook unit after earlier tablet models did not do well with consumers. The company hasn’t released a new device since October.

In other news, Barnes & Noble announced that its Nook Media will relocate from Palo Alto, California, to a new facility in Santa Clara, California, while Barnes & Noble College’s digital education employees will relocate to a facility in Mountain View, California. The relocations are expected to occur by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2015.

This action will result in a net reduction of annual occupancy expenses of approximately $10 million, reducing the company’s future lease commitments by approximately $102 million. The asset impairment charges resulting from this relocation are approximately $30 million, which are expected to be recorded in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. Barnes & Noble also expects to incur cash closing costs and to adjust lease accounting items in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 to reflect the impact of these relocations.

“This move is a significant step in our ongoing efforts to both rationalize and better equip the Nook business to achieve success, while positioning the digital education team and platform for future growth,” said Huseby. “These relocations result in work environments and related cost structure impacts that are better aligned with our business objectives and our employees’ expressed needs.”

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Staples opens lab in Seattle to test, launch online selling models

BY Staff Writer

Framingham, Mass. — Staples announced the opening of its Development Center in downtown Seattle. One of two Staples’ west coast offices, the new center is made-up of e-commerce and engineering teams responsible for driving major initiatives to enhance areas including search, SEO and personalization.

“Seattle has a wealth of talented engineers and leaders who are perfect matches for the opportunities at Staples, primarily around using big data to develop a personalized shopping experience , and developing innovative global services,” said Faisal Masud, executive VP, global e-commerce, Staples. “At the Development Center, we’re building core components to power innovative e-commerce. Our marketers and merchants will test and launch rapid innovative online selling models, targeting the right customer with the right products at the right time.”

The new facility joins Staples Innovation Lab, in San Mateo, California, which focuses on personalizing the shopping experience and allows the company to tap into the wealth of engineering and e-commerce expertise in the Silicon Valley area.

Staples is adding software development, product management, usability, analytics and online merchandising positions as it continues to invest in omnichannel capabilities that let customers shop however and whenever they want, across mobile devices, desktops and stores.

“We have several exciting challenges ahead of us in the areas of search, big data development and personalization, along with our global platform components, and the Seattle office positions us well to find the right talent to meet those challenges.” said Prakash Muppirala, VP, e-commerce engineering, Staples.

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