‘Pucking’ the Trend in Retail
Dazzling in-store video brings the game of hockey to life at the National Hockey League’s (NHL) high-energy flagship in midtown Manhattan. The 6,700-sq.-ft. store, called “NHL Powered by Reebok,” carries men’s, women’s and children’s NHL-licensed apparel and accessories, select NHL gear, and Reebok’s Rbk footwear and accessories.
The space, located on the ground floor of the NHL’s new world headquarters, envelops customers in the sights and sounds of hockey. From the 40-ft. wall displaying the jerseys of all 30 NHL teams to the fitting room with padded walls inspired by hockey gloves, the architecture and decor draw their inspiration from hockey and the act of skating. High-definition audio and video technology helps pump up the action considerably, creating an exciting, interactive shopping experience that is completely in sync with the NHL brand.
The audio-video (AV) system was created by McCann Systems, Edison, N.J., a design-build AV integration firm. Among the key elements are a state-of-the-art LED video wall, 15 ft. high by 6 ft. wide, that displays images of NHL players and products. The wall, located just inside the entry and in full view of passers-by and vehicle traffic, serves as a colorful billboard for the store. In addition, LED zippers scroll data across the exterior of the store.
“To capture people’s attention, we wanted to do something different than the typical video wall,” said Joseph Fusaro, project manager, McCann Systems. “So we did a segment of a video wall—the pixel count is 288 by 128—as opposed to the typical wide-aspect screen. It captures a portion of the image, or just a slice of it, which makes for a very intriguing look.”
Inside, a hockey-stick sculpture, made from 400 individual sticks, appears to float over the cash desk. Eight, high-definition, 50-in. plasma screens are integrated into the striking sculpture.
“The content on the screens is such that images can move in sequence from one monitor to the next,” Fusaro said. “A puck, for example, can be shot around the entire cashwrap.”
The video system also includes a 220-in. projection screen (behind the cash-wrap) on which live games and videos are shown.
Owing to the on-site AV integration, broadcast interconnectivity is provided between the retail store and an NHL broadcast facility on the 13th floor. An AV connectivity panel, camera and microphone allow for in-store player interviews to be transmitted to the NHL studio upstairs for broadcast on its satellite channel. Similarly, a live game could be piped down to the store for display on the video monitors.
The audio and video system are centrally controlled, and run on an automatic timer for ease of use.
“However, the system is set up so that the store also can do a breakaway for a special event,” Fusaro added. “There is a control interface in the AV room on which the change can be made. It’s very simple to do since it’s all menu-driven.”
OfficeMax 1Q sales fall on weak economy
NAPERVILLE, Ill. OfficeMax announced that for its first quarter ended March 29, total sales decreased 5.5% to $2.3 billion compared to the first quarter of 2007. Net income increased in the first quarter of 2008 to $63.3 million, or 81 cents per diluted share, from $58.5 million, or 76 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2007.
OfficeMax Retail segment sales decreased 5.5% to $1.11 billion in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the first quarter of 2007, reflecting a same-store sales decrease of 8.7% partially offset by sales from new stores. Retail same-store sales for the first quarter of 2008 declined across all major product categories due to weaker U.S. consumer and small business spending and the negative impact of the Easter holiday occurring in the first quarter of 2008.
IKEA to open first U.S. manufacturing facility
DANVILLE, Va. IKEA, through its subsidiary Swedwood, announced that it will open its first U.S. furniture manufacturing facility on May 21 in Danville, Va. The 930,000 square-foot Swedwood factory will produce a variety of wood-based IKEA products, the company reported.
“We made excellent progress on construction last year and our installation of equipment and machinery has gone very smoothly,” said Bengt Danielsson, North American president of Swedwood. “Now our primary objective is to complete appropriate operational training for 175 coworkers as well as to ensure a seamless production and packaging process.”