OPERATIONS

Neiman Marcus debuts first Foursquare challenge

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Neiman Marcus said Thursday it has launched its first-ever foursquare challenge to take place on Oct. 1 in conjunction with the department store retailer’s Shoe & Handbag Event.

As part of the challenge, Neiman Marcus will hide 15 Nancy Gonzalez clutches in secret locations throughout its stores. Participants will engage in a hunt for the clutches by unlocking a message when they check into Neiman Marcus stores on foursquare. The "Check-in Special" will indicate whether the user is in the vicinity of a hidden clutch, and if so, where to look for it. The player who first locates the handbag gets to keep it.

In addition, all 41 Neiman Marcus stores will offer foursquare users the opportunity to register to win a Nancy Gonzalez clutch.

"Foursquare is another example of how Neiman Marcus is reaching both new and loyal customers with mobile and digital communications to create a unique in-store experience," said Gabrielle de Papp, VP corporate public relations and social media, Neiman Marcus Group. "Our hope is to engage with our customers in a fun and stimulating way while showcasing our assortment of fashion accessories."

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OPERATIONS

Report: U.S. consumer confidence hits near-record low

BY Staff Writer

New York City — A report released Thursday by Bloomberg said that consumer confidence in the United States slumped last week to the second-lowest level on record.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to minus 53 in the period ended Sept. 25 from minus 52.1 the prior week. Similar readings were reached three times in the first half of 2009 and surpassed only by all-time lows of minus 54 plumbed in November 2008 and again in January 2009.

The vast majority — 93% — of survey respondents had a negative opinion of the economy as companies remain reluctant to hire and wages fail to keep pace with inflation. The slowdown in the housing market and a decline in stock prices this year have taken a toll on household wealth, helping explain why Americans as limiting their spending.

“The discontent among the public across demographic and income groups strongly suggests that the problems in the labor market are extracting a powerful toll,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York City. “The flat labor market and decline in real earnings will likely erode plans to spend heading into the critical holiday shopping season.”

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