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Sight and Sound

BY Marianne Wilson

From the sheer size of the space to the variety of its attractions, Scheels’ newest outpost, in Legends at Sparks Marina, Sparks, Nev., is in a class by itself. The 295,000-sq.-ft. emporium, billed by the Fargo, N.D.-based retailer as the world’s largest all-sports store, combines an extensive selection of sportswear, footwear and sporting goods with a big dose of entertainment (see related story). Among its most notable features: an integrated media experience that uses high-impact audio, video and digital signage to evoke the Scheels brand and engage customers.

“Everything in the store, including the music and video, is designed to make Scheels a true destination location,” said Darrell Champagne, senior VP of operations/audio and video systems services, PlayNetwork, Redmond, Wash., which supplied all the store’s media assets, visual and audio, along with all hardware design and system design, integration and installation.

The integrated audio and video programming is designed to envelop customers and enhance the overall shopping experience. The audio component includes eight customized music programs that can be routed to different zones of the enormous space.

“Scheels carved out 15 different zones unique in regard to the music programming, with the programming tailored to whatever vibe they are trying to create in the zone,” Champagne explained. “The music programs are easily routed to the zones via touchscreen technology in the main AV room.”

The store’s restaurant, for example, features a background of casual alternative adult music. Elsewhere in the store, younger shoppers are listening to more teen-oriented rock. Depending on the zone, some shoppers hear classical music.

The store uses 800 speakers (11 different types) to ensure good sound quality that doesn’t leak from one audio zone to another. Music is preprogrammed in terms of loudness by zone.

“For example, the music plays a bit louder in the young women’s apparel area than it might in some other areas,” Champagne said.

The store boasts two huge aquariums, which come complete with sound effects.

“Along with supplying the sound effects around the aquariums, we also supplied the audio for the digital-signage elements,” Champagne noted.

Video: There are more than 100 42-in. plasma TVs located throughout the store. The monitors are dedicated to Scheels programming (Scheels TV), which includes a mix of brand messages and promotional messages from major suppliers.

“There are 39 programs that can be distributed to any of the TVs,” Champagne said.

In addition, branded lifestyle video footage (specific to various vendors) is displayed across 36 40-in. high-definition LCD monitors mounted on four large columns. The columns are located on the first floor.

“Three sides of each column are covered with three monitors,” Champagne added. “The displays are very impactful and one of the first things customers see when they enter the store.”

The video content on the column can be synchronized to run across the three displays on any one side.

The in-house restaurant, Grandma Ginna’s, displays its fare via four 40-in. and four 50-in. digital menu boards. “The breakfast, lunch and dinner menus are preprogrammed into the system by dayparts so that the board flips automatically. The system also gives users the ability to easily change content on the fly to accommodate daily specials and the like.

Destination Retail

The new Scheels store, in Sparks, Nev., has something for everyone, including the largest selection of sportswear and sporting goods ever offered under one roof. “Scheels has always stood for sports and the active lifestyle, but our newest location is truly a shopping adventure unlike anything customers in the Reno-Sparks area have ever experienced,” said Jason Loney, VP of store development, Scheels, Fargo, N.D., which operates 23 stores in eight states.

The 295,000-sq.-ft. store serves as the anchor tenant for the Legends of Sparks Marina Center, a new, 1 million-sq.-ft. retail and entertainment center. The sports superstore includes a customer tram; two 16,000-gal. salt-water and freshwater aquariums; an interactive wildlife experience; a 35-ft.-tall, 800-sq.-ft. “Wildlife Mountain” taxidermy display; and a brightly lit 65-ft., 16-car Ferris wheel (a restored 1930s model) that fills the main atrium. The “Walk of Presidents” features 14 life-size models of American presidents.

There are shooting galleries; an indoor archery lane; and golf, hockey, soccer and other sport simulators where customers can test their skills. And if patrons get hungry, there is an on-site restaurant and a fudge shop.

Additionally, Scheels has an extensive service area, offering everything from bike repairs and skate sharpening to ski/board waxing and racquet stringing.

“The sheer magnitude of the site, the number of entertainment areas and the integration of media within and throughout the store environment is amazing,” Champagne added.

Jason Loney, VP of store development for the 23-store Scheels, praised the PlayNetwork staff for understanding the company’s needs.

“Throughout the entire process, from early concepts to install, they have made it their business to understand our brand culture,” Loney said. Their ability to translate that brand into music and visual elements that enhance the overall experience has been instrumental to our creating a one-of-a-kind shopping destination.

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Kohl’s, Forever 21 win bid for 46 former Mervyn’s stores

BY CSA STAFF

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. Kohl’s and Forever 21 won a joint bid for the leaseholds of 46 former Mervyn’s locations valued at approximately $6.25 million.

Kohl’s will assume 31 of the locations while Forever 21 will assume 15, pending approval by the court overseeing Mervyns bankruptcy proceedings.

“We are pleased with the results of the auction,” said Kevin Mansell, president and ceo for Kohl’s Department Stores. “With over 1,000 stores from coast to coast, these locations provide increased presence in under penetrated markets. We will continue to be opportunistic and prudent in our discussions with the owners of select Mervyns real estate as we continue to position Kohl’s to grow market share.”

In fiscal 2009, the Kohl’s said it continues to expect to open approximately 50 stores, including the majority of the 31 former Mervyns’ locations.

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Bazaarvoice appoints new CFO

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Bazaarvoice, which provides social commerce applications that drive sales, announced that Ken Saunders has joined the company as CFO. Saunders has over 25 years of experience as a senior financial executive at companies including Open Solutions, Peregrine Systems, Fair Isaac Corp. and Arthur Andersen. In his new role at Bazaarvoice, Saunders will guide all aspects of the company’s financial operations, as well as lead the team responsible for day-to-day finance, IT and human operations.

“Bazaarvoice is not only the most innovative social commerce company in the industry, it’s the fastest growing, serving hundreds of major brands worldwide and adding more at a very rapid clip,” said Saunders. “As CFO, I look forward to working with Bazaarvoice’s executive team to drive the company’s growth now and into the future, as they continue to transform the way people interact and shop online.”

“Ken has a wealth of world-class financial experience at both private and public companies, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the executive team as Bazaarvoice continues to cement its market leadership in the social commerce space,” said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice. “As more and more retailers worldwide embrace the customer voice as a key brand and marketing tool, Bazaarvoice is poised for rapid growth – and Ken is the perfect person to lead our company’s financial strategy.”

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