REAL ESTATE

Safeway to dispose of Dominick’s stores and exit Chicago market

BY Marianne Wilson

Pleasanton, Calif. — Safeway Inc. announced it plans to get rid of its 72 Dominick’s stores in the Chicago area, exiting the market in early 2014.

Safeway’s decision comes after Dominick’s had a net loss of $8.4 million for the third quarter, ended Sept. 7, compared with a loss of $6.2 million in the year-ago period, and a net loss of $21.5 million for the year to date, compared with $16.8 million for the year- ago period.

"The decision to sell Canada Safeway and to exit the Chicago market is consistent with Safeway’s priority of maximizing shareholder value," said Robert Edwards, president and CEO. "These actions will allow us to focus on improving and strengthening our core grocery business. We are continuing to review all of our businesses to optimize our allocation of resources, improve sales and grow operating profits."

Leaving Chicago is the latest strategic move for Safeway. In June 2013, the company announced that it entered into an agreement to sell its Canadian operations through a sale of substantially all of the net assets of CSL to Sobeys Inc., a Canadian food retailer and wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited.

Safeway bought Dominick’s in 1998 for about $1.2 billion plus debt.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Visa: Digital commerce on the rise

BY Dan Berthiaume

Foster City, Calif. – Consumers are spending more money via digital commerce than ever before. According to a new survey from Visa and GfK Research, “The Way We Pay,” more than half of respondents are more comfortable spending money online today than five years ago. The data shows that consumers are spending more than they ever have – exceeding $1 billion per day on the Visa network in 188 days since January.

In addition, 53% of respondents who buy online do so without going to a retail store to see or test a product before buying online, suggesting the popularity of showrooming may be on the decline. Twenty-seven percent of smartphone owners and 24% of tablet owners have made an online purchase in the past 12 months. Other findings include:

  • Twenty-seven percent of smart phone users and 24% of tablet owners have used their mobile device to make a purchase in the past year.
  • The mobile-payments market is expected to grow by 31% this year to $235.4 billion, and to increase by more than three-fold by 2017.
  • More people (57%) say that digital wallets already have, will or may replace a physical wallet in the next five years than those who say it will never happen (43%).
  • On average, 40% of respondents carry less than $20 in their wallet.

The survey was conducted by telephone of 1,000 U.S. consumers age 18 and older, 500 men and 500 women, in August 2013.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

UGG Australia launching online customization tool

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — UGG Australia will launch UGG by You, an online customization tool putting customers in control of the design process and transforming a visit to the retailer’s website from a shopping trip to a creative experience.

The customization tool allows consumers to mix and match an array of color schemes on two classic styles, the UGG Classic Short sheepskin boot and its Fluff Flip Flop, through a user-friendly design tool. There are over 11,000 color, outsole and trim combinations possible through the footwear personalization tool.

"UGG lovers have a unique, emotional connection with our brand, and with each pair they buy," said UGG Australia president Constance X. Rishwain.

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