News

Emerging Concepts: A Baby Store All About Parenting

BY CSA STAFF

New parents have even more reasons to smile, now that emerging niche retailer giggle has opened four bricks-and-mortar locations, two in New York City and one each in San Francisco and Walnut Creek, Calif., as well as an online store at egiggle.com. More are in the works.

The original giggle opened in San Francisco in October 2003. The store quickly established itself not as a baby store as much as a resource center for parents, particularly first-timers struggling to understand what they needed to purchase. The goal of giggle is to offer an edited selection of merchandise for the baby to 4-year-old niche. The merchandise assortment strives to include the most healthy, stylish and in novative products—not everything in baby gear, “but the best of everything.”

Store environments are equally healthy and innovative. Construction materials include low-VOC paint, organic woods and other natural resources. The color palette is exuberant and androgynous, with a backdrop of white and ivory on the walls and ceilings, accented with whimsical stripes in vibrant colors on oversized lampshades and awnings.

Fun elements inside the stores include a stroller parking lot, with vintage parking meters; and weekly readings in the giggle library. Lounges provide privacy for feeding or a meeting space for parents’ groups.

Special services include personal shoppers, a robust in-store and online baby registry as well as comprehensive checklists for every stage of parenting, from grandparents to first-time potty training. Giggle also offers special-delivery options including full-service assembly of furniture.

Additional coverage of giggle and its entrepreneurial founder and CEO, Ali Wing, can be found on page 12A.

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FINANCE

Finish Line 4Q Profit Narrows

BY CSA STAFF

Indianapolis, Finish Line said Thursday the company earned $21.1 million in its fourth quarter, compared with profit of $28.1 million during the same period a year prior. Revenue rose to $429 million from $399.2 million.

Expenses for the quarter rose to $93.9 million from $85.1 million. The company also saw an asset impairment charge of $7.5 million compared with $2.5 million a year ago. Comp-store sales fell 5.4% during the quarter.

For the full year, the company earned $32.4 million.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Sharper Image, OfficeMax Partner

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco, Sharper Image has announced a multi-year licensing agreement with OfficeMax. The agreement with OfficeMax is the first to be announced by Sharper Image’s newly created brand licensing division.

Under the agreement, OfficeMax will offer Sharper Image branded office furniture and accessories made exclusively for OfficeMax under the Sharper Image Office brand. Products will include desks, chairs, shredders, desk sets, accessories and related items. The first product collection is currently rolling out into OfficeMax stores, with additional collections to debut throughout and beyond 2007.

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