OPERATIONS

Nordstrom expands e-commerce edge with second investment

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Seattle — Nordstrom Inc. revealed Thursday that it is leading a $16.4 million investment round in online men’s apparel brand Bonobos. The announcement follows last year’s purchase of online private sale site HauteLook, giving Nordstrom another leg up in the e-commerce arena.

Nordstrom is selling the Bonobos label’s clothing at its stores and online. Bonobos is the largest apparel brand launched on the internet in the United States.

“We understand there are people who still want to touch and feel clothing before they purchase. We realized we needed help expanding beyond our web-only roots,” said Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos. “Nordstrom is the leader in retail customer service and they are incredibly innovative,” he added.

Nordstrom’s Internet sales last year grew by 30%, compared to the 13% increase for the total company.

Bonobos at Nordstrom will be the first time the brand is available in-store and online outside Bonobos.com and the company’s New York City headquarters’ showroom store.

Bonobos is “a pioneer in leveraging the Internet to build great relationships with their customers, a common focus of both organizations," said Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct.

Last March, Nordstrom acquired HauteLook, an online retailer that offers flash sales on top fashion and lifestyle brands. The deal was the first transaction of its kind with a leading fashion specialty retail chain acquiring an online private sale company.

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Survey: Bargain shoppers reshape grocery experience

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — A new study released Thursday by MarketTools found that 63% of shoppers say they have changed their shopping habits in the past six months, with the majority reporting changes to seek more value.

According to the study, to save money on grocery bills, respondents reported that they buy items with coupons (80%); buy store brands instead of name brands (62%); use store loyalty cards that offer discounts (62%); buy items only when they are on sale (58%); and buy more large-sized products (43%).

In the search for bargains, shoppers report that the reason they purchase store brands is to get better value (59% of respondents) and a more attractive price (56%). Additionally, 67% of respondents say they use coupons for at least half of their shopping trips, and 49% say they use coupons on every, or nearly every, shopping trip. However, many shoppers don’t see coupons as an incentive to try something new: nearly half of respondents (49%) say that a coupon would not prompt them to buy an item they don’t normally buy.

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Jobless claims up, but consumer confidence also increases

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — Figures released Thursday by the Labor Department showed that more Americans than forecast filed applications for jobless benefits last week, reinforcing concern that the labor-market recovery will be slow to develop.

Consumer confidence, however, has held up, as the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was minus 32.8 in the period ended April 8, second only to the prior week’s minus 31.4 as the highest since March 2008.

Households were the most optimistic about their finances since April 2008, according to Bloomberg.

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