STORE SPACES

David’s Bridal goes south of the border

BY Marianne Wilson

David’s Bridal has entered a brand new market.

David's Bridal has partnered with Diltex, a leading manufacturer and retailer of intimate apparel in Mexico, to open its first franchise location in Mexico City. The store opens on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

The two-level store, located in a building that was completely renovated, features soft lighting and lofty ceilings, with an 11,000-sq.-ft. selling floor. The first floor includes a broad selection of gowns, along with accessories, veils, and headpieces.

The second floor features an array of bridesmaid and flower girl dresses. An intimates section features lingerie for the wedding and honeymoon as well as casual wear for events leading up to the wedding. The store also boasts an assortment of dresses and accessories ideal for wedding guests, including the mother of the bride.

"David's Bridal is thrilled to announce the opening of our first store in Mexico," said Paul Pressler, chairman & CEO of David's Bridal. "As we enter into our newest market, we are fortunate to have partnered with Diltex, the top manufacturer and retailer of intimate apparel in Mexico. Their market expertise, track record of success, and passion for customer service has made them a perfect partner to David's Bridal."

David’s Bridal opened its first store outside of the United States in 2011, in Toronto. It currently operates more than 300 stores across the United States, Canada, U.K., and Puerto Rico, along with its just-opened franchise location in Mexico City.

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STORE SPACES

First Look: Walmart’s next-gen test stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is testing new features and technology in two recently-opened supercenters in Tomball, Texas, and Lake Nona, Florida. The stores were fully reimagined — from layout to building and environmental enhancements to added technology — with a goal of improving the shopping experience and making it easier for customers to get what they need as quickly as possible. Here is a peak at the changes:

• New Layout: The chain used customer shopping behavior to reimagine the layout for the two stores. For example, services like the beauty salon and tech repair are adjacent to relevant merchandise. Health and wellness departments are consolidated to create a single destination. Baby, toys, kids' apparel and kids' shoes form a single destination to ease the shopping journey.

• Scan & Go: Scan & Go technology that works both on personal smartphones and Walmart-provided handheld devices is being tested in the two locations. Customers are greeted on their way into the store by a large bank of Scan & Go wands, and new digital produce scales have been added to make scanning weighable items much easier. Scan & Go fast pass checkout lanes allow customers to bypass the traditional checkout process

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• SmartLife: New interactive projection technology allows customers to learn about connected devices (such as Google Home, Apple TV, Nest, baby monitors and connected thermostats) and get answers to what is important to them. Since images are projected onto tables and walls, there’s no chance of accidentally damaging a product, and the product details can be updated more quickly through this new platform. This technology is found in the entertainment section of the store, as well as in hardware, baby, and health and wellness for relevant department items.

• Integrated Pickup: Shoppers can use the outside drive-thru to pick up weekly groceries and also their prescriptions and Walmart.com orders.

• Extended Aisles: Step into the Tomball Supercenter and you’ll find interactive screens offering access to an extended curated selection of online-only items in almost 100 categories. Customers can order products, pay with the rest of their basket at checkout and pick up two days later.

• Appointment Setting and Ordering Technology: The two stores are testing a new appointment and ordering kiosk system in the deli area that allows shoppers to place their order, go shopping, then come back to quickly pick it up. If the deli test goes well, the feature could be expanded to pharmacy, auto care center, beauty salon or anywhere ordering and appointment setting occurs.

• Next-Gen Call Buttons: Shoppers press a Wi-Fi-connected call button and wearable GPS-enabled devices alert associates that assistance is needed. Associates wearing these devices are trained in specific store areas and are on call to help in the furniture, paint, fabrics, sporting goods and bikes areas of the store.

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Apple launches new store initiative

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Apple wants to give its shoppers more reasons to visit its stores than to make a purchase or visit the Genius Bar.

The tech giant has launched a new initiative, called “Today at Apple," in all 495 Apple stores. The program features more than 60 hands-on sessions in a range of topics, including photography, music, art, design and coding. According to Apple, the classes will be led by highly-trained team members, and, in select cities, world-class artists, photographers and musicians. There will be special programs for families and educators.

The new program is part of retail chief's Angela Ahrendts effort to reinvent the Apple store experience. Apple expects the classes to reinforce engagement among current and potential customers as it looks to connect with shoppers beyond their need to purchase a new laptop or visiting the Genius Bar for repairs.

“At the heart of every Apple Store is the desire to educate and inspire the communities we serve,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior VP, retail. ‘Today at Apple’ is one of the ways we’re evolving our experience to better serve local customers and entrepreneurs. We’re creating a modern-day town square, where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together to connect with one another, discover a new passion, or take their skill to the next level."

The company’s existing in-store tutorial classes will continue, but content will be redesigned under the new format. To deliver the new programs, each store will receive new mobile display screens designed specifically for “Today at Apple” sessions, as well as updated seating and sound.

To find out which classes will be available over a two-week location at Apple locations, customers can visit the Today at Apple webpage, and click on a category icon.

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