FINANCE

Gap Rethinks Marketing Plan

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco A disappointing fourth quarter is prompting Gap Inc. to abandon its spring TV campaign and curb other marketing plans, according to an article in Brandweek.

Gap reported sales of $4.67 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter, ending Feb. 2, down 5% compared to the same timeframe last year. By trimming some marketing programs, the retailer hopes to ride out a “volatile economic environment,” CEO Glenn Murphy, said in a conference call to analysts on Feb. 28.

The retailer already cut its ad spend in half in 2007, spending an estimated $55 million, down from $117 million in 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Now Gap is re-evaluating marketing plans for the second half of 2008.

“We’re very aware of the environment we’re operating in 2008, but not all of our marketing money is being revisited,” Murphy said. “Some portion is being re-looked at to make sure it’s being used appropriately, given that consumer sentiment is where it is, and that particularly applies at Old Navy.”

That said, marketing plans for Old Navy and Banana Republic will currently remain similar to last year. However, the retailer will forgo a spring TV campaign for its Gap brand, said the company’s executive VP and CFO Sabrina Simmons.

Same-store sales for both Old Navy and Gap decreased by 5% to $1.8 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively, while Banana Republic posted a 2% gain to $764 million.

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A&P adds ACE breads to select stores

BY CSA STAFF

MONTVALE, N.J. A&P has partnered with ACE Bakery, a leading artisan bakery supplier, to bring a select line of stone-ground whole grain breads to certain A&P, Waldbaum’s, The Food Emporium and Super Fresh stores.

According to A&P, it will be the first grocery chain to offer a dedicated whole grain bread product line.

“Studies show that eating more whole grains rather then refined grains reduces your risk of diabetes, helps you maintain your weight, and cuts your risk of stroke and heart disease.  ACE whole grain breads have been recognized by the Whole Grains Council as one of the wholesome, delicious ways for consumers to ensure they are getting the recommended servings of whole grains,” said Linda Haynes, co-founder of ACE Bakery.

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B&N unveils interactive book studio

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Barnes & Noble has launched a new multimedia desitination on Barnes & Noble.com that features video and audio series geared toward bibliophiles. According to Barnes & Noble, the Barnes & Noble Studio (www.bn.com/studio) will include original content about books, readers and writers, complemented by user-generated material.

Barnes & Noble Studio will be the destination for book lovers. A place where readers will go for inspiration and discovery, to view and listen to content and recommend it to other readers who share their literary interests and passions, said Mike Skagerlind, vp and head of digital media for Barnes & Noble.com. Our programming celebrates the diversity and creativity that surround the world of books, authors and readers in a way that is useful, entertaining, and accessible. Barnes & Noble Studio will do for the book what the cooking show did for the recipe. 

Programs on Barnes & Noble Studio include, “Barnes & Noble Tagged!,” a Web series that focuses on the latest in book news, and “Book Obsessed,” a documentary-style series that examines the lives of passionate readers. Visitors to the Studio can also find book-related videos on a variety of genres including fiction, mystery and romance.

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