ECOMMERCE

Sam’s Club to feature in-store WiFi

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores said Tuesday that its Sam’s Club warehouse stores will upgrade all of its U.S. locations with WiFi by November.

According to the retailer, the AT&T-provided WiFi will allow Sam’s Club members greater use of their WiFi enabled smart phones while shopping and enable associates to demo new IPTVs (Internet TVs) as well as other Internet-connected devices in real time.

The announcement was delivered to more than 2,200 Sam’s Club associates gathered at the Orlando Convention Center for the company’s Annual Holiday Meeting.

Sam’s Club also announced plans to offer a comprehensive smart phone application for the iPhone, BlackBerry and Droid platforms. The app will include several features such as access to eValues, which are extra discounts loaded directly onto the Plus Membership cards, product information, member reviews and more. The Sam’s Club app will be available in September.

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Splashdown in Santa Monica

BY Katherine Boccaccio

The opening of the newly redeveloped Santa Monica Place, in Santa Monica, Calif., on Aug. 6, is noteworthy on several levels, not the least being that it marks the debut of the most ambitious shopping center in some time. In fact, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, it is the only major mall to debut in the United States this year.

Locally based Macerich Co., which bought the Frank Gehry-designed mall in 1999 from what was then The Rouse Co., has transformed the aging, enclosed circa-1980 mall into a three-level, open-air study in modernity with views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Mountains and Santa Monica Pier. (The property closed in January 2008 as it embarked on its 30-month reinvention.)

Macerich not only redid the center, which connects with the Third Street Promenade and downtown Santa Monica, but also significantly changed its tenant base, signing on an upscale tenant line that includes Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Barneys Co-op, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Tory Burch, Coach, and Michael Kors.

Open-air walkways and public gathering spaces augment the 524,000-sq.-ft. space, which also features a third-level rooftop Dining Deck that incorporates — besides both ocean and city views — chef-driven restaurant concepts, fast-casual eateries and The Market, a collection of artisanal, gourmet and organic food purveyors. The custom-designed furnishings, a large-scale fireplace and a signature olive tree accent the Dining Deck space.

The first-level Plaza provides cafe tables and a crescent-shaped fountain in an urban plaza-like setting reminiscent of those found in European cities.

Landscaping throughout the reborn Santa Monica Place is distinctive, from the seashells and mother of pearl in the paving to an urban kelp garden and sculptural dragon trees.

The Jerde Partnership, Venice, Calif., is the design architect for the project, which was created via the adaptive re-use of the former enclosed mall structure. The executive architect is Omniplan, out of Dallas.

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Publix testing out ‘Curbside’ delivery service

BY CSA STAFF

Lakeland , Fla. Publix announced that it is testing its Publix Curbside online grocery ordering and at-store pickup service at one Atlanta and one Tampa, Fla. store in the near future.

According to the company, customers can visit www.publix.com/curbside to place their orders and select their desired pickup location.  No minimum order amount is required and a $7.99 service fee per Curbside order will be added to the total. As an introductory offer, the $7.99 service fee is waived for first time users, the company said.

“As we continue to provide our customers with the service they have grown to expect, we need to provide new and more advanced ways to meet the needs of their growing and changing families,” said Maria Brous, Publix director media and community relations. “Publix Curbside is a natural extension of our service commitment, especially for time-starved families.”

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