OPERATIONS

Penney launches in-store Disney shops, new kids brands

BY Marianne Wilson

Plano, Texas — J.C. Penney is expanding its baby and kids departments with the launch of several exclusive brands. The launch includes the installation of Disney branded shops, ranging from 800 sq. ft. to 1,100 sq. ft., inside 565 Penney stores on Oct. 4.

The Disney in-store shops will offer toys, collectibles and children’s apparel designed exclusively for Penney and showcasing various Disney characters, including ones from Toy Story and Monsters University and Disney Junior shows.

"The addition of Disney Shops to J.C. Penney will be a major draw in our kids department, offering customers an entirely new selection of high-quality gifts just in time for the holiday season,” said Betsy Schumacher, Penney’s senior VP and general merchandise manager.

In addition, Penney is debuting the giggleBABY, Wendy Bellissino, baker by Ted Baker, Sally M by Sally Miller, and Flowers by Zoe by Kourageous Kids brands in select stores and on jcp.com.

"The addition of these partners means that we’re not only elevating our quality and value proposition, we’re further positioning J.C. Penney as the best place to shop for kids,” Schumacher said.

According to some industry analysts, the Disney shops may be one of the most promising concepts the struggling retailer has as moves into the holiday season.

As new movies are released, the Disney shops inside Penney stores, as well as jcp.com, will be continually updated with new merchandise reflecting characters from Disney’s animated feature films.

"Disney is known for combining incredible storytelling with quality product and we are excited to see the Disney Shops at J.C. Penney come to life, giving consumers a new way to engage with their favorite Disney characters and stories," said Paul Gainer, executive VP, Disney Retail.

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West Elm makes itself at home in Alabama

BY CSA STAFF

Home furnishings retailer West Elm is opening a retail store in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday, Oct. 10 — it’s first ever location in the state.

The nearly 8,000-sq.ft. store located in the Summit Birmingham shopping center will feature the brand’s mix of furniture, home décor, gifts and artist collaborations. The store will also feature an assortment of local handcrafted products sourced through Etsy.com, including one-of-a-kind furniture, lighting, leather goods and wall art.

To celebrate the opening, West Elm collaborated with Birmingham artist Rachel West to create an exclusive tote bag that will be given away to the first 300 shoppers with a minimum purchase of $50. Customers that purchase a West Elm Gallery Frame will receive a complimentary print of Rachel’s Birmingham inspired design until supplies last.

“We are excited to open our first store in Alabama and support the local handcrafted community by featuring the work of Birmingham artisans in our store,” said Jim Brett, president of West Elm. “We recently made a two-year commitment to significantly increase the amount of handcrafted products we offer, and to roll out locally crafted assortments in all of our stores worldwide. Birmingham is in the first group of our stores to offer this assortment. ”

The Birmingham store will open with a preview of the brand’s holiday assortment, which includes décor and gifts in three diverse collections: Enchanted Forest, Snow Drift and New Heritage. At the time of the opening all dining furniture will be 15% off and select lighting pieces will be 20% off.

Additional store opening activities and events include a sweepstakes that offers Birmingham residents a chance to win a $2,000 gift card and an invitation to the opening celebration party taking place on the evening of October 9. The deadline to enter sweepstakes is Oct. 6, 2013.

The opening party will be catered Birmingham’s Hot & Hot Fish Club and a portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the city’s Jones Valley Teaching Farm.

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Raley’s, Aisle50 team up to offer loyalty-technology program

BY CSA STAFF

Supermarket chain Raley’s is teaming up with a web portal that offers discounts to members of the chain’s loyalty card program.

Aisle50 announced the partnership with the California-based chain, which will offer it at all its 120 Raley’s Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods locations. Aisle50 works by allowing customers to purchase items online and then pick them up in the store, receiving discounts using their loyalty cards.

"Being a keystone in the northern California market, one of the country’s most tech-savvy, Raley’s is looking to find the best technology and partners to enhance our customers’ lives," Raley’s director of CRM marketing and analytics Tom Hutchison said. "The content from Aisle50 and its direct tie into our rewards program will give Raley’s a unique offering within our markets for a set of consumers that demands it."

Aisle50 also has partnerships with North Carolina-based Lowes Foods, Pennsylvania-based Shop ‘n Save, New York-based D’Agostino and Oklahoma-based Homeland Stores.

"Our technology gives brands a way to convert consumers before they head to the store while also driving more trips and bigger baskets to our retailer partners," Aisle50 cofounder Christopher Steiner said. "We’re excited to get into California and in front of the great set of consumers that Raley’s serves."

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