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Social Reality upgrades social media platform

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – Social Reality Inc., an Internet advertising and platform technology company that provides tools to automate the digital advertising market, is launching the latest version of its GroupAd platform. GroupAd is a social media management platform that allows brands to identify and reward brand advocates.

Brands may select from a library of pre-created applications that run on mobile devices, on a brand’s website and or on a brand’s Facebook Fan Page. After choosing an application from the GroupAd library, the brand has the opportunity to attach a rewards program or a charity program to its campaign in order to drive engagement. GroupAd’s dashboard offers insight into the brand’s advocates and provides a tool to reach these consumers.

"GroupAd 3.0 is beautiful and we could not be more proud of the technology team,” said Christopher Miglino, Social Reality’s chairman and CEO. “We are excited to start selling the platform to brands and agencies and look forward to this contributing to our revenue growth for the remainder of this year and beyond."

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Costco Q3 profit rises but fall short of Street; sales up

BY Michael Fickes

Issaquah, Wash. – Costco Wholesale Corp. reported 3% year-over-year net income growth in its third quarter, to $473 million from $459 million in the year-ago period, as sales and membership fees improved. However, it came in short of the roughly $482 million in profit analysts had expected.

Net sales for the quarter increased 7% to $25.23 billion, from $23.55 last year.

Total same-store sales rose 6%, excluding negative impacts from gasoline price deflation and foreign exchange. Same-store sales rose 6% in the United States, and 8% internationally.

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Abercrombie’s loss widens, but results still top expectations

BY Dan Berthiaume

New Albany, Ohio – Abercrombie & Fitch Co. reported a net loss of $23.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, up from $7.2 million in the year-ago period, but less than analysts had expected. Restructuring charges associated with the closure of Abercrombie’s Gilly Hicks stand-alone stores, as well as the impact of heavy discounting on profit margins, helped drive the retailer’s net loss growth. The chain backed its full-year forecast as demand in its female business improved and sales fell less than expected for the first time in six quarters.

Abercrombie’s net sales fell 1.9% to $822.4 million, well above Wall Street’s average estimate of $796.3 million. Same-store sales declined 4%.

Same-store sales by brand, including direct-to-consumer, decreased 1% for Abercrombie & Fitch, decreased 6% for abercrombie kids, and decreased 7% for Hollister Co.

"In what remains a difficult teen retail environment, we are pleased that earnings for the quarter were in line with our expectations,” said Mike Jeffries, CEO. “Overall sales for the quarter decreased 2%, which included strong growth in our direct-to-consumer business. In addition, comparable sales continued to head in the right direction, and included significant sequential improvement in our female business and our Abercrombie & Fitch brand as a whole.”

Looking ahead, Abercrombie anticipates opening 15 full-price international stores throughout the year, including a small number of Abercrombie & Fitch international mall-based stores. The company also now plans to open approximately eight-to-10 international and U.S. outlet stores during the fiscal year. In addition, Abercrombie continues to expect to close approximately 60-to-70 stores in the U.S. during the fiscal year through natural lease expirations.

Abercrombie also plans an expanded roll-out of its updated Hollister store format, which it has been testing since January of this year. The company now anticipates that the updated design will be rolled out in 75-to-100 stores by the end of the current fiscal year.

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