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The Container Store and Urban Outfitters to be Honored at NRF 2011 Annual Convention

BY CSA STAFF

Executives from The Container Store and Urban Outfitters are among the retailers who will be honored at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and EXPO, or BIG Show, which will be held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, Jan. 9-12, 2011.

The recipients will accept their awards during the show’s Annual Retail Industry Luncheon on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

“In this highly competitive industry, it’s important for retailers to break away from the mold and push their company to new heights,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO, NRF. “Every year we search to find those who continue to do just that. We applaud each of this years’ winners and are thrilled to honor them in front of their peers.”

Gold Medal: Kip Tindell, chairman and CEO of The Container Store, will receive the NRF’s Gold Medal Award, which is given to individuals who have served the industry with distinction and achieved a national reputation for excellence. The recipients have also displayed creative genius and inspirational leadership and have won the respect of fellow merchants for devotion to the retail craft.

Tindell has been at the helm of The Container Store since it first opened its doors in Dallas in 1978. Today, the company operates 49 stores nationwide and a thriving website, with total 2010 sales projected at $560 million, Tindell continues his commitment to being a trailblazing retailer. But for Tindell, the goal never has been growth for growth’s sake. Rather, it’s to adhere to a fundamental set of corporate values, centered around an intense employee commitment, strict merchandising and superior customer service. Tindell continues to embody the unique corporate culture he created, and has nurtured a fierce employee loyalty that has landed the company at the top of FORTUNE magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” the past 11 years.

Innovator Award: Glen T. Senk, CEO of Urban Outfitters, will receive the Retail Innovator of the Year Award, given to individuals who have successfully distinguished themselves as retail pioneers through the use of new, innovative or imaginative techniques, formats or service. Furthermore, they have demonstrated an ability to sustain and build this concept in the face of challenges.

Senk was named CEO of Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters, Inc. in 2007. He started with the company in 1994 when he joined Anthropologie as president of what was then a single store prototype, and rose swiftly through the ranks. Prior to Anthropologie, Senk served as senior VP and general merchandise manager of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. where he oversaw the retail and mail order operations for Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Hold Everything, Chambers and Gardener’s Eden.

International Retailer of the Year: Sir Philip Green, owner of Arcadia Group, the United Kingdom’s largest privately owned clothing retailer with more than 2,500 outlets, will be honored as International Retailer of the Year. The award is given annually to an individual who has achieved international recognition for excellence in his or her native country and internationally.

Arcadia operates eight different fashion brands, including Topshop, which has grown into a fast-fashion powerhouse, with stores around the globe.

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Mobile in the News

BY CSA STAFF

Mobile commerce is expected to be among the dominant topics at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and EXPO in New York City, with break-out sessions and a super-session devoted to the fast-growing channel. Two recent studies offer insights into the channel. Here are some highlights:

Growth: Mobile online shopping (excluding travel) in the United States was expected to more than double, to total more than $3.4 billion by the end of 2010, according to ABI Research. Travel-related purchases (airline tickets, hotels, etc.) will add another $1.5 billion.

“Mobile online shopping growth in the United States has been fueled this year by the massive migration of consumers to smart phones, the explosion of highly innovative use-cases deployed by retailers and third-party players, and a significant shift in consumer behavior as more consumers choose mobile shopping over traditional online shopping,” commented ABI senior analyst Mark Beccue.

In Japan, where mobile online shopping has been commonplace for several years, mobile is responsible for nearly 17% of all e-commerce sales. In 2015, ABI Research believes, mobile online shopping will be responsible for $163 billion in sales globally, 12% of global e-commerce turnover.

Mobile marketing practice director Neil Strother added, “Beyond direct sales generated via mobile, innovative retailers will use mobile online shopping to introduce a broad- range of mobile marketing campaigns and CRM programs.”

Smart Phones and Bargain Hunting: A survey by Accenture revealed that the growing use of smart phone technology and the economic downturn have encouraged cost-conscious consumers to explore alternative retail channels to secure bargains.

According to the survey, 79% of smart phone users would find it useful to download money-off coupons to their phones, and 73% would like to receive instant money-off coupons as they pass by an item in a store.

Accenture’s findings suggest that couponing could become a more important part of the retail experience as smart phone technology becomes more widespread, and if retailers are adept at using customer analytics to target messages and deals to consumers. Notably, 48% of conventional cell phone users plan to buy a smart phone in the next 12 months.

The results of the survey also indicate that smart phone technology is changing the relationship between customers and retailers. Many smart phone users said that they prefer using their mobile device rather than interacting with a store employee for simple tasks. According to the survey, 73% favor using their smart phone to handle simple tasks compared with 15% who favor interaction with an employee. Similarly, 71% favor using their smart phone to identify a store with a desired item in stock, while 17% would prefer to get that information by speaking to an employee.

“Smart phones will permanently change the relationship between the store and the shopper,” said Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “Today’s tech-savvy consumer wants a seamless shopping experience across store, mobile or online at a time that suits them.”

Privacy, however, remains a key concern of consumers, and could have a negative impact on the growing use of smart phones for shopping. More than half of respondents (54%) worry that using smart phones will erode their privacy. Among the other smart phone shopping concerns voiced, 59% fear losing the personal touch from store employees, and 39% believe that products would get more expensive.

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NRF’s Diamond History

BY CSA STAFF

The annual NRF Convention & EXPO has a strong history, and while the show’s early concept has evolved over the last century, its message remains the same: to bring together industry decision makers who want to find ways to drive their business.

Some attendees often question why NRF is held in New York City during January, when the weather can be downright brutal. But the reason is easy.

“In NRF’s early days, CEOs, merchandisers and buyers were finished with the holiday season, and came to the fashion capital in January to get a perspective on what to carry for their spring line,” explained David Hogan, CIO for the National Retail Federation, Washington, D.C. “While the show’s draw for New York City’s fashion market shopping may not be what it once was, NRF attendees still come to shop — now it is for technology.”

During the past 20 years, technology has earned a strong position within the convention as it has evolved beyond a mere business component into a business enabler — one that reflects how the industry and the consumer are changing.

NRF plans to highlight the metamorphosis of the show during a closing session, “The Future is BIG, the Future is NOW!” on Jan. 12. Moderated by Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren the session will take a nostalgic look back to see how far the industry has come, and what awaits it on the horizon.

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