REAL ESTATE

Gap details China expansion

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco Gap plans to open two namesake stores in Beijing and two in Shanghai and start selling its merchandise online in China later this year, the company said Wednesday.

Gap will own and operate its four new stores, including a shop on the premier Nanjing West Road in Shanghai; a store on Mid Huaihai Road, another top shopping street in Shanghai; a two-story store on Beijing’s Wanfujing Street and a store in a Beijing regional mall called Chaobei Joy City.

John Ermatinger, president of Gap’s Asia Pacific Region, said Gap will tweak its sizes and product mix, including smaller sizes and using brighter colors to appeal to locals.

Ermatinger told The Associated Press that the retailer views its expansion into China as a “major cornerstone” for its international growth.

The move was unrelated to China’s announcement this week that it would let its currency, the yuan, appreciate against the U.S. dollar, Ermatinger said. That change will make prices of U.S. goods more competitive in China.

Ermatinger declined to say how many stores Gap will eventually operate in China or to project its revenue in China.

“Our growth will depend on how well Chinese customers will embrace the brand,” he said.

Gap’s entry comes after extensive analysis of Chinese consumers’ buying habits. Ermatinger said Gap team members interviewed consumers and went through their closets.

Gap is counting on China’s massive online community to fuel Web sales. According to Forrester Research, China had 209.1 million Internet users in 2008, or 16% of the population. Forrester expects that number to increase to 377.1 million, or 27% of the population, by 2013.

A distribution center outside Shanghai will serve all four stores and the China Internet business, which Gap will manage with Shanghai Yi Shang Network Information Co. Ltd., an e-commerce company.

To lead its expansion efforts, the company has appointed Redmond Yeung as president, China for Gap, and Lorenzo Moretti, as managing director, China for Gap. Yeung will lead business development and real estate strategy, and Moretti will focus on all store operations, product-to-market activities and infrastructure development. Based in Shanghai, where Gap will also open its corporate China headquarters, they will report to Ermatinger.

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Target promotes volunteerism with exclusive Ben & Jerry’s flavors

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will debut two new, exclusive Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors at all stores nationwide. The super premium ice cream flavors, Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder, will be available throughout 2010 in mini cups and pints, according to the company.

Berry Voluntary is raspberry cheesecake flavored ice cream laced with white chocolate chunks and raspberry swirls.  Brownie Chew Gooder is vanilla caramel ice cream with fudge brownie pieces, finished with a caramel swirl.   Mini cups will be available for $1.25* and pints will be priced at $3.50. 

“By partnering with the iconic and beloved Ben & Jerry’s, Target is offering our guests even more exclusive, high-quality food options,” said Greg Duppler, SVP merchandising, Target. “Target guests who purchase these new ice cream products will not only enjoy two delicious flavors at an exceptional price, but will also have the satisfaction of supporting two great brands, aligned in their strong heritage of philanthropy and volunteerism.”

Target customers can enjoy the new flavors and do good at the same time. According to the company, customers who register for a volunteer activity at www.VolunteerMatch.org/scoopitforward and forward the opportunity to five friends, will receive a coupon for a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, redeemable at Target stores, while supplies last.  After that time, guests will still be able to participate in the “Scoop It Forward” promotion, and will receive a $1 off coupon in recognition of their volunteer efforts.

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NPD: Appliance sales showing strength

BY CSA STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. According to The NPD Group, sales of major appliances generated double-digit dollar and unit growth of 16% and 12% respectively, from January to May 2010, versus January to May 2009.

“Beginning last August we began to see signs of a recovery for appliances, but the new year confirmed that we’re truly on a growth trajectory – pent-up demand started it, but now we’re seeing results driven by consumer confidence and rebate programs augmented by strong retailer promotions,” said Mark Delaney, director of The NPD Group’s home division.

Most major appliance categories are seeing a boost in sales, but the largest overall increases came from dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes dryers, and washing machines, each with double-digit growth in units and dollars, compared with the first five months of 2009, according to the report.

“It’s encouraging to see such positive results in a sector that’s been struggling for so long. If retailers and manufacturers execute well with their new product offerings and we see sustained improvements in the housing sector, the major appliance industry is poised for a solid year,” ended Delaney.

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