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Linens ‘n Things Sales Fall in 2Q

BY CSA STAFF

Clifton, N.J. Linens Holding Co. said Tuesday its sales dropped 21% in its second quarter. The company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, reported total sales of $504 million for the quarter and retail sales of $468.1 million.

Linens Holding said the retail sales figure does not include $35.9 million in liquidation sales related to the closing of 120 stores.

The retailer said the drop in retail sales was mainly due to an 18.3% decline in same-store sales.

The company also said its sales fell because it was operating 105 fewer stores in this year’s quarter.

Linens Holding did not offer any indication of its earnings for the quarter, saying it needed more time to complete its financial statements due to its Chapter 11 filing.

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Trend Tracker: Coca-Cola hydrates

BY CSA STAFF

Energy drinks have been a dynamic category as products reinvent themselves. Coca-Cola now is emphasizing functionality with the launch of Full Throttle Hydration, a new, non-carbonated energy drink that offers both electrolytes and a unique energy/vitamin blend.

A tropical mix flavor already has rolled in 16-ounce aluminum cans (pictured) throughout the Southeast. The product debuted with an official sponsorship of the 2008 Full Throttle Hydration Kiteboarding tour in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Destin and Daytona, Fla., over the July 4th holiday weekend.

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Sears, Kmart aim young in new campaigns

BY CSA STAFF

Marketing to teens now takes innovation and some unusual promotions. The latest generation of children is the most tech-savvy yet, so to market to these kids, retailers have to hit them where they dwell—cyberspace. And one company that has shown a great willingness to push the envelope with teen marketing is Sears Holdings.

Kmart, through a partnership with YouTube, is encouraging ‘junior fashionistas’ to share their unique back-to-school style and personality. Teens can enter the “Show Your Back-To-School Style: Get in the Commercial” contest at www.Kmart.com/YouTube from July 18 to Aug. 17, by uploading 30- to 60-second commercials that demonstrate how Kmart works with their unique style. The top 20 videos will be featured and voted for on YouTube through Sept. 1. The winning commercial will be professionally produced and aired on TV.

Sears, which launched a prom campagin on teen networking site Facebook several months ago, has also entered into BTS partnerships with several big names in youth interactive marketing. To ensure that its message of “Don’t Just Go Back. Arrive.” resonates, the retailer has collaborated with 13 Web sites to create virtual worlds and social networking applications that direct teens to its “Arive Lounge,” www.arrivelounge.com , which features exclusive, interactive content from Sears’ 2008 back-to-school offering.

Also tapping into the “High School Musical” phenomenon, the retailer’s campaign features Vanessa Hudgens and her latest music videos where she is shown in an array of Sears BTS fashions.

The new marketing initiatives seem to have bypassed parents and instead are targeting tweens and teens directly. Choosing to tout their latest styles in the virtual world, Sears and Kmart are helping to get kids excited over the coolest looks for BTS and are allowing them to direct their parents to the stores of their choice.

“Expanding our marketing strategy into the online world…is a critical means of developing engagement and brand loyalty within the youth demographic,” said Richard Gerstein, Sears’ senior vp and chief marketing officer. “By modifying our strategy to reach tweens in their own environment, we are demonstrating to them how Sears can be a part of their lives, from their entertainment to their school wardrobe.”

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