DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

First Look: Target’s next-generation store concept

BY Marianne Wilson
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Target Corp. has unveiled its next-generation store format, which will make its debut in Richmond, Texas, a Houston suburb, in October.

In addition to the new 124,000-sq.-ft. Richmond store, 40 additional Target locations will receive elements of the redesign when they are updated, also in October.

Speaking at Shoptalk in Las Vegas, Target chairman and CEO Brian Cornell addressed Target’s plan to invest billions of dollars over the next three years as part of the company’s strategy to create a “smart” network, with stores, digital channels and supply chain all working together to meet shoppers’ needs.

Target’s new store design emphasizes elevated product presentations, a more open feel, and a number of time-saving features, physical as well as digital.

“Expect lots of flexibility, open sight lines and discovery moments throughout the store,” Cornell told the audience at Shoptalk. “We’re going to take what we learn in Houston to help guide us as we customize and remodel hundreds and hundreds of stores over the next three years.”

One of the biggest changes is the creation of two separate entrances: one for shoppers who are time-pressed and only looking to buy a few items or pick up an online order, and the other for people who want to leisurely shop.

The entrance for folks in a hurry will offer fast access to grocery, a wine & beer shop, self-checkout lanes and a dedicated Order Pickup counter, all within steps from each other. Reserved parking spaces will be located outside this entrance, allowing Target associates to deliver online orders to customers in their cars.

In another time-saving move, Target store associates will be equipped with new technology – available in all stores this fall – to search inventory, take payment from a mobile point-of-sale system and arrange delivery, all from the sales floor.

Here are some other features of the new design:

• Modernized design features will include lazed, large glass windows at the front of store, with stenciled concrete floors and unique lighting throughout;

• An upgraded grocery department, with woodgrain fixtures and increased fresh produce and grab-and-go options and meal solutions;

• Elevated, cross-merchandise product presentations that encourage browsing and are designed to amplify Target’s exclusive style assortment across apparel and accessories, home, jewelry and beauty: and

• Curved, more circular center aisles that feature merchandise displays to engage shoppers “with compelling products in unexpected places,” Target said.

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M.Mefford says:
Mar-31-2017 05:01 pm

Target
I really don't see any changes to what Target already looks like.

M.Mefford says:
Mar-31-2017 05:01 pm

I really don't see any changes to what Target already looks like.

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potteryBarn2
ECOMMERCE

Home goods retailer jumps into augmented reality app

BY Marianne Wilson

Pottery Barn customers in the San Francisco area will soon be able to see how a product will look in their home before they buy it.

The retailer, a division of Williams-Sonoma, will launch its first smartphone augmented reality app later this month. Called 3D Room View, the app is powered by Tango technology from Google. (It can be used only on Tango enabled smartphones.)

In launching its new app, Pottery Barn is following in the footsteps of such other home goods brands as Ikea and Wayfair, which already offer AR apps.

The Pottery Barn app will launch with a focus on the living room and add additional spaces during the year. It allows customers to either add products to an existing room, enabling them to see how new products will look with their current furniture and decor, or they can empty the room to start the design process from scratch. The app will offer five living room features to start: customers can add, move and remove furniture, rugs, lamps and pillows, change the color of the upholstery or pillows, and zoom in to see details or finish, and more.

Customers will also have access to 3D Room View with the help and expertise of in-store design specialists at select Pottery Barn stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, with plans to roll out across the country.

In addition, Pottery Barn is launching two 3D design and visualization room-planning tools this month, 360 Spin by Pottery Barn and Design Your Perfect Desk by PBteen, available on Web and mobile. With 360 Spin, customers can view a Pottery Barn sofa from all angles, with 120 sofa styles available to start and more being added every week. With Design Your Perfect Desk, PBteen customers can pick their favorite desk and build a room around it, from the paint color on the walls to the accessories on the desk.

“Our brands have always been a source of inspiration for customers, and we’re excited to enhance that experience by introducing the latest AR technology and visualization tools to help customers design a room by envisioning how Pottery Barn products will look and fit in their actual space,” said John Strain, executive VP , chief digital and technology officer of Williams-Sonoma. “Our vision is to offer innovative shopping and design capabilities across all Williams-Sonoma, Inc. brands, starting with Pottery Barn and PBteen this spring.”

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francesca
FINANCE

Commentary: Francesca’s will remain one of the winners in the fashion space

BY CSA STAFF

Håkon Helgesen, analyst at GlobalData Retail, comments on Francesca’s fourth quarter and full year results:

Francesca's has ended a solid fiscal year with a good set of numbers. Despite being up against a tough comparative of 11% growth from last year, total sales rose by 9%. This was primarily the result of the opening of 55 new stores and a very strong e-commerce performance where sales increased by 42%.

The two slight downsides came from the same-store numbers, which were flat over the prior year, and from operating profit which declined by 2.4%. The latter is mostly the result of increased discounting activity towards the end of the quarter, something that damaged margins. As much as this is unfortunate, it does mean that Francesca's starts its new fiscal year with a relatively clean inventory position — something that is essential for the clear presentation of new ranges in store.

Nevertheless, the results are impressive when set against a retail market where both overall demand and customer traffic were soft over the final quarter. We believe that this outperformance is down to a number of factors.

Foremost among these is Francesca's move to a fast-fashion model. While this is not on a par with a retailer like Zara, range refreshes are now more regular, with shorter runs of fashion products being produced. This both encourages shoppers to visit regularly and to buy immediately when they see something they like.

A nimbler approach to procurement has allowed Francesca's to quickly move in and out of high-performing and underperforming categories and styles. Although it does not entirely eliminate the need for markdowns — as we saw this quarter — it helps reduce the discounting and allows for a more disciplined approach to pricing.

The organization of the assortments into collections, with complementary pieces and accessories being merchandised together, has also helped to drive up transaction values. This has allowed categories like jewelry and handbags to perform well and has helped Francesca's push price points higher across these assortments.

Although stores are performing reasonably, e-commerce sales increased by 42%. In our view this is down to two factors. First, the ongoing investment in e-commerce which has made the website, and especially the mobile version, easier to navigate and shop: this pushed up traffic and conversion. We believe these investments have a little more runway, although their contribution to growth will become weaker.

Second, Francesca's has taken a prudent approach to the assortment it showcases online. Rather than simply replicating what is available in stores, it has determined what collections and pieces sell well online and has showcased these very effectively. It has also used online to extend the range available in stores. This both ensures that stores do not become overly cluttered and that there is sufficient difference between online and stores to ensure many customers visit and shop both.

Looking ahead, we maintain our view that Francesca's will remain one of the winners in the fashion space.

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