HOT CONCEPTS

Old Navy, Fort Worth

BY CSA STAFF

Old Navy’s updated format is showcased in its new store in Fort Worth, Texas (it is also the first LEED-certified location in the chain’s portfolio). The design is clean and modern, with a colorful palette and a fun, upbeat ambience. A raceway layout and key destination areas make for easy navigation, as do the clear sightlines throughout the space.

The centralized fitting rooms, located in the core of the store, are accessible from every department. “Quick change” pods located in the mens and kids areas, allow shoppers to quickly try on a single item. A kid-friendly area features an interactive video game projected onto the floor.

Old Navy launched its new look in 2009, and by the end of 2010, about 250 stores in the United States and Canada had been converted to the format. The retailer plans to convert additional locations throughout 2011.

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Dad gets his due this Father’s Day

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON —Ongoing economic challenges and high gas prices won’t put a dent in shoppers spending intentions this Father’s Day, according to new research from the National Retail Federation.

With a little more than two weeks to go until the June 19 holiday, Americans are poised to spend an average of $106.49, compared with $94.32 last year. That’s a nearly 13% increase, and the most ever in the eight years NRF has been conducting the spending intentions survey with BIG Research. Spending on Father’s Day still lags the average Mother’s Day expenditure of $140.73 but the gap has narrowed considerably.

Total Father’s Day spending is expected to reach $11.1 billion with consumer spending expected to be allocated to special outings such as golfing, eating out or going to the moves ($2.1 billion) followed by gift cards ($1.4 billion), home improvement, gardening tools or appliances ($1.4 billion) clothing ($1.4 billion), electronics ($1.3 billion), sporting goods ($653 million) books or CDs ($598 million) and automotive accessories ($593 million).

“Dad has always been content spending Father’s Day grilling in the backyard or shooting hoops in the driveway, but this year kids have bigger plans for him,” said Phil Rist, EVP strategic initiatives with BIGresearch. “Shoppers are putting more thought into Father’s Day gifts and are seeking out the perfect personal, yet practical, gift to say thank you to the man who’s always been there for them.”

The survey of 8,344 consumers was conducted May 3 to 10, and although consumer intentions can occasionally differ materially from their actual behavior, the research results are said to have a margin of error of plus or minus 1%.

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Google tests mobile payment service

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Search engine giant Google announced the launch of Google Wallet, a mobile payment service that allows consumers to pay for goods via their smartphones. The application is currently being field-tested in San Francisco and New York, and will be available to consumers in the summer.

The new Google Wallet will initially work with a MasterCard from Citigroup and with a prepaid debit card issued by Google, and on one smartphone, the Google Nexus S 4G carried by Sprint Nextel. It will connect only to MasterCard PayPass terminals. There are more than 124,000 PayPass-enabled merchants nationally, according to Google, and more than 311,000 globally.

“MasterCard has pioneered mobile payments with our PayPass technology and we’re proud that it is at the heart of Google Wallet,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard.

First Data, a provider of electronic commerce and payment processing, is actively recruiting thousands of new merchants in the test areas and will soon expand those efforts to deploy more contactless merchant terminals across the country, Google said.

“The payments industry has known for some time that it was not a question of if, but when true mobile commerce would become a reality. We believe today is the day that mobile meets payments,” said Ed Labry, president, North America, First Data.

Google describes its mobile payment option as a "single-tap" solution, meaning shoppers should be able to pay with a single tap of their phone on a payment terminal, or a swipe past it. The company said it working with point of sale systems companies and top retail brands to create a new “SingleTap” shopping experience whereby consumers would not only be able to pay for an item using a credit card or gift card, but also redeem promotions and earn loyalty points — all with a single tap of their Google Wallet.

Google is working with VeriFone, Hypercom, Ingenico, VIVOTech and others to develop these next generation point-of-sale systems. Retailers participating in the new SingleTap experience include: American Eagle Outfitters, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, The Container Store, Duane Reade, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy’s, Noah’s Bagels, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, RadioShack, Subway, Toys “R” Us and Walgreens.

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