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Macy’s in deal with online retailer in China

BY Marianne Wilson

Cincinnati — Macy’s Inc. will start selling some of its private brand merchandise directly to shoppers in China through a deal with an online retailer there.

The chain said it will the goods through a Macy’s section on Omei.com, a newly established China-based online retailer of in-season luxury and fashion brands operated by VIPStore Co., a Chinese e-commerce firm and parent company of Omei.com

In addition, Macy’s has made an equity investment of $15 million in VIPStore. Macy’s Inc. joins other venture capital providers, including Intel Capital, in acquiring a minority stake in the company. Along with Omei.com, VIPStore operates Jiapin.com, an established flash sales site.

“Our relationship with VIPStore will allow us to gain additional experience in the fast-growing Chinese market, and to better understand how consumers across China interact with Macy’s and the products we sell,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s. “We continue to believe there is significant long-term opportunity internationally for both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. But we need to be certain that our future decisions in this regard are based on fact and experience.”

The Macy’s section on Omei.com is expected to begin selling an assortment of I.N.C. women’s and men’s fashions in spring 2013. Other Macy’s private brands are planned to roll out in the following seasons.

Visitors to the Macy’s section of Omei.com can link to the full merchandise assortment available to Chinese customers on macys.com. Orders placed through Omei.com will be filled locally through that company’s facilities in China. Orders placed by Chinese customers on Macys.com will be fulfilled through the United States, as they are today.

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Survey ranks customers’ favorite grocery shopping destinations

BY Alaric Dearment

Boulder, Colo. — Giant-Landover and ShopRite are shoppers’ two favorite supermarkets, according to results of a survey released Tuesday.

Market Force Information released results of a survey of 6,428 U.S. and Canadian consumers conducted in March, showing Giant-Landover in the top spot, followed by ShopRite, Walmart, Publix and Costco. Giant, officially known as Giant Food and based in Landover, Md., got high marks for its fast checkouts and organic options, but discount grocer Aldi beat out the others on price, while Publix was recognized for atmosphere and courteous staff. Walmart was recognized for convenience as a one-stop shopping destination, but placed last for courteous staff and high-quality meat and produce.

Shoppers ranked the deli, butcher and baker as the most important departments, and considered high-quality produce more important than high-quality meat, with long wait times in the checkout lines causing the most dissatisfaction. The survey also found that private-label products showed little differentiation from retailer to retailer, indicating an opportunity for grocers to distinguish themselves.

"We discovered that merely satisfying customers isn’t enough to move them to action," Market Force chief marketing officer Janet Eden-Harris said. "When grocers can create experiences that truly delight customers, they can establish brand advocates who are almost guaranteed to recommend that grocery store to friends and family."

The survey found that among "delighted" customers — those who rated their shopping experience at 5 on a five-point scale — 70% were likely to recommend the store to another person, while only 11% of those who rated their experience at 4 were likely to recommend it. A large majority, 88%, said they were either somewhat or very satisfied by their experience, while 12% were neutral, dissatisfied or not at all satisfied. Among those reporting dissatisfaction, 52% reported long wait times at the checkout line as the reason, while 48% cited the inability to find a desired item, 39% cited poor cashier service and 29% cited produce quality.

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Legal expert joins Sears Canada board

BY Staff Writer

Toronto — Sears Canada has named Don Ross to its board of directors, effective immediately. Ross is a partner at a prominent law firm in Toronto and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the New York State Bar Association, and the Canadian, American and International Bar Associations.

Sears Canada also announced today the resignation from the board of Deidra Merriwether, SVP and president retail services of Sears Holdings.

"The board of directors of Sears Canada is pleased to have attracted Ross to our board," said William Crowley, chairman of the board of Sears Canada. "Ross brings extensive experience in both domestic and cross-border commercial matters as well as in corporate governance, and the board welcomes such an esteemed lawyer, educator and author."

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