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Payments industry awards top innovators

BY CSA STAFF

BOSTON — PYMNTS.com, a news website serving the payments industry, released its list of winners for the 2013 PYMNTS Innovator Awards. Winners were chosen across sixteen categories by a panel of judges with deep and practical expertise in payments and payments innovation. The top finalists in each category were given an award at the PYMNTS.com Innovator Awards Dinner held this year on March 21 at Annenberg Hall on the Harvard University Campus as part of The Innovation Project. B.J. Novak, writer, actor and producer of the award-winning comedy series, The Office, served as the Awards Dinner emcee.

Winner included PayPal (Most Innovative – Gold), Discover (Most Disruptive – Silver) and Stripe (Best Newcomer – Gold).

A complete list of all finalists by category with descriptions of their innovations can be found here.

The 2013 PYMNTS.com Innovator Award Program Judges include: David Evans, author of "Paying with Plastic" and Founder of Market Platform Dynamics; Hans Morris, Managing Director, General Atlantic; Dan Rosen, Managing Partner, Commerce Ventures; Karen Webster, CEO Market Platform Dynamics and President of PYMNTS.com, and Matt Witheiler, Principal, Flybridge Partners.

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New York & Company returns to profit in Q4

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — New York & Company reported that net sales for the fourth quarterwere $291.8 million, as compared with $271.8 million in the year-ago period.

Comparable-store sales increased 2.3% compared with a decrease of 6.3% in the prior year fourth quarter.

Net income increased to $10.5 million, or 17 cents per diluted share. This compares with a net loss in the prior year fourth quarter of $10.9 million, or 18 cents per diluted share.

Gregory Scott, New York & Company’s CEO, stated: “We capped fiscal year 2012 with solid fourth quarter results that included increased sales, positive comparable store sales, significant gross margin expansion and a dramatic improvement in our operating results. Our performance was driven by strong progress made against our strategic initiatives – our Six Keys to Success – which provides a strong foundation for us to continue to improve our operating results in 2013.”

In fiscal 2012, the company opened 18 new Outlet stores, remodeled 13 existing stores, and closed 31 stores, ending the year with 519 stores, including 44 Outlet stores, and 2.7 million selling square feet in operation.

Net sales for the year were $966.4 million compared with net sales of $956.5 million for fiscal year 2011.

Comparable-store sales increased 0.1% versus a decrease of 3.3% in fiscal year 2011.

Net income was $2.1 million, or 3 cents per diluted share. This compares with a net loss of $38.9 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, for fiscal year 2011.

Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 are expected to decrease in the low single-digit range. This includes the impact of 27 fewer stores in operation since the first quarter of fiscal year 2012. Comparable store sales on a shifted basis are expected to be down in the low to mid single-digit range.

During the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, the company expects to open one new Outlet store, remodel four existing locations, and close six stores, ending the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 with 514 stores, including 45 Outlet stores. For fiscal year 2013, the company expects to open between 8 to 12 new Outlet stores, remodel 10 to 15 existing locations, and close between 30 and 36 stores, ending the year with between 491 and 501 stores, including 52 to 56 Outlet stores.

Scott concluded, “We believe we have the right strategies in place to deliver improved operating performance in fiscal 2013, while making strategic investments in key areas of our business. Our entire organization is dedicated to the successful execution of our 2013 Keys to Success, which are: maximize sales and profitability during peak traffic times of the year; increase brand awareness and drive traffic to our stores; maintain our dominance in wear-to-work while furthering our opportunity in the pant and denim category; reduce markdowns through business process improvements; invest in technology to seamlessly integrate all business channels — ultimately delivering a compelling omni-channel customer experience; and continue to expand our growing e-commerce and Outlet businesses.”

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The future of savings thanks to Apple

BY CSA STAFF

Coupon publisher News America Marketing has expanded its mobile application to the iPhone following last year’s introduction on the iPad.

Mobile coupons still have a long way to go before unseating the conventional print circular, but innovative solutions such as the SmartSource Xpress, or SSX, are helping accelerate the pace of change by enabling brands to put coupons directly into shoppers’ hands via their mobile device.

"SmartSource Xpress for iPhone is a great shopping app for consumers on the go. You can clip, shop and save on your favorite grocery products," said Chris Mixson, president of News America Marketing. "It doesn’t get much better than coupons delivered right to the palm of your hand."

With a tap of the iPhone’s screen, savings are sent directly to consumers’ registered shopper cards and automatically redeemed at checkout using Direct2Card technology employed by the D2C retailer network comprised of more than 3,300 stores. News America said it expect the network to expand significantly to new retailers and new areas in the coming year.

The iPhone application has several new functionalities that differentiate it from the iPad version. Designed with convenience in mind, the app includes a carousel making it easier to view coupons and allows consumers to easily scan shopper cards during the registration process. Social media links also allow sharing of coupons with friends and family. Additionally, SmartSource Xpress utilizes the built in GPS coupled with an opt-in feature that reminds them of the SmartSource Xpress coupons they have on their shopper card when they get within close proximity of their selected stores. The magazine-format viewing style, digital enhancements such as promotional and instructional videos, free product samples, recipes and other content remain identical to the iPad version.

Conventional free-standing inserts remain the leading coupon distribution vehicle, representing nearly 90% of coupons distributed in 2012, according to SmartSource, digital couponing is becoming increasingly mainstream and the number of retailer storefronts accepting paperless or digital coupons is expected to grow by more than 50% this year.

"In addition to weekly newspaper savings, digital couponing provides additional savings opportunities. We expect SSX to resonate with a new demographic of shoppers, while allowing coupon veterans another way to cash in on even more savings, with the added convenience of having their coupons automatically loaded to their loyalty cards," said Mixson. "We remain committed to providing weekly coupon inserts to our loyal SmartSource shoppers, but we also want to offer a full suite of savings opportunities that includes the free standing insert shoppers know and love, in-store savings with our coupon machines, printable coupons online at our website SmartSource.com, and now Direct2Card coupons through our apps for iPad and iPhone."

 

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