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Report: E-commerce spending up 9%

BY CSA STAFF

Reston, Va. A report released Tuesday by digital marketing firm comScore found that U.S. retail e-commerce sales estimates are up 9% for second quarter 2010.

The second quarter 2010 U.S. retail e-commerce report showed online retail spending reached $32.9 billion for the quarter, up 9% versus a year ago, representing the third consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth following a year of flat or negative growth rates.

“The second quarter’s continuation of the first quarter’s strong retail e-commerce growth rates is encouraging,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “We remain cautiously optimistic heading into the second half of the year, but we will be keeping a close eye on unemployment rates, which along with potential uncertainty in the stock market could limit growth in e-commerce spending in the near term.”

Other key findings from the report include: Upper-income households (those earning at least $100,000 annually) grew 17% versus a year ago, approximately twice the overall e-commerce growth rate during the quarter. Among the top-performing online product categories were: consumer electronics (excluding PC peripherals), computer software (excluding PC games), Computers/Peripherals/PDAs, and books & magazines. Multichannel retailers regained e-commerce spending market share versus online pureplay retailers following five consecutive quarters of declining market share.

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Splashdown in Santa Monica

BY Katherine Boccaccio

The opening of the newly redeveloped Santa Monica Place, in Santa Monica, Calif., on Aug. 6, is noteworthy on several levels, not the least being that it marks the debut of the most ambitious shopping center in some time. In fact, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, it is the only major mall to debut in the United States this year.

Locally based Macerich Co., which bought the Frank Gehry-designed mall in 1999 from what was then The Rouse Co., has transformed the aging, enclosed circa-1980 mall into a three-level, open-air study in modernity with views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Mountains and Santa Monica Pier. (The property closed in January 2008 as it embarked on its 30-month reinvention.)

Macerich not only redid the center, which connects with the Third Street Promenade and downtown Santa Monica, but also significantly changed its tenant base, signing on an upscale tenant line that includes Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Barneys Co-op, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Tory Burch, Coach, and Michael Kors.

Open-air walkways and public gathering spaces augment the 524,000-sq.-ft. space, which also features a third-level rooftop Dining Deck that incorporates — besides both ocean and city views — chef-driven restaurant concepts, fast-casual eateries and The Market, a collection of artisanal, gourmet and organic food purveyors. The custom-designed furnishings, a large-scale fireplace and a signature olive tree accent the Dining Deck space.

The first-level Plaza provides cafe tables and a crescent-shaped fountain in an urban plaza-like setting reminiscent of those found in European cities.

Landscaping throughout the reborn Santa Monica Place is distinctive, from the seashells and mother of pearl in the paving to an urban kelp garden and sculptural dragon trees.

The Jerde Partnership, Venice, Calif., is the design architect for the project, which was created via the adaptive re-use of the former enclosed mall structure. The executive architect is Omniplan, out of Dallas.

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Publix testing out ‘Curbside’ delivery service

BY CSA STAFF

Lakeland , Fla. Publix announced that it is testing its Publix Curbside online grocery ordering and at-store pickup service at one Atlanta and one Tampa, Fla. store in the near future.

According to the company, customers can visit www.publix.com/curbside to place their orders and select their desired pickup location.  No minimum order amount is required and a $7.99 service fee per Curbside order will be added to the total. As an introductory offer, the $7.99 service fee is waived for first time users, the company said.

“As we continue to provide our customers with the service they have grown to expect, we need to provide new and more advanced ways to meet the needs of their growing and changing families,” said Maria Brous, Publix director media and community relations. “Publix Curbside is a natural extension of our service commitment, especially for time-starved families.”

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