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Gomez: QVC, Dell provided best online experience for desktop and mobile websites

BY CSA STAFF

Lexington, Mass. — QVC provided the best online experience for its mobile website and Dell provided the best experience for its desktop site, according to Gomez, the web performance division of Compuware Corp. The company completed its seasonal report card of mobile shopping and websites by announcing the Top 5 retailers with the highest performance satisfaction index scores.

The retailers with the top overall performance satisfaction index scores for their mobile websites were QVC, Newegg, Williams Sonoma, Amazon and Dell. The retailers with the top overall performance satisfaction index scores for their websites (desktop) were Dell, QVC, Williams Sonoma, Sears and Office Depot.

The Compuware-Gomez Retail Satisfaction Index measured and provided scores based on the aggregate technical performance (response time, availability and consistency) of the Top U.S. retailing and mobile websites.

The survey found lags in mobile performance. Although mobile device shopping accelerated in 2010, website retailers did not, as a whole, meet customer expectations, showing an aggregate UX score of 47.3, which is considered “tolerable,” as compared with the aggregate UX score of 84.2 for desktop websites.

"Mobile websites are reminiscent of where the overall web was 10 years ago, performance-wise," said Matt Poepsel, VP performance strategies for Compuware Gomez.

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Report: Commercial real estate markets begin long, slow recovery

BY CSA STAFF

Princeton, N.J. — A report released Tuesday by NAI Global said that real estate conditions worldwide had stabilized and were beginning to improve.

According to NAI Global’s 25th annual Global Market Report, after a prolonged, challenging period marked by frozen credit, sidelined investors, stalled development, rising vacancy rates and declining rental rates and property values, modest improvement is expected in just about every market sector and geography in 2011.

“Although 2010 was another very challenging year for the industry, we began to see clear signs that the global economy and commercial real estate markets had stabilized and were beginning to improve with a noticeable pickup in transaction volume around the world,” said Jeffrey M. Finn, NAI Global president and CEO.

“Companies around the globe are taking advantage of the current market, extending or renegotiating leases, securing investment properties, disposing of underperforming assets and finalizing plans for growth in the next 24 months. We expect a much more active market for buyers, sellers and occupiers as conditions continue to improve,” he said.

With regard to retail specifically, the report said that the nation’s retail markets appear to have stabilized. While some markets still struggle to fill big boxes vacated by national chains, others have seen new entries and local retailers upgrading to better locations, according to the report. The national average vacancy rate for downtown/CBD retail space stood at 8.2% in 2010, down from 8.9% in 2009, while rents slipped from $39.90 in 2009 to $39.79 in 2010.

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Dots acquired by Irving Place Capital

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Private equity firm Irving Place Capital announced Tuesday that it acquired value-oriented women’s apparel and accessory retailer Dots. Terms of the transaction, which closed on Jan. 3, were not disclosed.

“This acquisition is a wonderful opportunity for Dots to capitalize on its brand and accelerate its growth through its partnership with IPC, one of the most successful investors in specialty apparel retail,” said Bob Glick, founder and outgoing CEO, Dots, Glenwillow, Ohio, which operates more than 400 stores within a 26-state footprint.

Glick will succeed as chief executive of Dots by Rick Bunka, a former president of the chain.

“With the strength of the Dots brand and the investments we have made in our teams, stores and infrastructure, we are excited about the significant growth opportunities we see ahead,” Bunka said. “We are confident that Irving Place Capital’s investment and expertise in growing retail companies into nationally recognized brands will help us achieve our goal of delivering affordable fashion to more customers than ever before.”

IPC’s notable retail investments have included Aeropostale, New York & Company, The Vitamin Shoppe, Seven for All Mankind, and Stuart Weitzman.

“Historically some of IPC’s most successful investments have been in high-growth specialty retailing companies,” said John Howard, CEO of IPC. “We are looking forward to working with Dots’ management team to grow the business and drive incremental value. With a strong position in the affordable apparel segment, a loyal existing customer base, and a committed management team, Dots represents a compelling investment opportunity.”

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