Facebook launches video on Instagram
Menlo Park, Calif. — Facebook on Thursday announced the launch of a video feature for its photo-sharing app, Instagram. The new feature, which allows users to share video clips lasting up to 15 seconds, is seen as a direct shot at Twitter, which acquired short video start-up Vine last year.
Similar to photos, the Instagram videos will show up on a user’s profile and will be available immediately on both Apple’s iOs platform and Google’s Android devices.
In announcing the launch, Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom called the new app "everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves."
And while online video is also seen as a powerful new way to deliver advertising, Systrom told reporters at the launch that the new feature wasn’t designed with advertising in mind, and that there are no immediate plans to offer advertising with the new video-sharing feature. (eMarketer has projected that U.S. advertisers will spend $4 billion on digital video ads this year, doubling to $8 billion by 2016.)
Gymboree names former Levi Strauss exec as COO
San Francisco — The Gymboree Corporation has appointed former Levi Strauss & Co. executive Joelle Maher as the company’s new COO.
At Levi Strauss & Co., Maher was most recently executive VP, president global retail, and prior to that senior VP of Americas multichannel retail, and VP, planning, allocation, stores, store operations and outlet.
She also held executive leadership positions at Lucky Brand Jeans, Old Navy and Macy’s East.
Pier I Q1 earnings up; raises guidance
Fort Worth, Texas — Pier 1 Imports announced a 14% jump in fiscal first-quarter earnings on Thursday and upgraded its full-year guidance.
The company reported net income of $20.3 million for the first quarter ended June 1, compared to $17.8 million for the year ago period.
Total sales were $395 million, a 9.3% increase from $361 million in the prior year quarter. Same-store sales rose 5.9% on stronger store traffic and higher average tickets.
“The continued improvement of our gross profit speaks to the success of our merchandising strategies, both in-store and online, and reflects strong full-price selling during the period,” said president and CEO Alex W. Smith.
Smith added that he is pleased with the company’s ongoing progress it is making toward building out its multichannel functionality.
“The rollout of our new point-of-sale system is on track for completion later this summer; we will then begin the integration of our stores and e-Commerce businesses, laying the foundation to provide a seamless and significantly enhanced shopping experience for our customers.”