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Container Store launches upgraded mobile with Usablenet

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Coppell, Texas — The Container Store has launched an upgraded mobile web experience in partnership with mobile and multichannel technology provider Usablenet.

The refreshed site was designed to give users a seamless, innovative next-generation mobile shopping experience.

Having seen its mobile site traffic increase 62% in the past year, Container Store tapped Usablenet to make more features from the desktop site available on mobile. The retailer wanted to also strengthen visual navigation and social integration, offering customers a more engaging experience overall.

The new mobile experience is backed by U-Control, Usablenet’s content-publishing tool which allows Container Store to quickly refresh site banners, mobile promotions and navigational icon links.

Next-generation features of the retailer’s upgraded mobile web experience include a refreshed homepage that features navigational icons that link to specific product categories, the ability to share products across Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks, an enhanced browsing process that allows customers to access items in their cart via an overlay that does not navigate away from the page they are on, and the addition of shoppable hotspots on banner images. Moreover, in addition to reading reviews, customers can also write reviews and rate products directly from their mobile phones.

“Our goal with this updated mobile site is to offer our loyal shoppers a deeply engaging and socially integrated experience with our brand,” said Jessica Coogan, online marketing director for The Container Store. "Usablenet’s technology allowed us to implement features previously found only on the desktop site — such as banners and homepage icons — that we can switch out at a moment’s notice to constantly provide customers with new, real-time items and special deals.”

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Dickies gets a little bit country in new ad campaign

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas — Global workwear brand Dickies has teamed up with country music group Eli Young Band. They are offering fans an opportunity to meet the band on the No Shoes Nation Tour with Kenny Chesney.

The contest will award one winner and a guest airfare, hotel accommodations for two nights and tickets to the last tour stop in Foxboro, Mass., on August 24. Dickies is encouraging its customers and fans of band to enter a chance to win on Dickies’ Facebook page from July 1-30. Additional prizes include Dickies apparel autographed by Eli Young Band. The winner will be announced on August 1.

"With their dedication to a rigorous touring schedule and rehearsals, the Eli Young Band has proven themselves to be hard and reliable workers on and off the stage," said Matthew McCartin, marketing chief for Dickies. "At Dickies, we seek out individuals who epitomize the authenticity and purpose-built nature of our brand. We’re glad to find those qualities in musicians who call Texas home, just like we do."

Grammy-nominated Eli Young Band will also be featured in Dickies’ upcoming print and digital brand campaign. Dickies will capture behind-the-scenes coverage on tour with the Eli Young Band on Dickies.com and Eliyoungband.com.

"Dickies was really a no-brainer for the four of us. They are a great American brand," said Jon Jones, bass player for the Eli Young Band. "Their reputation for making hardworking clothing that stands the test of time is something we all identify with and really respect."

Eli Young Band has charted two consecutive #1 hits at Country Radio with "Crazy Girl" and "Even If It Breaks Your Heart." The band has opened for Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan, Jason Aldean and Dave Matthews Band.

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Walmart Canada faces emboldened competitor

BY CSA STAFF

The Sobey’s chain of food stores, whose parent company counts former Walmart Canada head Dave Ferguson among its board members, has added new square footage to its retail portfolio with the acquisitions of Safeway’s Canadian stores.

The $5.8 billion deal, announced late Wednesday will added Safeway’s 223 stores and 12 manufacturing facilities to Sobey’s existing operation which includes about 1,500 stores under banners such as Sobeys, IGA extra, Thrifty Foods, IGA, Foodland and FreshCo.

Sobey’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nova Scotia based Empire Company Limited. Interestingly, Empire’s board include’s Dave Ferguson, the former CEO of Walmart Canada in the late 1990s. Ferguson also ran Walmart European operations from 2000 to 2003. He left the company in 2003 and joined the Empire board in 2006.

The all cash deal will result in net proceeds to Safeway of about $2 billion which will be used to pay down debt while Sobey’s picks up a retail operation that generated sales last year of $6.7 billion in Canadian dollars and a $428 million operating profit.

"We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Sobeys in order to realize the higher multiples attributed to Canadian supermarket companies," said Robert Edwards, president and CEO of Safeway. "The substantial cash proceeds from this transaction will allow us to create value for Safeway stakeholders and contribute to the growth of the ongoing business."

Safeway currently operates 1,415 U.S. stores and 20 manufacturing facilities and last year generated sales of $37.5 billion.

The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies, but it must pass muster with Canada’s Competition Act and is expected to close during the fourth quarter

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