DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

POPAI, A.R.E. rebrand under new name

BY Marianne Wilson

A coordinated rebranding effort has resulted in a new name for retail associations POPAI and A.R.E, which merged last October.

The new, combined group has changed its name to Shop!, a trade association focused on enhancing retail environments and experiences. The name is designed to represent the 2,000-plus global member companies and align with the full industry community they support.

"After a thorough vetting process that included numerous focus groups and input from many of our members, our Association is proud to announce this new name and immediately begin our renewed focus to advance retail environments and experiences through our programs, events and publications," said Steven Weiss, CEO of Shop!

The association is also launching a complete new corporate identity, which will impact all sub-brands, events, programs, publications and websites. Its website, Shopassociation.org, will go live next week.

"With members ranging from producers, visual merchandisers, and ad agencies to designers, retailers and brands, the name Shop! conveys a strong image of the services and products our members provide to the industry," said Bob Rosean, chairman. "Everything our members build, design and implement at the store level is driven by the needs of the shopper and ultimately is created to entice consumers to shop!"

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ERP/CRM

Study: Customers get a little satisfaction

BY CSA STAFF

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” has been the theme song of U.S. consumers for the past two years, but they may need to look for a new anthem.

Following steep falloffs in 2015 and 2014, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is changing course. In the first quarter of 2016, ACSI gained 0.4% to an aggregate score of 73.7 on a 100-point scale. Even this small improvement is a positive sign. However, it still does not reverse the significant decline ACSI has experienced since the first quarter of 2014, when it surpassed 76 and reached its highest point since 1994.

While ACSI does not provide any clear explanation of what is behind the falloff, it coincides with meager economic growth, depressed wages and mostly weak household spending growth. ACSI analysis suggests the decline in customer satisfaction could be due to decreasing levels of competition in the U.S. marketplace. Prices have risen more than wages have in recent years. As a result, consumer satisfaction tends to suffer, even with high levels of employment.

Consumer spending growth has slowed to 1.9% for the first quarter of 2016, below the 2% increase forecast by ACSI. For the second quarter, based on the uptick in customer satisfaction ACSI forecasts growth between 2.4% and 2.9% – still below what is needed for a strong economy.

"There is no mystery about what's required for the economy to do better: more discretionary income for U.S. households and a lift in the expected utility that consumption will bring," said Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder. "Neither is likely with less competition, which puts a damper on both wages and buyer satisfaction."

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LIGHTING/FLOORING/SIGNAGE

Target gets ‘smart’ about lighting

BY Marianne Wilson

Target Corp. is taking its lighting to the next level.

The retailer has entered into an agreement with Acuity Brands for Acuity to provide Target with smart lighting technologies, featuring energy saving LED fixtures and dimming controls.

Target will be installing Acuity’s next generation, smart LED sales floor fixtures, along with the lighting company’s store accent lighting and distribution center site lighting.

The initiative is part of Target’s ongoing efforts to significantly reduce energy consumption and enhance operational effectiveness across its facility footprint. Target has been recognized by the US Department of Energy’s Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC) Awards in multiple energy savings categories, including special recognition for Largest Portfolio-wide Annual Absolute Energy Savings.

“It’s exciting to see a retail leader like Target embracing LED lighting as part of its energy management initiatives. We are proud to have worked with Target over the past two decades to provide superior lighting and control solutions for its stores that reduce energy consumption on a per fixture basis by nearly a factor of four, from 128 input watts to 36 watts,” said Steve Lydecker, senior VP, Acuity Brands.

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