DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

One Kings Lane puts down physical roots

BY Marianne Wilson

Online home furnishings and decor retailer One Kings Lane is making its temporary foray into brick-and-mortar retail more permanent.

The retailer opened its first-ever physical location, a seasonal pop-up in the posh resort town of Southampton, New York, at the beginning of summer. But the company said the response to the temporary store was so positive that it has decided to make it a permanent space.

The 3,500-sq.-ft. store is located in a 19th century building that once housed a library. The space is designed to offer an “immersive lifestyle experience,” the company said, and offers a curated selection of product, including one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.

The store will continue to feature a "living" assortment of product that is regularly refreshed as items sell out, with a major redesign of the floor space slated for the fall. The brand’s signature complimentary design services, available in-home or in-store, will remain a year-round offering

One Kings Lane was acquired by Bed, Bath & Beyond in summer 2016.

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FINANCE

Forecast: Holiday sales to be impacted by ‘lackluster’ wage growth

BY Marianne Wilson

One of the first holiday quarter sales forecasts is out of the gate.

Global retail consulting firm Kantar Retail predicts that U.S. retail sales will grow 3.7% in the fourth quarter of this year. The forecast represents an improvement relative to weak growth of only 2.9% in the year ago period. But it is underwhelming compared to average growth prior to the recession of 5.0%, according to Kantar.

Kantar expects online sales growth of 16% and brick-and-mortar growth of 1.5% in the holiday quarter. Both are an improvement from 14% and 0.5% in the year-ago period.

“Lackluster wage growth will once again hamper holiday sales growth," said Doug Hermanson, principal economist with Kantar Retail. “Shoppers that have benefited from the surging housing and stock markets will be the bright spots for retailers this holiday. The prospects of government spending cuts and lower taxes in 2018 should also be noted given they could further divide the spending plans of holiday shoppers.”

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ECOMMERCE

Postmates launches new subscriber perk — no more delivery fees

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Postmates just made a strategic move in the online delivery war.

Knowing that delivery fees can exceed the cost of a food order, the on-demand app-based delivery provider has killed delivery fees for orders over $20. This decision entitles Postmates Unlimited subscribers to free delivery for orders placed with any of its 250,000-plus merchant partners.

Postmates members pay a $9.99 monthly subscription fee.

To encourage new shoppers to try to service — and lure them away from Amazon — Postmates is also offering a flat, nationwide price of $3.99 for deliveries among any of its 12,000 in-network merchant partners. Out-of-network orders will be subject to a flat $5.99 delivery fee, as well as variable service fees. Since these deliveries are no longer based on distance, Postdates will cap variable fees at $20.

The company delivers orders within 35 minutes, on average, according to the company.

"We've already seen tremendous growth in our subscriber program over the past year, adding about 50,000 subscribers per month organically,” said Kristin Schaefer, senior VP of strategy and finance, Postmates. “For us, this is about building more value for customers over a lifetime.”

Members are delivering a return on investment for the company as well, as subscribers purchase 50% more per month than non-subscribers, according to Postmates.

By absorbing delivery fees, Postmates is the latest company to take a stab at Amazon’s Prime program. Recently, Walmart turned up the heat by discounting more than one million items that customers buy online and have shipped to a Walmart store for pick-up. It also recently eliminated its ShippingPass program in favor of a free two-day shipping program.

Meanwhile, Target launched a next-day delivery pilot. Called Target Restock, customers across the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Denver markets can order from more than 15,000 products, including new items such as school supplies and baby food. The service has a flat fee of $4.99 per box, which holds up to 45 lbs. of merchandise.

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