Microsoft to open Windows in-store shops in Best Buy
Redmond, Wash. — Microsoft Corp. on Thursday announced that it plans to open 500 “Windows Store” shops in 500 Best Buy stores across the country and in more than 100 Best Buy and Future Shop locations in Canada. The roll out will launch in late June, lasting through September.
The in-store shops will sell exclusively Windows-based tablets and computers and other Microsoft products, with support from dedicated staff, in an interactive environment.
“The Windows Store creates the kind of retail destination we all want to shop in, combining great selection, the latest technology, the best service and the lowest prices,” said Jason Bonfig, VP of computing for Best Buy Co., Minneapolis. “What our customers will see in these 600 stores is something totally new and fully in line with our determination to transform Best Buy.”
The shops will range in size from 1,500 sq. ft. to 2,200 sq. ft., and will showcase a broad range of Microsoft products and accessories, including software and hardware along with the Windows Phone portfolio.
The initiative comes some two months after Samsung Electronics unveiled plans to install its brand shops in more than 1,400 Best Buy stores this year. Best Buy also has dedicated Apple shops in its stores.
In an Associated Press report, Belus Capital Markets analyst Brian Sozzi said Microsoft shop initiative "absolutely makes sense," and he expects more store-within-store formats at Best Buy.
"The fact is Best Buy has prime floor space up for grabs, and tech companies want their best offerings in there (along with the customer service), instead of buried on Amazon," he said in a note to clients.
Microsoft, which operates approximately 65 freestanding stores, said the initiative would add more than 1,200 Best Buy Microsoft-trained sales associates to help customers.
“The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience that will show customers how Windows and Microsoft devices and services can make it easier for them to work and play,” said Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and CFO of the Windows Division at Microsoft.
Dickies gets a little bit country in new ad campaign
FORT WORTH, Texas — Global workwear brand Dickies has teamed up with country music group Eli Young Band. They are offering fans an opportunity to meet the band on the No Shoes Nation Tour with Kenny Chesney.
The contest will award one winner and a guest airfare, hotel accommodations for two nights and tickets to the last tour stop in Foxboro, Mass., on August 24. Dickies is encouraging its customers and fans of band to enter a chance to win on Dickies’ Facebook page from July 1-30. Additional prizes include Dickies apparel autographed by Eli Young Band. The winner will be announced on August 1.
"With their dedication to a rigorous touring schedule and rehearsals, the Eli Young Band has proven themselves to be hard and reliable workers on and off the stage," said Matthew McCartin, marketing chief for Dickies. "At Dickies, we seek out individuals who epitomize the authenticity and purpose-built nature of our brand. We’re glad to find those qualities in musicians who call Texas home, just like we do."
Grammy-nominated Eli Young Band will also be featured in Dickies’ upcoming print and digital brand campaign. Dickies will capture behind-the-scenes coverage on tour with the Eli Young Band on Dickies.com and Eliyoungband.com.
"Dickies was really a no-brainer for the four of us. They are a great American brand," said Jon Jones, bass player for the Eli Young Band. "Their reputation for making hardworking clothing that stands the test of time is something we all identify with and really respect."
Eli Young Band has charted two consecutive #1 hits at Country Radio with "Crazy Girl" and "Even If It Breaks Your Heart." The band has opened for Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan, Jason Aldean and Dave Matthews Band.
Walmart Canada faces emboldened competitor
The Sobey’s chain of food stores, whose parent company counts former Walmart Canada head Dave Ferguson among its board members, has added new square footage to its retail portfolio with the acquisitions of Safeway’s Canadian stores.
The $5.8 billion deal, announced late Wednesday will added Safeway’s 223 stores and 12 manufacturing facilities to Sobey’s existing operation which includes about 1,500 stores under banners such as Sobeys, IGA extra, Thrifty Foods, IGA, Foodland and FreshCo.
Sobey’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nova Scotia based Empire Company Limited. Interestingly, Empire’s board include’s Dave Ferguson, the former CEO of Walmart Canada in the late 1990s. Ferguson also ran Walmart European operations from 2000 to 2003. He left the company in 2003 and joined the Empire board in 2006.
The all cash deal will result in net proceeds to Safeway of about $2 billion which will be used to pay down debt while Sobey’s picks up a retail operation that generated sales last year of $6.7 billion in Canadian dollars and a $428 million operating profit.
"We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Sobeys in order to realize the higher multiples attributed to Canadian supermarket companies," said Robert Edwards, president and CEO of Safeway. "The substantial cash proceeds from this transaction will allow us to create value for Safeway stakeholders and contribute to the growth of the ongoing business."
Safeway currently operates 1,415 U.S. stores and 20 manufacturing facilities and last year generated sales of $37.5 billion.
The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies, but it must pass muster with Canada’s Competition Act and is expected to close during the fourth quarter