Retail Coming Attractions
New York — From indie favorites to mass-market British brands, here are seven retailers getting ready to make their U.S. brick-and-mortar debut:
1. Nasty Gal
The fast-growing online retailer of trendy but affordable clothing and accessories for fashion-forward young women is making the leap to brick-and-mortar, with plans to open in its Los Angeles hometown by year-end. (Founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso, 29, announced the news via a tweet: “We are opening stores. District Manager needed for LA region!”)
Founded in 2006 as a shop on eBay, the business launched its own web site it 2008, and has evolved into an indie fashion empire with attitude, adding new product categories and in-house designed lines to its mix of one-of-a-kind vintage pieces and independent designers. Along the way, it has amassed a cult-like following, with fans intimately engaged with the brand on Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms. Nasty Gal’s success has not gone unnoticed as executives from such companies at Lululemon, Sephora and Urban Outfitters have joined its ranks.
Industry experts expect Nasty Gal’s physical store to be as sassy, stylish and irreverent as its creative muse, whose high profile is sure to get an even bigger boost from her just-released memoir, #GirlBoss.
The four-year-old online beauty-subscription service is on track to open its first physical store in May, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. (Birchbox subscribers pay a $10 monthly fee in return for which they are mailed a pink box that contains a curated selection of sample beauty items, personalized for each individual member. Full-size versions of the products on sold online.)
According to reports, the Birchbox store will be fashioned as a high-tech lifestyle destination, with touch-screens throughout the space on which customers can view personalized product recommendations and customer reviews. It will feature classes and select beauty services in addition to some 2,000 products (including both sample and full sizes) from as many as 250 brands. And in line with the brand’s signature offering, it will also boost a “build-your-box” section.
H&M’s higher-end, more sophisticated brand, COS (Collection of Style), comes stateside this fall, with a three-level space in SoHo. Expect the store to follow the brand’s clean, simple and minimalist aesthetic, which combines modern and traditional influences. A second location is scheduled to open by year end, in Beverly Hills, California.
4. & Other Stories
H&M newest store brand, the mid-priced & Other Stories, also makes its U.S. debut fall, with a 6,400-sq.-ft. space in SoHo. The store will carry apparel, shoes, lingerie, jewelry, accessories and beauty products. With prices slightly higher than H&M but lower than COS, & Other Stories is known for its fashion versatility. It casts a wide net in terms of appeal, covering everything quirky, bohemian-inspired styles and feminine looks to more edgy, innovative styles. The brand will also launch a U.S. e-commerce site in tandem with the SoHo store’s opening.
5. Yellow Box
DSW will launch a freestanding store format for women’s footwear brand Yellow Box, opening three to five locations this year. The stores will carry the label’s iconic jeweled sandals, along with flats, dress shoes, boots and other exclusive products.
British value-priced clothing retailer F&F is set to make its U.S. debut. The company, a division of U.K. giant Tesco, will open a total of seven stores on the East Coast, with the first opening in late spring, at Holyoke Mall, Holyoke, Massachusetts. The mall-based format will feature women’s, men’s and kid’s clothing.
Another European import, the Dublin-based Primark, has also set its sights on the U.S., with plans to open a flagship in 2015 in downtown Boston. The retailer, known for low-cost, trend-driven fashions, has signed a deal to lease 112,000 sq. ft. in the landmark Burnham Building (previously home to Filene’s) in Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood. Retail will occupy about 70,000 sq. ft. of the space, with the rest used for corporate offices. Primark is reportedly in negotiations to open more locations in the Northeast by the middle of 2016.
Primark, which is owned by retail and food giant Associated British Foods, has more than 250 stores in Europe.
Survey finds that three-tiered loyalty program structure is outdated
Nearly one-third (32%) of United States and Canadian consumers can’t identify which tier they belong to in their favorite loyalty rewards programs, according to a study recently released by Colloquy.
Colloquy’s research reveals that the familiar gold, silver and bronze tiering system no longer works. The study shows the three-tiered structure is outdated as a way for brands to keep their customers engaged — sometimes creating confusion rather than inspiring loyalty.
The lack of awareness of basic tier status is a key finding in "Fears for Tiers: 2014 Colloquy Study on Membership Status in Loyalty Programs."
“Savvy shoppers and travelers are all too aware of the recent onslaught of changes to rewards programs,” said Jeff Berry, study author and Colloquy research director. “Brands want to revive consumer engagement simply by updating rewards, but that exacerbates confusion about tier levels and can impose so many limitations that upward movement is perceived as unattainable.”
The Colloquy tiering research sheds light on a key gender difference. Hard benefits, such as monetary or cash rewards, are more likely to motivate women (84%) than men (81%). The positive feeling of reaching a higher tier status is stronger for men (39%) than women (33%).
Approximately 3-in-4 consumers said it’s acceptable for businesses to give special treatment to members of their loyalty programs. And 69% of survey respondents said it’s fair for customers to purchase a higher tier membership if they want to receive the same benefits as those who earned their status through program participation.
In other findings:
- 50% of survey respondents said they have increased their spending or changed other purchasing behavior in order to achieve a higher tier status in a rewards program;
- 33% of low-tier members do not think they are properly acknowledged for their participation in a program, even though they participate whenever possible; and
- Non-travel program members are almost twice as likely as those in travel programs to be unsure of their tier level (34% to 16%).
Study findings are based on a February 2014 survey of 3,077 U.S. and Canadian consumers.
Dollar General’s literacy foundation awards $6m in grants
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $6 million in grants to 700 schools, nonprofits and literacy organizations across the 40 states Dollar General serves to support adult, family and summer literacy programs.
“At Dollar General, we are passionate about our mission of serving others throughout the communities we serve,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “It’s exciting to see the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s outreach in action as we partner with organizations to further education and literacy and make a real difference in people’s lives.”
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $92 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 5 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education.
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is also currently accepting applications for youth literacy grants through Thursday, May 22. Applications may be completed online at www.dgliteracy.org.
Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $92 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than five million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education.
Dollar General has more than 11,000 stores in 40 states.