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Report: Japan’s Fast Retailing Still Looking to Buy U.S. Retailer

BY CSA STAFF

Tokyo, Japan’s Fast Retailing, operator of Uniqlo casual clothing shops, is still interested in a U.S. acquisition as part of efforts to build its global business.

“The U.S. is a difficult market. But [the Uniqlo flagship store in] New York is going well and there is enormous potential in the U.S.,” chairman and CEO Tadashi Yanai told the Financial Times.

“It is very difficult for us to go to the U.S. and be successful. We are looking to buy a U.S. company and they would help us build a platform,” he said.

But he reportedly dismissed rumors that he was looking at Saks, saying he did not want to buy a “pure department store.”

The Japanese company dropped out of the bidding war in August for the prestigious Barneys New York department store, declining to match a $942 million offer from Dubai investment firm Istithmar.

It opened a flagship Uniqlo store on Oxford Street in London on Wednesday and will open a shop one month later in Paris’ La Defense business district.

Yanai also reiterated his ambitions to expand in China and India. Fast Retailing has set a goal of doubling its global sales by 2010 through expansion both in Western cities and in Asia to compensate for slack growth in Japan.

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Whole Foods execs barred from online forums

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods has update its code of business conduct, barring senior officers from speaking about the company on online forums that are not sponsored by Whole Foods.

The company said that the change was made to prevent improper use of company information, and to avoid giving the impression that statements made in an internet chat room, message board or blog are on Whole Foods behalf. Whole Foods added that postings can not involve any matter related to the company or its competitors or vendors, nor can they be made under the person’s name, anonymously, under a screen name or through another person.

Whole Foods said that anyone who violates this policy may be dismissed from the company.

Whole Foods policy change comes not so far after ceo John Mackey admitted to posting messages on an online message board under the alias “rahodeb.”

In July, right in the middle of Whole Foods battle with the FTC over its merger with Wild Oats, Mackey confirmed that he submitted postings to a Yahoo! forum regarding Wild Oats from 1999 to 2006, saying that its stock was too high and the company would go bankrupt. He later apologized for his participation, saying that it was an error in judgment.

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Eagles Wal-Mart-only album tops the charts

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Selling its first new album in 28 years exclusively through Wal-Mart Stores has proven successful for the Eagles, with the band capturing the top spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart, Billboard announced Tuesday.

In a separate announcement, Wal-Mart reported that the Eagles’ “Long Road Out of Eden,” released on Oct. 30 at Wal-Mart, Walmart.com, Sam’s Clubs and Samsclub.com, has sold more than 700,000 units in its first week of release, representing the largest first week sales of any music product at Wal-Mart in the last two years.

Despite the success of the album, at first it was not eligible to appear on the Billboard chart, because it was only sold at Wal-Mart. However, thanks to a policy change announced by Billboard Tuesday, exclusive album titles that are only available through one retailer are now able to appear on The Billboard 200 and other charts, effective with this week’s charts.

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