OPERATIONS

Online health and beauty retailer opens virtual pop-up in Toronto

BY Marianne Wilson

Toronto Well.ca, the largest health, baby and beauty e-commerce retailer in Canada, has opened the first QR-code “virtual store” in North America, in Toronto. The temporary space is open from April 2 to April 30.

“At Well.ca our mission is to break down barriers to online shopping. We’ve mashed together our love of smartphones, the convenience of e-commerce and free shipping to do something no other retailer delivers,” said Ali Asaria, founder and CEO of Well.ca.

To participate in the virtual shopping experience, consumers begin by downloading the Well.ca app, available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone. Once installed, consumers can visit the virtual store — a visual representation of the store shelves they are used to — scan the product QR codes and check out on their phone. The process includes free delivery across Canada.

The Virtual store is located just outside the Union Station TTC Subway stop, on the corner of Front and Bay Streets in Toronto.

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REAL ESTATE

Starbucks ramping up expansion in China

BY Staff Writer

New York — Starbucks Coffee Co. is planning to a major push into smaller cities in China, with a target of 1,500 stores in more than 70 Chinese cities by 2015, Bloomberg reported.

China will become the chain’s second largest market outside the United States, the report said. Currently, Starbucks has about 500 outlets in China and operates in 48 cities.

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OPERATIONS

Charming Charlie makes executive appointments; 60 stores on tap for 2012

BY Marianne Wilson

Houston — Specialty retailer Charming Charlie announced the appointment of four retail executives as part of the ongoing development of the company’s internal structure and another step in its ongoing national expansion, including the opening of 60 retail locations in 2012.

Judi Langley was named executive VP and chief merchandising officer, and will be responsible for leading the product direction and merchandising strategies for Charming Charlie. In earlier roles, Langley was senior VP design and trend at Kohl’s for its private brands and has held senior positions at Ann Taylor, Gap and Victoria’s Secret.

John Hnanicek has joined the chain as senior VP and CIO, where he is tasked to build a scalable technology infrastructure that will enable Charming Charlie to rapidly innovate. Prior to this new role, Hnanicek’s career has mostly been in high growth retail and e-commerce concepts with brands including OfficeMax, Hollywood Video and eToys.

Melissa Whitehead joins the team as senior VP store operations. She most recently served as senior VP sales and operations at Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance.

Robin Beighley joins Charming Charlie as store operations director. She most recently served as director of store process and systems operations at The Walt Disney Co. and prior to that as store operations director for Victoria’s Secret.

Since launching in 2004, Charming Charlie has grown to 182 stores in 33 states.

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