REAL ESTATE

Inland Real Estate Group receives ethics award

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Oak Brook, Ill. — The Inland Real Estate Group of Cos. has been named the recipient of the 2014 Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics by the Better Business Bureau.

The award was presented at the 17th Annual BBB Awards Luncheon Ceremony at the InterContinental Hotel in Rosemont, Ill.

This is the second Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics that Inland has received from the BBB. The company was presented with its first Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics in 2009. Last year’s winner was The Boeing Co.

“It is unusual to be recognized for the ethics award more than once by the BBB, whose name has long been synonymous with the highest standards of ethical conduct in business,” said Daniel L. Goodwin, chairman and CEO of The Inland Real Estate Group of Cos.

According to the BBB, Torch Award honorees are companies that exemplify ethical business practices and a superior commitment to exceptional standards that benefit their consumers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and surrounding communities. Companies are judged by an independent panel in five categories based on number of employees. With more than 1,500 nominees for 2014, competition for the award was at a record level this year.

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REAL ESTATE

Togo’s enters Tempe, Ariz., with first restaurant

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Tempe, Ariz. — Togo’s Eateries has opened its first restaurant in Tempe, Ariz., owned by current Togo’s franchisees, Monty and Diana Coury, who opened the first Togo’s restaurant in Gilbert, Ariz., last year.

"Since opening our first restaurant in Gilbert, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of support from the community and there is still a huge potential for growth in the market,” said Monty Coury.

The Courys have another Valley restaurant in development and plan to open additional restaurants in Arizona over the next several years.

Recently, Togo’s marked its 40th anniversary with more than 300 open and under development throughout the West.

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News

Rakuten.com Shopping rocked Black Friday

BY CSA STAFF

Black Friday came early for Rakuten.com Shopping. The online marketplace saw a huge jump in visits to the site, consumer sales and conversion on and leading up to the biggest shopping day of the year.

Rakuten.com Shopping reported a rise in consumer sales and traffic beginning the Monday before the big sale days, with a spike on Thanksgiving Day and a crescendo at 10 a.m. PST on Black Friday.

It also reported an increase in consumer sales, including 101% year-over-year growth on Thursday and 61% growth on Black Friday. Cyber Monday success also arrived early, with Saturday and Sunday proving to be huge shopping days. The company saw 76% year-over-year growth on Saturday and 123% year-over-year growth on Sunday. Rakuten.com Shopping merchants saw an overall increase in sales of 66% throughout the extended holiday weekend, compared to last year.

Mobile sales jumped 51% during Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and 31% of all visits came from a mobile device during the Thursday to Monday promotional period. Shoppers were more engaged as well, with conversion rates up 25% and a 22% increase in page views per visit on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

“We were pleased to see a sharp rise in traffic to the site during the holiday, which reflected positively on all of our efforts to educate consumers on our recent rebrand and marketplace offerings,” said Bernard Luthi, COO and CMO, Rakuten.com Shopping. “We had a very strong Wednesday leading into Thanksgiving Day, and Thanksgiving Day was incredible. Similarly, we had a strong Sunday leading into Cyber Monday, which made for an extremely strong showing throughout the entire long weekend. We even saw a spike in sales the week prior to Black Friday, historically unusual in an e-commerce environment.”

The company kicked off its marketing campaign early during the week of Nov. 25 with heavily publicized promotions and more than 2,400 limited-time deals from more than 100 participating marketplace merchants. The company advertised its Rakuten Super Points loyalty program and continued momentum Tuesday and Wednesday following the sales by offering 10% back site-wide. Following the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale days, customers who purchased at Rakuten.com Shopping were rewarded with $5 in Rakuten Super Points.

While the e-commerce site continues to be strongest in the electronics categories such as tablets, laptops and high-end cameras, it is broadening into categories such as home, jewelry, and toys. This holiday weekend, according to the company, some of the biggest sellers included pendant necklaces, Dyson vacuum cleaners, American Girl dolls, Furbies and LED flashlights.

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