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Roots, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto

BY CSA STAFF

Roots has debuted a new experiential format that brings the iconic Canadian sportswear brand’s heritage to life.

Roots’ founders, Michael Budman and Don Green, are passionate about the outdoors, camping and Canada, and all three are reflected in the brand’s new 5,100-sq.-ft. store, at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. The design of the space alludes to an open, modern cabin that showcases Roots’ heritage and culture.

Designed in collaboration with CallisonRTKL, the store several different experiences, including a dedicated leather customization workshop where shoppers can witness firsthand the handcrafted process that Roots’ products go through. Using a digital design interface, shoppers can also customize their own products, adding a personal spin to their items.

Other features include an enhanced fitting room lounge where shoppers can relax while taking in images and artifacts from Roots’ past. Each of the fitting rooms has a different outdoor theme. Music brings life to the store through DJ areas and space for live performances.

“While working with CallisonRTKL designers, Roots meticulously showcased everything that makes their brand enduring and vital,” said CRTKL VP Cindi Kato. “The space is a true reflection of Roots’ commitment to the best representations of Canadian heritage, natural beauty, craftsmanship and integrity.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Kohl’s giving financial aid to its hurricane-affected employees

BY Marianne Wilson

Kohl's is reaching out to its associates as well as the general public impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

The retailer said it will provide an estimated $1 million in financial support to its employees who have been significantly impacted by the storm. Kohl’s will continue to monitor the impact of the flooding throughout the region to evaluate the need for additional assistance.

In addition, Kohl's announced a $500,000 cash donation toward hurricane relief and recovery efforts in Texas and across the Gulf Coast. Kohl’s is providing the donation to the American Red Cross, which is delivering emergency supplies and services in the impacted areas.

“In addition to supporting the communities we serve, we are also providing assistance to our associates who have been directly impacted by the storm to help as they recover," said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer. "Our hearts are with the people of Texas and across the Gulf Coast.”

In addition to financial contributions, Kohl’s is encouraging its associates to volunteer in support of relief efforts through Kohl’s volunteer program.

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ECOMMERCE

Online giant’s partnership expands Alexa’s reach

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon’s newest move could take voice-assisted ordering to new levels.

The online giant is joining forces with Microsoft to integrate the companies' two digital assistants. This will allow Amazon’s Alexa to activate and talk to Microsoft’s Cortana device, and vice-versa.

Cortana customers can ask Alexa to shop on Amazon, control their smart home devices, and interact with more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, among other tasks. Meanwhile, Alexa users can access Cortana to book a meeting, access work calendars, and read email, among other requests.

“The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, Amazon. “Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience.”

The companies did not reveal a specific launch date, but said the devices will begin talking to each other later this year.

The partnership comes on the heels of Amazon rival Walmart’s announcement to jump into voice-activated ordering through the help of Google. Walmart will enable customers to order from “hundreds of thousands of items” via Google Assistant, the search giant's online shopping platform that lives on its smart speaker Google Home and other smart devices. It will be the largest number of items currently offered by a retailer through the platform, according to Walmart.

The program is expected to launch late September.

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