FINANCE

Report: Investor urges changes at Abercrombie & Fitch

BY Staff Writer

New York — Investor Engaged Capital LLC has urged Abercrombie & Fitch to start a search for a new chief executive officer and consider selling the company, Bloomberg reported. The company owns less than 1% of the retailer’s shares outstanding.

In a letter to Abercrombie’s board, Engaged Capital said that there is “no qualified successor” to current Michael Jeffries, whose contract expires Feb. 1. Jeffries is a “major stumbling block” to a potential sale of the company to private equity, Engaged Capital said.

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News

Applebee’s rolls out customer tablets

BY Dan Berthiaume

Kansas City – Applebee’s will roll out 100,000 E la Carte Presto tablets, powered by Intel, on every table and multiple bar positions at more than 1,800 Applebee’s restaurants in the U.S. by the end of 2014. DineEquity, franchisor of Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants, will also consider the tablets, which enable guests to add to their orders, pay and play games from their seats, will also be considered for introduction at IHOP locations.

The Presto tablet features an all-day battery, an illuminated credit card reader, and a ruggedized design. It also features technology, including Bluetooth, cameras and NFC chips to transition to opportunities for mobile wallet and mobile phone interaction. In the pilot program, the Presto tablets not only significantly reduced transaction times for guests, but also provided them a better overall experience, based on their feedback, by simplifying the transaction process and allowing guests to control the timing.

Initially, the tablets will provide guests the ability to pay at their table, add additional drinks, desserts and other menu items to their order and a selection of games. During the next 18 months, enhanced functionality, such as video streaming, music, additional games, social media interaction with Applebee’s active Facebook community and personal pages, sharing, gift card sales and more, will be added.

“Let’s face it, everyone who has ever been to a restaurant has been frustrated by waiting for their check,” said Applebee’s president Mike Archer. “Starting out, our goal was to create a way for guests to control when and how they pay their check. What we learned after nearly two years of testing is we can provide much more. The Presto tablet will deliver our guests a robust slate of offerings for not only transactions, but entertainment, social interaction and more, moving forward.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Family Dollar survey: Shoppers prefer brick-and-mortar for most holiday gifts

BY Marianne Wilson

Matthews, N.C. — Despite the growth in e-commerce, Americans still prefer to make most holiday gift purchases in stores close to home, according to a recent national survey conducted for Family Dollar.

Seven-in-10 consumers say they describe themselves as in-person shoppers, while only 30% say they would be best characterized as online shoppers. Also, more than half of surveyed consumers say they expect to travel 10 miles or less when looking for the majority of their gifts this season.

These and other insights from the survey fielded on behalf of Family Dollar indicate that convenience and price continue to play a major role in Americans’ shopping habits, especially during the holidays.

Other consumer shopping insights revealed by survey respondents:

  • During the holiday season, 93% of consumers consider spending time at home to be more important than traveling, which is favored by 59% of consumers.
  • More than three-in-five consumers shop for stocking stuffers, and those shoppers find these five factors to be the most important in making their stocking stuffer selections: deals or specials offered; candy selection; coupons available; small electronics; and gift cards selection.
  • Nearly half of consumers start holiday shopping after Thanksgiving.

"The National Retail Federation reported that Americans took advantage of early holiday sales but spent less than last year, indicating that economic conditions still impact consumers’ ability to spend," said Jocelyn Wong, senior VP and chief marketing officer, Family Dollar.

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