OPERATIONS

Report: New York investigating Macy’s, Barneys over racial profiling claims

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The attorney general of the state of New York is investigating Macy’s and Barneys following complaints from black customers that they were stopped by police after making expensive luxury purchases, according to the New York Daily News. The local New York media has dubbed the practice “shop-and-frisk.”

The office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters on Monday to both retailers seeking information on their policies for stopping, detaining and questioning customers based on race, the report said, and gave them Friday to comply.

Barneys CEO Mark Lee said that Barneys employees had no part in the two incidents that set off the controversy, Reuters reported.

"We believe that no Barneys employees were involved in those incidents," Lee said after a meeting in Harlem with civil rights leader Al Sharpton and members of his National Action Network, according to the report. "No one from Barneys brought them to the attention of our internal security and no one from Barneys reached out to external authorities."

Barneys and the New York City Police Department were named in a lawsuit filed by a Queens man detained by police in April for two hours after buying a $349 Ferragamo belt. He was later released without being charged. Another Barneys shopper said she was surrounded by four undercover police officers in February after leaving with a $2,500 Celine handbag she had purchased.

Two Macy’s shoppers have made similar complaints.

In 2005, Macy’s paid $600,000 to settle similar allegations that many of the chain’s New York stores had targeted blacks and Latinos for particular scrutiny of theft, according to the New York Attorney General’s office.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Kmart expanding online and in-store conveniences to Puerto Rico

BY Marianne Wilson

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Kmart announced it is extending its integrated retail shopping strategy, which connects online and in-store shopping channels to provide more flexible ways to shop, to customers in Puerto Rico. For the first time this holiday season, Puerto Rico-based Kmart customers and Shop Your Way members will have access to online layaway, store-to-home shipping, free Anyone, Anywhere pickup and free store pickup.

The expansion coincides with the launch of a localized e-commerce channel that has been created within Kmart.com. The site also allows customers in Puerto Rico to enter their ZIP code and shop online at Kmart.com for a relevant assortment of products.

"Kmart strives to provide a seamless experience for our customers," said Dave Rodney, regional VP of Kmart Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. "We are excited to give our Shop Your Way members and customers in Puerto Rico access to new options that enhance the experience in-store and online."

Expanded in-store and online shopping amenities will bring added convenience to customers in Puerto Rico by giving more choices and additional ways to shop and save this holiday season. Customers will find new ways to plan holiday spending with online layaway, save time with store-to-home shipping and minimize unnecessary shipping costs with free Anyone, Anywhere pickup and free store pickup.


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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Target online veteran to head up inRetail, new omni-channel retail agency

BY Marianne Wilson

San Jose, Calif. — Lance Thornswood, longtime general manager of user experience, e-commerce and creative for Target.com and interactive marketing, has been tapped to head up inRetail, a new division being launched by The Stephenz Group, one of Silicon Valley’s largest independent branding, marketing and digital agencies. The specialized division will address the growing consumer demand for omnichannel retail.

“Retailers have never had it tougher,” said Thornswood. “Consumers want everything to be connected, and they want a single, seamless experience from their tablet to their desktop to the aisles of your stores, where they’re pulling out smartphones to compare your products and prices to everybody else’s. inRetail is a powerful new ally. With our insider knowledge of the retail industry and our ability to do everything it takes, we’re set to help retailers thrive in the face of a massive retail revolution.”

Barbara Zenz, president and CEO of The Stephenz Group commented: “There aren’t many agencies out there today with both a proven track record in retail technology and the in-house retail expertise required to enable exceptional consumer experiences across all touch points. We’ve combined the services of a world-class digital agency, a creative studio, and that of an IT consulting firm with the unique talents of industry experts to deliver the kinds of services retailers need to stay ahead of the omnichannel curve. Lance has worked inside the walls of some of the world’s most admired retailers, and this unique inside-out expertise will drive inRetail and offer something missing in the market.”


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