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Kohl’s is People’s Pick in new poll by Harris Interactive

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Kohl’s is the recipient of the People’s Pick award in The Harris Poll Customer Relationship Series, conducted by Harris Interactive. The award cognizes the strength of consumers’ bonds with mid-tier department stores and reflects the customers’ connections and future intentions.

The poll measure the strength of a brands relationship with their customers based on scores in three key dimensions: emotional affinity, rational performance and behavioral intentions. Kohl’s edged J.C. Penney on two of three customer relationship metrics – emotional and behavioral – while sharing the lead with J.C. Penney on the rational dimension.

"While neck and neck with J.C. Penney on several metrics, what really stands in Kohl’s favor is the customer’s perception of the unique benefits offered by the department store, as well as their advocacy for Kohl’s as demonstrated in their likelihood to continue to shop at and recommend the department store to friends, family and colleagues," stated Mike Chadsey, senior consultant for Harris Interactive’s customer relationship consulting team.

For example, Chadsey noted, a particular competitive advantage is Kohl’s performance on providing unique benefits (5.4), scoring significantly higher than other mid tier retailers (J.C. Penney (5.1), Dillard’s (4.9), Sears (4.9) and Macy’s (4.8).

“Kohl’s has earned the desired behaviors that retailers seek in a long term customer relationship,” he said. “The challenge will be to find ways to maintain and leverage that level of engagement while striving to improve store profitability."

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CEO of Urban Outfitters resigns

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Philadelphia — Urban Outfitters announced Tuesday that Glen T. Senk has resigned as CEO, effective Jan. 9. The company named chairman and co-founder Richard Hayne as his replacement.

Senk, 55, joined the company in 1994 as president of Anthropologie. He became a director in 2004 and CEO in 2007. Senk indicated that he plans to pursue another opportunity, but that he will remain with the company for a period of time to assist management with the transition. He has also resigned from the board of directors.

"Glen joined the company nearly 18 years ago when the Anthropologie business was a single-store prototype. We are forever grateful for his passion, creativity and leadership in building the Anthropologie brand to what it is today. We are also thankful for his countless contributions having served as the URBN CEO since 2007," said Hayne. "We wish Glen all the best in his future endeavors."

Urban Outfitter s operates the Anthropologie, Free People, BHLDN, Terrain and Urban Outfitters brands.

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IBM: Mobile shopping doubles over holiday

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Armonk, N.Y. — On Tuesday, IBM released its final Benchmark announcement for the 2011 holiday season, detailing a continued strong performance for mobile as well as an overall increase in online spending for December 2011.

According to the report, the U.S. online retail sector delivered 7.5% growth in December 2011 compared to the same period last year. This followed a strong November where both Black Friday 2011 and Cyber Monday 2011 delivered double-digit growth over 2010.

Other key findings of the IBM report included:

  • Mobile traffic experienced significant growth, as 14.6% of all online sessions on a retailer’s site were initiated from a mobile device, more than double the rate of 5.6% over this same period in 2010;
  • Sales from mobile devices doubled, reaching 11% versus 5.5% in December 2010;
  • Apple’s iPhone and iPad ranked one and two for mobile device retail traffic (5.2% and 4.3% respectively). Android was third at 4.1%;
  • Shoppers using the iPad also continued to drive more retail purchases than any other device with conversion rates reaching 6.3% compared witho 3.1% for all mobile devices; and
  • By category, department stores online sales were up 18% over last year; home goods reported a 15.6% increase and apparel sales increased 16.3%.

"This past December consumers remained committed to finding the best online deals whether through their PC or mobile device,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer, IBM Smarter Commerce.

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