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Google launches Shopping Express pilot

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — Google made a quiet announcement on Friday that it is officially launching the pilot of its Google Shopping Express program, which features online delivery initially in the San Francisco Bay area.

In a notice on the company’s website, Google Shopping Express product management director Tom Fallows described the program as a “new experiment,” one that offers “a local delivery service that we hope will make it possible for you to get the items you order online the same day, and at a low cost."

Google Shopping Express promises same-day delivery to customers directly from such retailers as Target, Walgreens, Office Depot, Staples, Toys "R" Us, American Eagle and others. Using Google’s Shopping Express site, users will be able to browse inventory at those stores, put the products they want into virtual shopping bags, and then select a convenient delivery time. A Google Express delivery person will then deliver the products to their doorsteps.

The pilot involves a limited San Francisco test in the beginning, but Google is inviting a broader number of people in San Francisco, as well as consumers in San Jose and San Mateo to sign up to test the new program. Early testers are getting free, unlimited, same-day delivery for six months.

Fallows has suggested that the pilot program will expand, especially as Google is already behind eBay and Amazon in the same-day delivery service marketplace. Ebay’s Now service, which provides same-day delivery for hundreds of stores, is available in San Francisco, New York City and San Jose, Calif. It costs $5 per order while being tested. Amazon provides its Local Express Delivery service in 10 cities, including New York, Las Vegas, Seattle, Boston, and Washington. It is more expensive at $8.99 and up, depending on the size of the delivery.

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Sears former CEO D’Ambrosio saw pay shrink almost 90% in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — An SEC filing on Thursday revealed that Sears Holdings Corp. former CEO Louis D’Ambrosio, who stepped down in February citing family health issues, saw his total compensation package shrink nearly 90% from the prior year.

According to the proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sears said D’Ambrosio’s salary rose to $1 million in 2012 from $930,769 in 2011. However, the value of his perks, such as corporate housing and travel, shrank to $278,741 from $852,037 in 2011.

Sears gave D’Ambrosio a signing bonus of $150,000 and $8 million in stock awards in 2011 after he joined the company. But he received no bonus or stock awards in 2012. Because D’Ambrosio left earlier last month, he forfeited $2 million that would have vested in 2014.

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Polaroid Fotobar, Delray Beach, Fla.

BY CSA STAFF

Polaroid Fotobar, a new retail concept from Polaroid, has opened its first location, in Delray Beach, Fla. The 2,000-sq.-ft. store is designed to allow consumers to take the images from their smartphones and tablet devices and easily turn them into “museum-quality” art that can be framed and hung on a wall or displayed on a desk.

Polaroid Fotobar has a modern, streamlined look, with sleek lines. The Delray Beach location will serve as a prototype for nine additional cites due to open this year, including locations in New York, Las Vegas, and Boston.

Customers can upload photos from their device to one of the store’s many workstations, where they can enhance the images with special filters, adjust the brightness, and make other adjustments. Once the images are uploaded and adjusted, customers can choose from a wide variety of materials and framing options. Images can be framed, matted, and/or printed directly onto a variety of unique substrates including canvas, metal, acrylic, wood and bamboo.

The store also contains a space called “The Studio”: a multi-purpose room that will host classes and parties, and also serves as a professional portrait studio.

“There are currently around 1.5 billion pictures taken every single day and that number continues to grow in tandem with the popularity and quality of camera phones,” Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar, said in a statement back in January. “Unfortunately, even the very best of those pictures rarely ever escape the camera phone with which they were taken to be put on display around our homes and offices. Why? Because turning those pictures into something tangible, creative and permanent is neither easy nor fun. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that.”


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