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D’Lites, Woodbury, N.Y.

BY CSA STAFF

D’Lites, in Woodbury, N.Y., is not your ordinary ice cream parlor. Specializing in a wide array of soft-serve treats, the 1,400-sq.-ft. shop has a fun and fashionable look. Splashes of pink stand out against a dramatic, monochromatic background. The color scheme and clean-looking environment appeal to the eater’s higher-end target clientele.

“By blending a modern décor with a traditional edge to the architecture, the bright store exemplifies that this ice cream is different than others and for customers of all ages,” explained Doug Horst, president, Horst Design International, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. The firm gutted and transformed the space, which formerly housed a handbag shop.

The environment is set off with inviting, high-back and richly upholstered banquettes. In a clever touch, the floors appear to be black & white wooden planks. But for maintenance purposes and to withstand the intense daily traffic, they are actually made of maintenance free porcelain tiles embossed with a wooden pattern.

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Walgreens comps rise for April

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Sales for Walgreens during the month of April edged up 5.5%, thanks to a boost in both front-end and pharmacy sectors.

The drug store chain said that total front-end sales experienced a 9.4% boost, while comparable front-end sales benefited from the later Easter holiday with a 6.5% increase. On the pharmacy front, sales increased 3.5%, while comparable-pharmacy sales increased 1.8%, accounting for 64.4% of total sales for the month. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 2.3% in April. Calendar day shifts, however, negatively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 1.9 percentage points, Walgreens reported, adding that the recent over-the-counter switch of allergy drug Allegra negatively impacted prescriptions filled by 0.3 percentage point.

Customer traffic in comparable stores increased 2.3%, while basket size increased 4.2%.

April sales in overall comparable stores increased 3.4% for the chain, which was negatively impacted by 1.2 percentage points due to the calendar day shift. On a combined basis, comparable-store sales for the March/April period rose 3.3%, marking a 6.7% rise from the same two months in 2010. Additionally, comparable-store front-end sales for the combined March/April period increased by 4.1%, while customer traffic in comparable stores increased 1.6% and basket size increased 2.5%.

Duane Reade stores are not included in any comparable-store results, Walgreens noted.

Walgreens noted that its overall April sales rose to nearly $6 billion for the month, compared with about $5.7 billion in April 2010, as well as a 0.7 percentage point contribution from Duane Reade.

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Amazon gets a new fashion “habit”

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE — Amazon.com continues to grow beyond its origins as an online bookstore and is now expanding its apparel offerings with the launch of a new membership-only website, Myhabit.com.

According to the company, the website, of which member ship is free, will offer up to 60% off hand-picked styles from the most sought after brands. Other features of the site include free shipping and returns, upscale photography and 360-degree views of the clothing on live models.

The Myhabit website will offer daily sales on top brands across women’s, men’s and children’s departments, the company reported.

"Myhabit gives fashion customers an elegant and easy-to-use online destination for private sale shopping," said Maria Renz, president of Myhabit. "Couple that with a curated selection of the best brands, free shipping and free returns, and new features like 360-degree video footage, and MYHABIT sets a new standard in service, convenience and product presentation."

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