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Hudson’s Bay has profitable quarter

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto — Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) had an overall successful first quarter of fiscal 2013 despite some sluggish performance at its Lord & Taylor banner.

The company reported gross profit of $356 million for the quarter ended May 4, up 4% from $341 million a year earlier. Retail sales also grew 4%, from $848 million to $884 million. Consolidated same-store sales increased 4% as well.

Lord & Taylor experienced a 1.4% same-store sales decline, but an 8% improvement at Hudson’s Bay helped offset it. The retailer attributed the impact of poor weather on Lord & Taylor’s declining traffic while citing strong performance of men’s apparel, ladies’ shoes, cosmetics, handbags, accessories and certain home categories, the continued growth of e-commerce sales and the company’s five Topshop/Topman stores as driving traffic at Hudson’s Bay. The company also primarily attributed its gross profit improvement to Hudson’s Bay performance.

“We are pleased with our first quarter performance," said HBC CEO Richard Baker. "Our strong sales growth can be attributed to several factors, including improvements in store productivity, increased e-commerce sales and our partnership with Topshop/Topman. These strategic initiatives drove gains at Hudson’s Bay, which continues to outperform its competitors. At Lord & Taylor, our sales performance was impacted by unfavorable year over year weather patterns."

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PepsiCo announces winners of Recycle Rally

BY CSA STAFF

PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo has chosen three schools as the grand prize winners of the 2012-13 PepsiCo Dream Machine Recycle Rally, a national recycling program and contest designed to encourage students to recycle every day.

H&M Potter Elementary School in Bayville, N.J. (K-5th grade), St. Bede Catholic School in Ingleside, Ill. (K-8th grade) and Westfield High School in Houston, Texas (9th-12th grade) will each receive $25,000 to be used toward "Dream Green School Makeovers." Previous winners have used grand prize funds to purchase energy efficient appliances or construct outdoor learning spaces.

During this year’s Recycle Rally contest, each of the winning schools recycled the most PET plastic bottles and aluminum cans in their respective contest brackets, which are determined by school size. These three winners collectively recycled 2.85 million beverage containers — enough to stretch from PepsiCo’s corporate headquarters in Westchester County, N.Y., all the way to Washington, D.C., if lined up end to end.

Each grand prize-winning school joined Dream Machine Recycle Rally representatives and notable members of their communities for awards ceremonies this spring, including the check presentation ceremony, which will be hosted at H&M Potter Elementary School in Bayville, N.J. Special guests include Ocean County Freeholder Joseph Vicari, who will share a proclamation from U.S. Congressman Jon Runyan to congratulate the school for collecting more containers than any other school in the contest despite its modest enrollment of fewer than 600 students.

At the Grand Prize celebrations, each school was treated to hear the personal story from one of the 600 graduates from the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with disabilities, which is a beneficiary of this program’s charitable donations.

In total, PepsiCo has awarded nearly $200,000 in prizes to dozens of Recycle Rally schools across the country throughout the 2012-2013 school year contest. As a result, PepsiCo has been able to help divert almost 700,000 pounds of aluminum and plastic beverage containers from landfills and turn them back into millions of new beverage containers.

Each winning school rallied not only its students, faculty and administration, but also its surrounding communities to support the program and encourage everyone to protect the environment. Their methods included recycling drives, community drop-offs and competitions to educate and engage individuals and breathe vitality into Recycle Rally communities.

"PepsiCo promotes environmental sustainability throughout all aspects of our business, and we’re committed to finding innovative ways to cut costs and minimize our impact on the environment through energy and water conservation and reduction of packaging volume," said Tom Mooradian, Recycle Rally program manager. "Recycling is an important part of PepsiCo’s overall environmental sustainability efforts, and we continue to be impressed by the passion and commitment of everyone who participates in the Dream Machine Recycle Rally. This year’s winners not only worked tirelessly to help keep our earth clean, but also to raise awareness amongst students about the importance of recycling and hopefully creating lifelong recyclers in the process."

Dream Machine Recycle Rally is a nationwide school recycling program designed to raise awareness among students, grades K-12, about the importance of recycling and encourage them to make recycling part of their everyday lives. The Dream Machine Recycle Rally is part of the broader Dream Machine Recycling Initiative.

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Threadless tweets into action

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago — Omnichannel specialty apparel retailer Threadless takes an active approach to Twitter marketing that has resulted in significant lifts in site traffic and customer engagement. At the recent Internet Retailer conference in Chicago, representatives from Threadless and Twitter discussed how retailers can get more from their Twitter campaigns.

“Every tweet was a call to action,” said Threadless Marketing Director Todd Lido. “We were seeing growth but it felt like the strategy was getting stale.”

To breathe some fresh air into its Twitter marketing efforts, Threadless, which operates a single store in Chicago as well as Internet and mobile commerce channels, started using more imagery as well as short videos created with the Vine mobile service and produced a 40% lift in site traffic. Lido said the fact the retailer carefully planned this strategy before implementing it was a key factor in its success.

“It’s pretty important you plan your Twitter content,” he stated. “Lay out tentpoles, milestones like store openings and product launches, and prepare tweets around them.”

Lido also suggested retailers offer customers a look behind the scenes using Twitter images and videos.

“Companies can come off as monolithic to consumers,” he said. “They appreciate knowing who’s behind the curtain.”

Lido gave a real-life example of a recent Twitter campaign Threadless ran that tied into the release of the superhero blockbuster “Iron Man 3.”

“We ran a design challenge related to the ‘Iron Man 3’ launch in mid-April, before the movie came out,” said Lido. “We targeted those who were tweeting about the movie.”

Results of this highly targeted campaign included a 2% engagement rate, compared with the .07% average engagement rate of Twitter promotions, and a sales lift that was 27 times normal volume.

Russ Laraway, director of SMB sales for Twitter, added some more insight into how retailers can attract more attention with Twitter campaigns.

“First get the content down, then add voice, then hit tweet,” Laraway advised.

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