FINANCE

Design Within Reach taps TD Retail Card Services for credit card program

BY Staff Writer

Mahwah, N.J. — North American furniture and home accessories retailer Design Within Reach has selected TD Retail Card Services to develop and administer its private label credit card for its locations in the United States.

Under the agreement, the Mahwah, N.J.-based business unit of TD Bank, N.A., will direct all facets of the program for the retailer’s 43 Studio locations.

The new Design Within Reach credit card will offer consumers a full menu of deferred interest and equal pay programs.

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Macy’s boosts seasonal hiring in anticipation of holiday sales

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI — While research groups are predicting various results for holiday spending, such retailers as Macy’s Inc. are hoping that expectations for increased spending will prove to be right and are boosting seasonal hiring in preparation. Macy’s Inc. said it plans to hire approximately 78,000 seasonal associates for its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers nationwide for the 2011 holiday season. The hiring plan represents an increase of about 4% from the approximately 75,000 seasonal associates hired for last year’s holiday season.

“We always hire aggressively during the holidays to ensure our customers are well-served in this important shopping period. We expect additional hiring this year given the continued sales growth in our business – both in-store and online,” said Terry Lundgren, Macy’sInc. chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our seasonal associates serve customers on the selling floor, work behind the scenes in store operations positions, interact with customers via the telephone in call centers, and staff the distribution and fulfillment centers that coordinate shipments to our stores and directly to customers who buy online.”

Most of the positions are part-time, often with some flexibility to fit with the availability of the individuals hired. Many positions require the applicant to work evenings, weekends or overnight. In some cases, temporary seasonal associates are offered open year-round positions based on their skills and performance over the holiday season.

The company has already begun hiring for sales support positions, such as in distribution centers and store receiving, with hiring for other positions taking place through October.

“Working in a seasonal position at Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s is a great way to earn extra money during the holidays. Many of our seasonal hires are students on break, stay-at-home parents, individuals in career transitions or those with extra time they would like to use productively,” Lundgren said. “Retailing is a fast-paced business, and working at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s during this magical time of the year can be fun and rewarding.”

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FINANCE

Deloitte forecasts 2.5% to 3% increase in holiday sales

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Retailers should expect small gains in 2011 holiday sales, Deloitte forecast on Monday. The company’s retail & distribution practice expects total holiday sales to reach between $873 and $877 billion, representing a 2.5 to 3% increase over last season.

"Consumer spending was on the rise for several months despite dampened confidence in the economy among U.S. households," said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte’s chief economist. "Those earlier gains have begun to flatten and may be tempered by persistent weakness in the housing and employment sectors and pressures from the European debt crisis. Despite some relief in energy prices, consumers may feel the strain from food, apparel and other categories where prices are markedly higher compared to the previous holiday season. Additionally, retailers will face tougher comparisons this year after last year’s substantial increase in holiday sales."

Additionally, Deloitte forecasts a 14% increase in non-store sales, with nearly three-quarters of the sales resulting from the online channel with additional sales coming from catalogs and interactive TV.

"Double-digit growth in the non-store channel has given the industry a major boost, and retailers that put online channels to work for their physical storefronts have the advantage," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail & distribution sector leader.

Paul noted that the brick-and-mortar store is still central to the shopper experience.

“Retailers that integrate the power of the sensory experience in-store with relevant, timely information via their websites and mobile applications are well-positioned to lead the way this holiday season,” she said.

While economic events have the potential to soften consumer spending this season, businesses are already operating at lean and efficient levels and positioning themselves to weather a period of slow growth, according to Paul. But she warned that retailers should be prepared with contingency plans.

"Retailers need to be nimble enough to quickly adapt and adjust their inventory, assortment, pricing and promotional strategies when consumer demand fluctuates,” Paul said.

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