OPERATIONS

Report: Hollister must redesign store entrys for accessibility

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — A federal judge in Denver gave Hollister Co. until Jan. 1, 2017, to modify its store entrances to make them wheelchair accessible, according to an advocacy group for the disabled, at a rate of 77 stores per year, the Associated Press reported.

The entrances of some Hollister locations are designed to resemble a front porch, complete with steps.

The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition said the ruling by the judge gives the retailer several options, including leveling out stairs at entrances or installing ramps, according to the report. It also can close off stairway entrances so that all customers, not just those who are disabled, would use secondary entrances.

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C-SUITE

Saks Q2 misses as loss widens

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Saks Inc. on Monday reported a worse than expected second-quarter loss amid disappointing sales of shoes and handbags.

Saks, which last month reached a deal to be acquired by Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Co., had a net loss of $19.6 million for the quarter ended Aug. 3, compared with a net loss of $12.3 million a year earlier.

Overall sales rose 0.5% to $707.8 million for the quarter. Same-store sales rose 1.5%, below the 4.5% increase analysts had expected.

“While the second quarter was our fourteenth consecutive quarter of posting a comparable store sales increase, our sales growth was modestly below our expectations,” Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and CEO, noted.

Saks’ gross margin fell because it had built up too much inventory of men’s and women’s shoes and handbags and had to slash prices to clear unsold merchandise.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Back-to-school shoppers looking for best deals

BY Marianne Wilson

Los Angeles — A new survey by PriceGrabber confirms that consumers are determined to think frugally when shopping for back-to-school this year, with 57% of respondents saying they will attempt to buy more items that are "on sale," while 42% say they will comparison shop for the best price.

The 2013 back-to-school study found that shoppers are looking for deals online, as 39% said they will shop online more than in prior years. Another 39% plan to buy only the necessities; 26% will use more store coupons; while 19% said they will shop at less expensive stores.

Back-to-school shoppers plan to cash in on store loyalty programs with 16% planning to increase their use of store or credit cards offering rewards points. Only 11% of consumers said they would maintain their 2012 shopping habits from last fall, leaving a majority of shoppers looking for the best budget buys.

Of the consumers who indicated that social media will impact their back-to-school shopping decisions, 85% said that Facebook would influence them most. YouTube ranked second at 23%, and Pinterest ranked a close third at 22%. In fourth place, 19% said that Twitter would influence their back-to-school shopping decisions this year, while 8% indicated "other" social media channels. MySpace ranked the least popular among social media channels that would influence back-to-school shoppers.

In other findings, 46% of back-to-school shoppers said they would use their smartphone to find deals this year. When mobile shoppers were asked to select all the ways they plan to use their smartphone to save money on back-to-school items 67% noted they will check prices online before making offline purchases; 47% will read retailer discount emails while in the store; another 47% will have retailer coupons directly texted to their phone; 42% plan to make purchases online from their mobile phone; 30% will use mobile apps and bar code scanners; and 29% will check store inventory online before shopping in-store.

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