FINANCE

IBM forecast: Jewelry sales to shine this year

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Jewelry sales are expected to grow more than 11% in the second quarter and 9% overall this year, according to a new IBM Big Data-based forecast.

According to the analysis, improved consumer confidence, lower unemployment and enhanced stock dividends from fourth quarter 2012 have combined to leave people ready to start spending on luxury items again, like jewelry.

In addition, key retailers are buttressing the economic landscape and driving sales by leveraging Big Data analytics to better understand and respond to customers and trends. Sterling Jewelers, for example, which owns the popular Jared and Kay brands, overhauled its digital channels to better respond to changing consumer preferences. The move led to an increase in online sales of 49% this past holiday season, according to the IBM report.

In addition to the projected spike in jewelry sales, the latest forecast also predicts a boost to in-store consumer electronics sales, which are projected to grow 2.33% in the second quarter and 1.58% overall for 2013, after five years of decline. Children’s clothing is projected to increase 5.67% in the quarter.

Sterling commissioned IBM for research that included a customer segmentation analysis, voice of the customer surveys, and in-store observations. With deeper insights into customer needs and distinct shopping scenarios – as well as the capabilities required to support them online – they were able to extend the Kay and Jared in-store shopping experience online and into the mobile channel.

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REAL ESTATE

Century 21 to unveil expanded Manhattan flagship

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Century 21 Department Store will unveil its expanded flagship location in downtown Manhattan on April 9. The retailer has added three new selling floors, for a total of six floors and over 225,000 sq. ft. of shopping.

The newly expanded location will feature The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf café, and a new M.A.C Cosmetics store on the ground floor. Additional updates include renovating store fixtures and decor, creating extra fitting rooms and widening aisles to create a more spacious shopping atmosphere. Revamps will continue through spring as the retailer finishes renovations on its shoe department, making it even easier for guests to navigate.

"The redesign is all part of our commitment to deliver the best possible shopping experience," said Raymond Gindi, CEO of Century 21 Department Store.

The company also operates several stores in the New York City metro area and New Jersey.

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News

Gander Mountain opens first firearms store in Minnesota

BY CSA STAFF

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gander Mountain will open Minnesota’s first Gander Mtn. Firearms Super Center in Rogers. in late April. It will be the company’s 12th store in the state.

Remodeling and construction activity is underway on an existing 30,000-square-foot facility at 20870 Rogers Drive, near the intersection of I-94 and State Highway 101. The Gander Mtn. Firearms Super Center is a new concept which will provide a specialty retail outlet focused specifically on fulfilling the needs of firearms enthusiasts, featuring thousands of new and used firearms of all kinds, and the industry’s best selection of firearms accessories, specialty apparel, ammunition and security.

Gander Mtn. Firearms Super Center will buy and sell a huge selection of used firearms and is staffed by firearms specialists on duty to give shoppers more one-on-one service.

“Gander Mountain is already recognized as the firearms experts, but with our latest Gander Mtn. Firearms Super Center we are taking the experience of shopping for firearms and accessories to an entirely new level of selection and service,” said David Pratt, CEO of Gander Mountain, “We are excited to bring this new retail experience and opportunity to the people of Minnesota and we’re confident that our unmatched selection and the expertise of our specialists will make this a premiere destination for those with an interest in firearms.”

The new store will provide the largest assortment and selection of firearms solutions for hunting, self-defense, recreation, competition and training, while at the same time upholding the highest level of compliance in accordance with all local, state and federal laws. Highly knowledgeable, professional and customer-focused store personnel are ready to assist you to in becoming a satisfied, prepared and well-informed firearms owner and user.

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