OPERATIONS

Report: Lululemon ending resale ban

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vancouver, Canada – Lululemon Athletica Inc. is reportedly ending its ban on customers who have resold its goods on sites such as EBay and Amazon.com from purchasing items on its e-commerce site. According to Bloomberg, Lululemon instituted the policy to stop consumers from purchasing and reselling merchandise in bulk, but is rescinding it after a large volume of customer complaints.

Lululemon has strict return policies that only give customers 14 days from date of delivery to return items, which must be unworn with original tags attached. The retailer is reportedly apologizing to all affected customers and will change the language on its website to make clear it does not mind customers reselling small quantities of goods on other sites.

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OPERATIONS

NRF credits Obama on ‘patent troll’ response

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) is publicly crediting the Obama administration for its response to “patent trolls,” or companies that purchase patents for the sole purpose of launching infringement suits against other companies. The administration has implemented a series of executive actions designed to have the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office promote transparency, clarity and fairness in the patent process.

David French, senior VP of the NRF, held meetings at the White House on Feb. 20. Before the meetings, he issued a statement supporting the Obama administration’s efforts.

“The National Retail Federation credits the administration’s attention to strengthening the United States patent system and proposing a series of measures aimed at protecting Main Street retailers and restaurants from abusive patent trolls,” said French. “The President has recognized the economic harm caused by patent trolls, and we welcome the administration’s leadership on this priority. Further transparency, clarity, education and enforcement are all welcome steps for the nation’s business community. Congress needs to act this year on patent reform and address the lingering questions around demand letter transparency, the customer stay provision and expanded covered business method patents in order to fully protect local shops and stores from costly and abusive patent troll lawsuits.”

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FINANCE

Report: Valentine’s Day sales fall in advance, rise on holiday

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Jose, Calif. – Sales for Valentine’s Day this year fell prior to the holiday compared to the same period in 2013, but rose on the actual holiday itself, Feb. 14. According to new figures from site analytics provider RetailNext, men’s stores (that have gifts for men) saw decreased (-13.8%) sales the day before Valentine’s, but an increase of +22.2% in sales on Valentine’s Day itself in 2014.

Meanwhile, women’s stores (that have gifts for women) saw decreased (-13.5%) sales the day before Valentine’s, but an increase of +15.2% in sales on Valentine’s Day itself in 2014. For all retailers examined, the three days before Valentine’s Day saw a -7.4% decrease in sales and -6.7% decline in traffic on average when compared to Feb. 11-13 in 2013.

RetailNext analysis indicates that Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday in 2014, as compared to a Thursday in 2013, made it easier for more people to shop that day.

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