OPERATIONS

Report: Toys ‘R’ Us opens 5 p.m. Thanksgiving

BY Dan Berthiaume

Wayne, N.J. – The time may have come to change the name of Black Friday to Black Thursday. According to multiple media reports, Toys ‘R’ Us will open stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.

Reports of Toys ‘R’ Us getting a jump on Black Friday in-store sales are based on statements in the retailer’s weekly advertising circular released Monday, Nov. 4. This marks the fifth year Toys ‘R’ Us has opened its doors on Thanksgiving. Last year the retailer opened stores at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night. Other major chains letting customers shop their stores on Thanksgiving this year include Sears, Kmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and J.C. Penney.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Whole Foods Market teams with Etsy

BY Dan Berthiaume

Austin, Texas — Starting in November, Whole Foods Market stores nationwide will host DIY craft tutorials, with local artists from Etsy’s seller community. Shoppers can also find exclusive step-by-step DIY projects from Etsy’s creative community in Whole Foods Market’s 2013 Holiday Guide, available in stores and online.

“With packed holiday schedules, homemade holiday entertaining can seem out of reach for some shoppers,” said Barry Hirsch, global partnerships director for Whole Foods Market. “Thanks to Etsy, we’ve developed the perfect recipe of creative ingredients, both DIY and food, to help shoppers see how easy, fun and affordable it can be to add a personal touch to their holiday celebrations.”

As part of the partnership, Etsy’s holiday page will feature artist profiles, products and shops curated specially for Whole Foods Market shoppers. Similarly, Whole Foods Market’s holiday site will feature exclusive Etsy content.

“Etsy looks for partnerships that bring our seller community to the forefront and celebrate their skills and creativity,” said Dana Mauriello, director of new business opportunities at Etsy. “Together, Whole Foods Market and the Etsy community can share ideas to create the best handmade holiday.”


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FINANCE

Vitamin Shoppe reports flat Q3 net income; 60 stores on tap for 2014

BY Dan Berthiaume

North Bergen, N.J. – Vitamin Shoppe reported net income of $16.3 million during the third quarter of fiscal 2013, flat with the same quarter in the prior year. The retailer also reported a 14% increase in total net sales, to $272.5 million from $239 million, as well as a 2.6% jump in same-store sales.

Integration costs from the company’s acquisition of the Super Supplements chain earlier this year and a 15% increase in cost of goods sold negatively impacted net income totals, while sales increases were driven by higher same-store sales, the addition of $17 million in Super Supplements sales, higher sales in stores open less than a year, and a roughly 18% increase in e-commerce sales.

The company opened 10 stores in the quarter and 33 year-to-date. The majority of the third quarter store openings occurred late in the quarter. Total store count was 640 as of September 28, 2013, compared with 564 on September 29, 2012. For fiscal 2014, Vitamin Shoppe predicts it will open about 60 new stores and have mid-single-digit same-store sales growth.

“We delivered our 32nd consecutive quarter of positive comparable retail store sales growth and experienced improving traffic trends throughout the quarter,” said Tony Truesdale, CEO of Vitamin Shoppe. “We opened a new 311,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in Ashland, Va., and continued to successfully integrate Super Supplements, the largest acquisition in the company’s history."

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