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Retail Goes South

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hordes of spend-happy young Mexican shoppers are successfully attracting specialty apparel retailers from the U.S. and Europe – and, as mentioned in a recent report by Wall Street Journal, Walmart is feeling the pain.

Spanish teen retailer Zara has the biggest foothold in Mexico, with 246 stores, and the success of the Inditex-owned chain (plus relaxed tariffs on imported apparel) has prompted U.S. fashion stalwarts Gap, American Eagle Outfitters and Forever 21 – along with Swedish counterpart H&M – to jump on the south-of-the-border bandwagon. Just since last September, the four have opened stand-alone stores in Mexico, providing clothing options for the country’s younger, hipper shoppers – and chipping away at Wal-Mart de Mexico’s slipping sales results.

While Mexico’s retail landscape has plenty of obstacles – knock-offs and stolen goods are big business in the country, and will surely erode outsiders’ sales potential – it’s clear that Mexico is now a priority at least among the youth-oriented chains. AEO chief Robert Hanson told WSJ that his chain’s Mexican sales could top the $300 million it does in Canada. “You have to go where the opportunity is,” he told the paper.


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Athleta translates race sponsorship into foot traffic

BY CSA STAFF

Fitness and lifestyle brand Athleta is sponsoring this year’s Esprit de She 5K and 10K races, designed exclusively for women, to be held Thursday, June 27, at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C., just 15 minutes from downtown Raleigh.

Athleta’s mission to "celebrate and inspire women athletes of all levels" while outfitting them with apparel geared toward athletic pursuits that include yoga, Pilates, running, swimming and biking, is in line with the Esprit de She event.

The company is leveraging that sponsorship to encourage participants and their friends and families to visit its store in The Streets at Southpoint, Durham, for a post-race event Friday, June 28, from 9-11 a.m., which toasts those who participated in the race and their guests.

Participants who register for either the Esprit de She 5K or 10K will receive a custom designed, tri-blend tank and race bag, which organizers urge participants to use for shopping following the race.

Headquartered in Petaluma, Calif., Athleta was acquired by Gap in Sept. 2008 and is part of the Growth, Innovation & Digital division. It sells its products through stores nationwide as well as via its e-commerce site and its catalog.

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Lowe’s adds Disney magic to workshops for kids

BY CSA STAFF

Lowe’s is leveraging the popularity of Disney animated films "Monsters University" and "Toy Story" for its nationwide movie-themed Build and Grow clinics for kids.

The special hour-long clinics, recommended for children in grades two through five, will take place on select Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. throughout the summer and are free, the company announced.

Participating children will receive a kid’s apron, goggles and a take-home, customizable wooden project.

The program is scheduled for two weekends in June and two weekends in July, and being marketed as free family fun, which is sure to bring in extra foot traffic into the home improvement retailer’s brick and mortar stores.

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