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JLL ‘Spreads the Cheer’ across managed mall portfolio

BY CSA STAFF

Jones Lang LaSalle, Atlanta, has launched its annual “Spread the Cheer” holiday campaign — featuring digital media innovations — across its portfolio of managed shopping centers.

To engage shoppers and drive sales and traffic during the most important retail season of the year, the firm will share insider intelligence on the best products and offers at its shopping centers through e-blasts, social media and text messages while also engaging them with events, giveaways and random acts of kindness across its 98 million-sq.-ft. nationwide retail portfolio.

“With all signs pointing to 2011 holiday season being a make or break time for many retailers, we’re pulling out all the stops to engage customers and get them excited about all the great deals and unique gifts at their favorite retailers,” said Greg Maloney, CEO and president, Jones Lang LaSalle Retail. “Starting with an early-morning wake-up text on Black Friday, shoppers around the nation will have access to special deals, events and perks at their local shopping center to help them get their shopping done, and more importantly, enjoy the holiday season and its traditions.”

Campaign highlights include the aforementioned wake-up text on Black Friday, which will broadcast information about the day’s activities and special promotions at local Jones Lang LaSalle-managed shopping center. Participating malls and shopping centers will also use social media and text messaging to host Black Friday contests for perks such as complimentary gift wrapping, VIP parking and other center-specific giveaways such as Amazon Kindle e-readers and shopping sprees.

On the more traditional marketing front, select Jones Lang LaSalle centers will hand out goodie bags with retailer coupons, free gift cards and other prizes, offer early-bird door-buster specials and host special holiday events. For example, Yorktown Center in Lombard, Ill. will hold its annual “Festive Sweater Friday” event. Shoppers who wear a festive sweater can win a gift card valued between $10 and $100.

Among the new holiday programs in 2011, participating Jones Lang LaSalle centers will engage shoppers with a Holiday Countdown Calendar. From December 1 through 24, shoppers can check out the Countdown Calendar at their local shopping center or on Facebook. Each day a new text code will be revealed that shoppers can use to get the offer of the day from select retailers.

“The Holiday Countdown Calendar is our signature integrated program this year and it’s a great example of how a time-honored tradition can be leveraged through digital marketing,” said Julie Rickey, senior VP and director of consumer marketing, Jones Lang LaSalle Retail. “The Countdown Calendar helps shoppers celebrate the anticipation of the holidays and get great deals while driving traffic and sales to our retailers.”

Jones Lang LaSalle-managed shopping centers are integrating social and mobile marketing into their traditional holiday programs to create simple but meaningful ways to celebrate the season. For example, shoppers can opt-in to receive a message from Santa that may include an offer for a giveaway, goodie bag featuring retailer coupons, a discount on a photo with Santa and details about Pet Nights with Santa.

The firm will also leverage the recent roll out of its digital media programs including The Scoop customer loyalty program, the My Style social media program and center-specific mobile apps to deliver up-to-the-minute information on fashion trends, retailer promotions and events for the holidays.

In addition to marketing initiatives, shopping center staff will implement hundreds of ways to Spread the Cheer this holiday season including festive events, random acts of kindness like handing out free bottled water, scraping snow off windshields, helping carry packages to customers’ cars or distributing complimentary gift cards to shoppers.


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Mattel CEO to retire at year’s end

BY CSA STAFF

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Mattel has announced that Robert A. Eckert, 57, will retire as CEO, after 11 years with the company, effective Dec. 31. The board of directors has named Bryan G. Stockton, 58, who has held the position of chief operating officer for the last year, to succeed Eckert as CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2012. Eckert has agreed to continue in his role as chairman of the board, and the board has elected Stockton as a member of the board, effective January 1, 2012.

“The board respects Bob’s decision to step back at this time, and wants to recognize the superb job he’s done the past 11 years in building a high performance culture at Mattel and delivering truly superior shareholder returns. He leaves behind a remarkable legacy of integrity and success,” said Christopher A. Sinclair, independent presiding director for Mattel. “We’re also grateful that Bob has agreed to serve as non-executive chairman and support Bryan in a seamless transition. Finally, we are delighted to have an experienced and proven leader like Bryan assume the CEO position. He’s been a key architect behind Mattel’s rapid international growth and has also helped to shape many of the company’s recent growth initiatives. We’re confident that he’ll build on Bob’s record of innovation and success.”

In May 2000, Eckert joined Mattel as chairman and chief executive officer from Kraft Foods Inc. Under his leadership of disciplined financial focus, Mattel delivered against its long-term performance targets of delivering growth, building operating margins, and generating and deploying significant cash flow. Through year-end 2010, the company generated $8.2 billion in cash which was used to strengthen the balance sheet and return about $4.6 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases.

“Simply stated, I have loved working at Mattel, and it has been my privilege to work alongside the most talented and dedicated people in the toy business. Our employees have built this company into what it is today. While my decision to retire has not been an easy one, I am confident that we have the momentum in the marketplace and the leadership in place to take the company to the next level,” said Eckert. “Bryan has a proven track record as not only a great operational leader, but also as a seasoned strategist. Under Bryan’s leadership, I am confident that the company will realize its strategic vision to truly create the future of play.”

For the past year, Stockton has served as chief operating officer with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the company, including its business units: Mattel Brands, Fisher-Price, American Girl, and the North American and International divisions, as well as responsibility for the Operations and Corporate Responsibility functions. He joined Mattel in November 2000 as EVP business planning and development, and was responsible for identifying and developing strategic opportunities for the company, as well as managing all merger and acquisition activity. He gained responsibility for International in 2003 and was promoted to president of International in 2007.

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Another strong quarter for Hibbett

BY CSA STAFF

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Healthy growth in both sales and earnings at Hibbett Sports during the third quarter indicate that sports-related merchandise remains in demand despite an overall weak economic market.

The company reported net sales for the quarter ncreased 10.6% to $185.2 million compared with $167.4 million for the same period ended Oct. 30, 2010. Comparable-store sales increased 7%. Net income for the quarter increased 26.8% to $16 million compared with $12.6 million for the same period last year. Earnings per diluted share increased 34.1% to 59 cents compared with 44 cents for the same period last year.

Jeff Rosenthal, president and CEO, stated, "We are pleased to report the eighth consecutive quarter of comparable store sales increases and a record third quarter operating margin. Strong footwear and apparel sales, improved inventory management, and operational excellence continue to drive our results. We look forward to the holiday season and have increased our full year fiscal 2012 guidance."

Hibbett said it now expects earnings for fiscal 2012 to be in the range of $2.05 to $2.11 per diluted share with an expected comparable-store sales increase in the mid-single digit range for the fourth quarter.

During the quarter, Hibbett opened16 new stores, expanded 4 high performing stores and closed 3 underperforming stores, bringing the store base to 815 in 26 states as of Oct. 29. In the fourth quarter, the company said it expects to open 19 to 21 new stores and close one to three underperforming stores. In fiscal 2012, the company said it expects to open 51 to 53 new stores, expand 16 high performing stores and close 16 to 18 stores.

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