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Moosejaw, Boston

BY CSA STAFF
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Online outdoor clothing and gear retailer Moosejaw’s store in Boston is designed to bring the quirky brand’s “Love the Madness” philosophy to life.

Unlike the company’s previous stores, which involved taking over existing retail locations from other retailers, the new space was created specifically to evoke Moosejaw’s irreverent style and establish a brick-and-mortar presence that truly reflects the brand.

Designed by FRCH Design Worldwide, the new prototype is informal, fun, open and not overly designed. The space is marked by its raw, utilitarian yet purposeful architecture. Each design element is meant to convey authenticity, from the concrete flooring and plywood displays to the pipe railing and exposed ceiling. Carabineers and ropes are used throughout the store to hang displays and graphics, reflecting Moosejaw’s strategy of providing products with a purpose in a non-contrived way.

With online operations core to Moosejaw’s business, FRCH added a window in the shopping space that allows shoppers to look into the back-of-house shipping department. Customers can see the connection between the company’s online and in-store functions, and watch as employees create fun packaging and add stickers to each box.

The dressing rooms reflect the brand’s playful spirit. FRCH gave each room a unique style and feel. One is a disco complete with a shining disco ball; another is a glamorous vanity area. A window from one dressing room looks out to the seating area outside so customers can see their friends (it is strategically positioned so that modesty still prevails.)

Moosejaw wanted to create a community space for customers to gather and interact. To that end, unique experiences are located throughout, including a ping pong table that is used as both a display table and for table tennis tournaments. A cork wall is set up for customers to leave photos, messages and stories from their latest adventures.


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JoS. A. Bank commits to improving sales trends following Q2 earnings update

BY CSA STAFF

HAMPSTEAD, Md. — JoS. A. Bank customers did not respond as favorably to some of the company’s marketing campaigns as they did in the prior year leading to a total sales decline of approximately 11% in the second quarter ended Aug. 3.

The company expects earnings for the quarter to be approximately $0.49 to $0.53 per diluted share, compared with $0.83 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2012.

"While our total sales declined in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, we achieved stability in our gross profit margin rate," said president and CEO R. Neal Black. "Specifically, our gross profit margin rate increased in both the fiscal months of June and July and the overall rate for the second quarter is expected to increase slightly from last year."

Day-to-day sales on the non-promotional portion of JoS. A. Bank’s business in stores increased during the quarter.

"As we implemented new marketing strategies, we were conservative with our marketing expenditures which enabled us to improve our marketing efficiency during the quarter," added Black.

The company is focusing on improving its sales trend and further improving its gross profit margin rate and marketing efficiency for the remainder of fiscal year 2013 —the overall goal being to match prior-year levels.

"We will continue to modify and implement new marketing events and the related media placement to maintain efficiency and to drive sales. We will begin to annualize our declining sales and gross margin trends during the third quarter and for all of the fourth quarter, which means our opportunity for improvement is significant during those periods," said Black.

JoS. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc., established in 1905, is a leading designer, manufacturer and retailer of men’s classically styled tailored and casual clothing, sportswear, footwear and accessories. The company sells its full product line through 612 stores in 44 states and the District of Columbia, a nationwide catalog and an e-commerce website. The company is headquartered in Hampstead, Md.

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Now things really get interesting

BY CSA STAFF

Yesterday’s release of disappointing sales and profits at Walmart was hardly unexpected, but it heightened concerns about the health of the consumer and sparked a broader market sell-off.

Walmart shares had been trending lower after peaking around $78 at the start of the month, but they tumbled nearly $2 on Thursday to close at $74.41 as investors found the sales weakness disconcerting even if it wasn’t unexpected. Even Retailing Today saw it coming. On August 2, we wrote, “Surging home prices and 401K balances have millions of Americans feeling better about their personal balance sheets and the state of the economy, but Walmart’s core shoppers remain under duress and that could spell trouble for second quarter sales.”

That’s not quite the same as declaring the company would outright miss same store sales guidance of flat to up 2% at U.S. stores, but directionally it was correct. The point then, as now, was that a still-challenging job market, a lack of wage growth and high energy costs means Walmart’s core paycheck-to-paycheck shopper is still under pressure to choose between needs and wants.

That means Walmart is in for a challenging back half of the year. The company has already tempered its sales outlook for the third quarter by suggesting comps will be flat. The bulk of back-to-school sales fall in the third quarter and several forecast, including one by the National Retail Federation, has forecast sales this year below last year’s level. Walmart is a prime destination for back-to-school, but if the overall market is shrinking this year it will need to gain share from other competitors just to produce a flat comp.

Things really get interesting in the fourth quarter when the late arrival of Thanksgiving will compress the traditional Christmas selling period by six days. Thanksgiving falls on November 28 this year compared to November 22 last year.

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