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Optimism abounds at Macy’s heading into holidays

BY CSA STAFF

A tepid economic climate and government shutdown weren’t enough to prevent Macy’s from producing a 3.5% third quarter same store sale increase and better than expected profits which prompted the department store operator to reiterate it full year financial forecast.

Sales in the third quarter ended November 2, increased 3.3% to nearly $6.3 billion. Total profit increased 22% to $177 million from $145 million while earning per share increased 31% to 47 cents a share, well ahead of analysts’ estimate of 39 cents, from 36 cents a share. As a result, Macy’s reiterated sales and earnings guidance it provided in August which envisions comps for the second half of the year in the range of 2.5% to 4% and full year profits of $3.80 to $3.90.

“Our improved sales performance resulted from continued success in the execution of our key strategies – My Macy’s localization, Omnichannel integration and Magic Selling customer engagement,” Macy’s chairman, president and CEO Terry Lundgren said of the performance. “In addition, business in the third quarter benefitted from intensified marketing strategies to emphasize the outstanding value in our merchandise deliveries. Both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s performed well in the quarter, and we saw improvement in the sales trend in every region of the country compared with the spring season.”

Most notably, Lundgren said Macy’s business improved during the October which allowed the company to enter the fourth quarter with confidence in its offering of gifts, fashion, value and service.

"Our success in the fourth quarter will be driven by a wide selection of exclusive products from the most-wanted brands and designers,” Lundgren said. “We will bring them to our customers, whether they shop in our stores, online, via mobile, or all three. The values we offer will be appealing. We will be better able to satisfy customers’ needs with an energized organization supported by the hiring of 83,000 seasonal associates. Our in-store and online executions will complement each other, and our marketing will clearly communicate the Magic of Macy’s and the exceptional holiday fashion at Bloomingdale’s."

Macy’s ended the third quarter with 840 stores in 45 states.

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Former Delhaize CEO to lead the new Office Depot

BY CSA STAFF

Less than a week after Office Depot and Officemax consummated their merger, the combined companies have a new chairman and CEO in former Delhaize America CEO Roland Smith.

In conjunction with the appointment of Smith, who also previously served as CEO of Wendy’s, the two CEOs of Office Depot and OfficeMax who were serving as co-CEOs of the combined company both resigned. Neil Austrian served as CEO of Office Depot and Ravi Saligram served as CEO of OfficeMax prior to the merger.

“Over the last several months, the Selection Committee evaluated more than 100 candidates in a rigorous process to find the right leader for this company,” said Nigel Travis, Office Depot’s lead director, co-chair of the CEO selection committee and chairman and CEO of Dunkin’ Brands. “Roland is uniquely qualified for the newly combined Office Depot and OfficeMax. He has decades of experience integrating companies and cultures and an impressive track record in turning around businesses. Additionally, he brings outstanding leadership that will be invaluable as we seek to transform and grow our new company.”

Smith most recently served as CEO and president of Delhaize America, the $18 billion food retailing division of Delhaize Group which includes Food Lion and Hannaford. Prior to that, Smith was president and CEO of The Wendy’s Company, president and CEO of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group and CEO of Wendy’s International. Throughout his tenure at these companies, Smith orchestrated numerous transformative initiatives. Originally at Arby’s, Smith helped to rejuvenate the brand, turn around the culture and integrate the acquisition of its largest franchisee. Later, Smith successfully completed the acquisition and merger of Wendy’s by Arby’s. While transforming the culture, menu and product, Smith also improved operations and accelerated international expansion. Additionally, Smith orchestrated the successful sale of Arby’s, according to a statement by Office Depot.

Smith also led operational turnarounds at American Golf Corporation, the world’s largest owner and operator of golf courses, and AMF, the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling centers. He has held senior management positions at KFC International, Pepsi Cola International, Schering-Plough and Procter & Gamble. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and served in the U.S. Army for seven years.
“I am honored to accept the position of chairman and CEO of Office Depot,” said Smith. “With the combined resources of Office Depot and OfficeMax, we have the ability to transform the company and create an exciting new organization that exceeds the needs and desires of our customers, provides new opportunities for our global associates, becomes a more appealing partner to our vendors and increases value for our shareholders.”

“I know that numerous cross-company teams have worked diligently over the past eight months to create a clear blueprint for the integration of Office Depot and OfficeMax,” added Smith. “Moving forward, my focus will be on fully integrating the two companies, achieving the planned synergies, creating a compelling vision for the future, and leveraging our infrastructure and assets to drive improved profitability and increased revenue. Additionally, I fully understand that we need to make a headquarters decision quickly so that we can drive our integration efforts.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

SharperImage.com print catalogs to have embedded mobile capability

BY Marianne Wilson

Beaverton, Ore. — Digimarc Corp. announced that SharperImage.com is using the Digimarc Discover platform to make it easy for consumers to simultaneously browse print catalogs, research and buy from their mobile device.

Using the free Catalog Click mobile app, enabled with Digimarc’s patented technology, consumers can scan product images to make a purchase, read reviews, see additional product information, images, videos and more. This interactive print-to-mobile experience reaches 4 million households and businesses across the world, directly advancing SharperImage.com’s m-commerce strategy.

"We know our catalogs drive customers to our e-commerce site, so we decided to make the shopping experience faster, easier and mobile-friendly," said David Katzman, managing partner of Camelot Venture Group, who holds the license for Shaperimage.com. "This interactive experience aligns well with our tech-savvy readership that is on the lookout for faster, more convenient ways to handle life’s tasks. It doesn’t get easier than scanning to learn more or proceed to checkout."

Each product image in the Holiday catalog, available in homes November 4th, includes an invisible and interactive digital watermark powered by the Digimarc Discover platform. Shoppers simply launch the free Catalog Click mobile app and scan the product image to be instantly connected to the mobile-optimized product site. Consumers can add the item to their cart, review customer ratings, see additional images of the product or save it to their "wish" list. The shopper can also share their find with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google + or Pinterest.

Digimarc Discover also provides engagement metrics, including which items are most popular in the print catalog, much like Sharper Image can determine from their e-commerce site SharperImage.com. The metrics also include how many times a product was scanned and how many unique devices scanned each product. Unlike tags or QR codes, imperceptible digital watermarks don’t require any real estate on the page and don’t mar the design of the catalog.


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