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FINANCE

Report: Walmart ‘evaluating’ food retail in India

BY Marianne Wilson

Wal-Mart Stores is still considering a possible entry into the food retail market in India.

With new rules allowing for 100% foreign ownership of food retailers selling goods produced in India, Krish Iyer, the president and CEO of Wal-Mart India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wal-Mart, said the chain is “evaluating” the guidelines, reported The Economic Times. His answer came in response to a question as to whether Walmart was planning on entering the market.

Currently, Walmart India operates in the wholesale segment, and has 21 cash and carry stores in the country. It plans to increase the number to 50 by 2021, according to the report.

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Missguided, Westfield Stratford City, London

BY CSA STAFF
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British online fast-fashion retailer Missguided makes the leap to physical retail with a high-concept, high-impact store at Westfield Stratford City mall in London.

Featuring an “on-air” television studio concept, the 20,000-sq.-ft. space delivers a dynamic live stream of real-time content, fashion and inspiration in a bold environment. It reflects the desire of its young, Snapchat-obsessed core audience for the new by offering a constantly changing space that includes plenty of shareable moments.

Fusing the online and offline experience, the store is loaded with signage that encourage customers to download the brand’s app and follow it on Snapchat. Lightboxes boasting cheeky slogans that perfectly capture the playful, sometime outrageous voice of the brand are everywhere.

There are no traditional navigation paths in Missguided. Instead, the emphasis is on exploration and immersion. The space is fashioned as a series of lifestyle stage sets.

With social interaction at the heart of the concept, Missguided breaks from tradition and locates its fitting rooms at the front of the store, styling the area as an interactive lounge space, complete with emojis and tongue-in-cheek signage. Inspired by a glamorous Miami Beach pool party, palm trees surround the space and a swimming pool animation is projected onto the ceiling. Comfy seating areas encourage groups of friends to spend time showing off looks and exploring their personal style.

Designed by Dalziel + Pow, London, Missguided won a silver award in the softline specialty store category of the 2017 Shop! Design Awards.

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FINANCE

Retailers turn in mixed performance in March

BY Marianne Wilson

A slump in consumer prices helped to keep retail sales in check in March.

Retail sales in March inched up 0.3% over February, according to the National Retail Federation. (The NRF numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.)

“Various factors were at play in the first quarter, but we are again seeing a pattern similar to previous years — consumer spending was weak but is expected to pick up as we move through the year,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.

Citing the most recent Consumer Price Index numbers that showed prices reversing course in March, Kleinhenz said a lack of pricing power continues to plague the retail industry.

“There is no doubt that weak pricing power led to the bumpy period for retailers in the first part of this year,” he said.

On a three-month moving average, retail sales have grown 2.8% year-over-year. When looking at business lines, performance in March was again uneven. Clothing and accessories and general merchandise saw slight gains, while there were declines in building materials and supplies and sporting goods, likely due to winter weather. But even the sectors with declines showed increases year-over-year, the NRF pointed out.

A few specifics include:

• Online and other non-store sales increased 0.6% over February and increased 11.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at clothing and accessories stores increased 1% seasonally adjusted from February but decreased 2.5% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at general merchandise stores increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted over February and remained even year-over-year.

• Electronics and appliances stores’ sales increased 2.6% seasonally adjusted over February but decreased 0.4% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Furniture and home furnishings stores’ sales decreased 0.3% from February but increased 3.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sales at building materials and supplies stores decreased 1.5% seasonally adjusted from February but increased 6.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sporting goods stores’ sales decreased 0.8% seasonally adjusted from February and decreased 4.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

Sales at health and personal care stores increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted over February and increased 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

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