MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Report: LLBean.com tops November e-retail customer service ranking

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – LLBean.com provided the highest-rated customer service of all major online retailers during the month of November 2013. According to the Stella Monthly Ranking from the StellaService customer service analysis firm, L.L. Bean was ranked number one for overall customer service and also in the email customer service area.

SierraTradingPost.com took top honors for phone customer service, Sears.com had the highest ranked shipping customer service and Bloomingdales.com has the best returns customer service.
Five retailers maintained their spots in the top 10: LLBean.com, RalphLauren.com, JCrew.com, Shopbop.com and Net-A-Porter.com. Meanwhile, SierraTradingPost.com, Zappos.com, ToryBurch.com, BrooksBrothers.com and SaksFifthAvenue.com improved to join the top 10.

“LLBean.com is always a strong performer in our evaluations, but they are particularly impressive around the holidays,” said Kevon Hills, StellaService director of research. “Their well-trained seasonal employees are among the best in retail.”

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FINANCE

Frederick’s of Hollywood plans to go private

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hollywood, Calif. — Frederick’s of Hollywood Group Inc. has entered into a definitive merger agreement that provides for the acquisition of the company by a consortium consisting of HGI Funding LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harbinger Group Inc., and certain of the company’s other common and preferred shareholders. The members of the consortium as a group beneficially own approximately 88.6% of the company’s common stock.

The acquisition will be accomplished through FOHG Holdings, LLC, an entity controlled by the consortium that was formed for the purpose of the transaction. Under the merger agreement, the company’s shareholders who are not members of the consortium will receive $0.27 per share in cash upon completion of the transaction.

In addition, in connection with the execution of the merger agreement, Frederick’s and Holdings entered into a new employment agreement with Thomas Lynch, CEO, which will take effect only upon the consummation of the merger. Under the new employment agreement, Lynch agreed to continue to serve as CEO for three years following the merger.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Report: Holiday shipping and mailing activity grows

BY Dan Berthiaume

Port Washington, N.Y. — In the week following Thanksgiving 2013 (Dec. 1 – Dec. 7, 2013), sales of mailing and shipping products were up 13% to $13.3 million, compared the previous year (Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2012). In addition, new analysis from The NPD Group indicates that within shipping and mailing categories, wrapping sales were up 52%, mailer sales rose 17% and packing tape sales grew 14%.

By channel, mailing and shipping product sales rose 14% in the brick-and-mortar channel compared to the same period a year earlier and 3% online.

“The abbreviated period between Thanksgiving and Christmas kicked the holiday mailing and shipping season into gear quickly,” said Lora Morsovillo, president of the office supplies division at The NPD Group. “The week after Thanksgiving was the largest online sales week for mailing and shipping products in 2012, but with just three weeks to get gifts in the mail following the 2013 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, in store purchases were an even more popular option than usual this year. Consumers didn’t have as much time to wait for their shipping materials to ship.”

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