OPERATIONS

J.C. Penney to support Dress for Success efforts

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — As part of its charitable giving program, jcp cares, J.C. Penney is inviting its customers to round up their purchases in February to the nearest whole dollar and donate the difference to benefit Dress for Success, an organization that providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help disadvantaged women thrive in work and in life.

Through its dedicated services and programs Dress for Success addresses every phase of a woman’s career — from being unemployed and searching, to recently employed and adjusting, to gainfully employed and succeeding. By rounding up their totals, shoppers will have a personal hand in helping these women graduate from one step to the next on their path to professional fulfillment and, ultimately, economic independence.

“While jcp cares is an established charitable giving program, this partnership with Dress for Success will be the first time that shoppers will be able to round up their purchases on jcp.com, allowing consumers throughout the country to easily support to Dress for Success when shopping online. This component of February’s jcp cares campaign is also inline with Dress for Success’ ongoing goal to provide more digital assets to the women that it serves, so that each woman may hold the power of success in the palm of her hand or access the tools of achievement from any computer.

“We are thrilled to be supporting Dress for Success this month,” said Miki Woodard, president of jcp cares and VP philanthropy at J.C. Penney. “By rounding up their purchases, J.C. Penney shoppers will have a personal hand in helping disadvantaged women take the next step in their path toward professional fulfillment and, ultimately, economic independence.”

J.C. Penney customers can also support Dress for Success through the Facebook social game, WeTopia. Furthermore, customers can make donations to Dress for Success online at JCP.com/jcpcares and find more information about J.C. Penney’s philanthropic commitments.

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News

Online petition asks Victoria’s Secret to find right fit for survivors

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — A breast cancer survivor and her daughter have used the Internet to draw attention to an important issue and potentially create a new category of lingerie.

Debbie Barrett ad Allana Maidenhand-delivered more than 118,000 Change.org petition signatures to Victoria’s Secret’s New York office on Thursday, asking the lingerie giant to make a line of "survivor" mastectomy bras to help breast cancer survivors feel beautiful again.

After delivering the signatures, Allana Maiden and her mother Debbie Barrett met with Tammy Roberts Myers, VP external communications for Limited Brands, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, to share their ideas for a “survivor bra.” Myers then invited the mother and daughter to travel to the Ohio headquarters of Limited Brands for further discussions.

“If there’s anything I could tell the 118,000 people who’ve signed my Change.org petition right now, it’s that Victoria’s Secret is taking very seriously the comments from survivors and their families and friends who want to see ‘Survivor Bras’ in their stores,” said Maiden, after leaving the meeting. “I know their heart is in the right place and they want to do the right thing. Making this bra line would be a win for Victoria’s Secret and a win for survivors — there’s no downside. I think they see that now.”

Maiden started her Change.org campaign asking Victoria’s Secret for a “survivor line” of mastectomy bras after years of watching her mom, a breast cancer survivor, struggle to find bras that were pretty, affordable, and a comfortable fit for her new shape.

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FINANCE

NRF sees only slight increase in Valentine’s Day spending

BY Staff Writer

Washington — Consumers aren’t quite ready to shell out the big bucks for their loved ones this Valentine’s Day as much as they were last year. The 2013 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted for the National Retail Federation by BIGinsight shows only a slight increase in expected sales this year with the average person planning to spend $130.97 on candy, cards, gifts and more, up from $126.03 last year. Total spending will reach $18.6 billion.

More than half (51.0%) of gift givers will buy candy, spending $1.6 billion in total, and another one-third (36.6%) will give flowers, with total spending expected to top $1.9 billion. Others will treat their special someone to jewelry (19.7%), spending more than $4.4 billion on diamonds, gold and silver.

An additional 15.6% will buy clothing, spending more than $1.6 billion. Fifteen percent of gift givers will buy gift cards, totaling to $1.5 billion.

The survey found that more than one-quarter (26.3%) of those celebrating plan to buy their gifts online, up from 19.3% last year and the most in the survey’s 10-year history. Other shoppers will seek out the perfect gift at discount stores (39.6%), department stores (33.2%), specialty stores (22.9%), floral shops (19.6%), jewelry stores (11.2%), specialty clothing stores (7.5%) and through catalogs (2.6%).

The average male will spend significantly more than the average woman this year. Men will spend an average of $175.61 on jewelry, flowers, a romantic evening out and more, while their counterparts will spend approximately $88.78.

Additionally, four in 10 (40.7%) smartphone owners will use their handhelds to shop for gifts, and 46.9% of tablet owners will use their devices to purchase items, research gift ideas and more.

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