OPERATIONS

Report: Target tests hands-on electronics department

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis – Target Corp. is reportedly testing a “hands-on” electronics department with a minimalist format that harkens back to Apple stores and brightly lit displays that encourage shoppers to try out sample consumer electronics products. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Target is testing the concept at stores in Brooklyn Park, Mankato, Ridgedale and the Quarry location in Minneapolis, as well as outside Minnesota.

“It’s more a minimalist approach with space for consumers to touch and test the merchandise,” said Chris Christopher, director of consumer electronics at IHS Global Insight in Massachusetts, in the report.

The test follows similar “hands-on” electronics department designs used by competing consumer electronics retailer such as Apple, Best Buy and Microsoft in recent years. Target has not specified how long the design pilot will last or when it will decide whether to use the new design in more stores.

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REAL ESTATE

RadioShack brings concept store to Boston

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fort Worth, Texas – RadioShack has opened its first new concept store in the Boston area. The store is located in the Porter Square neighborhood of Cambridge, Mass.

The all-new RadioShack features a more open format, showcases the company’s new look, and incorporates interactive areas designed to help shoppers improve their technology profile. Highlights include newly configured displays highlighting in-demand brands, store fixtures that enable shoppers to find and compare products, touch-screens and apps that help explain product features and functions, and free customer Wi-Fi.

RadioShack is opening a select number of these high-touch stores in neighborhoods throughout the nation. The Cambridge location is the sixth concept store to open since the company began converting to the new format this summer. Other stores are located in markets including New York City, New Jersey and Texas.

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FINANCE

Report: Indian Reserve Bank to rule on Wal-Mart probe

BY Dan Berthiaume

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Bentonville, Ark. – The Indian central bank is reportedly reviewing findings of an investigation into whether Wal-Mart Stores broke that country’s investment rules in 2010. According to Reuters, in 2012 the Indian Reserve Bank asked the country’s finance ministry to investigate a $100 million investment Wal-Mart made into an Indian consulting firm that is involved in operating supermarkets.

At the time of the investment, foreign companies were not allowed to hold a controlling interest in Indian supermarkets. The finance ministry has now reportedly completed its investigation and referred its findings to the Indian Reserve Bank to make a final ruling.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson said the company has not seen results of the investigation and cannot comment, while the Indian Reserve Bank also declined comment in the article. Wal-Mart says it has complied and will comply with all Indian investment regulations. India has allowed foreign companies to take majority ownership of supermarkets there since September 2012.

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