OPERATIONS

NRF: Retailers add 37K jobs in October

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation calculated retail industry job gains at 37,600 in October 2013, and 295,000 year-over-year, a 2.4% increase from 2012. Job gains were seen in every retail sector with the exception of clothing and clothing stores, which witnessed a contraction of 12,500 positions in September.

In its annual holiday sales and employment forecast, NRF predicted that retailers would see a 3.9% increase in sales and hire an additional 720,000 to 780,000 employees this holiday season.

“Today’s report puts the U.S. economy in a very positive light heading into the fall and winter seasons,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist of NRF. “The government shutdown had little to no impact on the improving employment situation, which is steadily improving along with GDP. While retailers and businesses are hiring, consumers remain cautious, but we remain steadfast in our belief that consumer confidence and spending will improve.”

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News

Rue21 launches e-commerce site

BY Dan Berthiaume

Warrendale, Pa. – Rue21 has launched its e-commerce site, Rue21.com. Prices on the site will be the same as prices in the retailer’s stores.

In honor of the launch, rue21 is hosting a "Shop & Win" contest in which five winners will receive a $50 gift card by talking about their favorite rue21 items on the Internet. Using hashtag #shoprue21.com, fans can post pictures or comments on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

“The launch of our new e-commerce site marks a new chapter for our company and will be key to building our brand for the future," said Bob Fisch, rue21’s president and CEO. "We have experienced great success through the growth of our brick-and-mortar stores, and we look forward to building on that success by providing our customers with the same trendy merchandise at competitive prices right at their fingertips."

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Sears, Kmart enhance omni-channel customer experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hoffman Estates, Ill. – Sears Holding Corporation is launching a number of enhancements to the in-store, online and mobile customer experience offered at its Sears and Kmart banners for the holidays.

Employees and Shop Your Way loyalty members are loading photos, announcing secret sales and sharing their favorite products from local Kmart and Sears stores on the local store pages of ShopYourWay.com. Store pages also allow customers to download e-coupons and obtain local deals.

In addition, Sears and Kmart are offering features including:

  • Member-only pricing and free home delivery from stores.
  • Lease-to-Own program, available now at Sears and on Nov. 22 at Kmart stores nationwide.
  • SHOPsears tablets at Sears that help associates and customers find inventory, sizes and pricing, read reviews on products and speed up the checkout process.

"We are steering two of America’s most storied brands to a new era when people have fundamentally different expectations about how they shop and are looking for ways to build relationships with their local stores both physically and online," said Leena Munjal, senior VP customer experience and integrated retail, Sears Holdings. "As we become a more member-centric organization, we are connecting associates and Shop Your Way members on a local level to products and exclusive shopping perks that make shopping fun."


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