News

Specialty apparel retailer launches social media model search

BY Staff Writer

Denver — Multichannel specialty apparel Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie is turning to Facebook to find its next new models. Pampered Passions is launching a contest where women can post photos of themselves on its Facebook page. Every month, the customer with the photo receiving the most likes will receive a dedicated page with their pictures on the Pampered Passions e-commerce site and also get a one-year free membership in the retailer’s “Lingerie of the Month” club.

“"For over a decade customers have been purchasing fine lingerie from us, it’s time to give back and feature our lovely customers’ photos on our website, and support the ladies feeling beautiful, whatever their body type,” said John Vargo, COO of Pampered Passions. “We’ll let family, friends and fans determine their favorite photo."

Pampered Passions is intelligently using social media to create a personal bond with its customers and also drive traffic to its Facebook page and e-commerce site. While the nature of this contest will require careful monitoring of photo content as well as potentially inappropriate Facebook comments, the upside makes the extra policing effort more than worth it.

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OPERATIONS

Men’s Wearhouse Zimmer fires back at board on firing

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — George Zimmer, the founder and pitchman of Men’s Wearhouse, wasted no time in firing back at the company that fired him as executive chairman on Wednesday morning. In a statement released to CNBC, Zimmer suggested that disagreements with the company’s board led to his abrupt termination:

"Over the last 40 years, I have built MW into a multi-billion dollar company with amazing employees and loyal customers who value the products and service they receive at MW,” Zimmer stated. “Over the past several months I have expressed my concerns to the board about the direction the company is currently heading. Instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the boardroom that has in part contributed to our success, the board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns through termination as an executive officer.”

Men’s Wearhouse announced Zimmer’s termination early Wednesday morning. In a terse statement, the company gave no reason for Zimmer’s dismissal, and said the board expects to discuss with Zimmer the extent, if any, and terms of "his ongoing relationship" with the company.

Zimmer, 64, has long been the marketing face of he company – with his signature “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it” slogan and personable, easy-going manner.

Industry analysts found the timing of Zimmer’s firing strange as it occurred on the morning of the same day that the company’s annual shareholder meeting had been scheduled to take place. As part of its Wednesday announcement, Men’s Wearhouse said it will postpone the meeting so that it can re-nominate the existing slate of directors without Zimmer. The new meeting date has not yet been set.

Men’s Wearhouse, which was founded by Zimmer in 1973, operates more than 1,100 stores, under its namesake, Moores and K&G banners.

In 2011, Zimmer, who is Men’s Wearhouse’s seventh largest shareholder, handed over the CEO reins of the company to then-COO Douglas Ewert. The retailer recently reported that its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 23% percent, helped by stronger profit margins and an earlier prom season.

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News

Walgreens expands solar footprint

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Chicago-based solar developer SoCore Energy plan to build more than 200 new solar installations at Walgreens stores throughout California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

This latest expansion will bring the number of completed solar installations at Walgreens stores to more than 350, making the company the leading retailer in number of solar powered stores.

“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and leading the retail industry in use of green technology,” stated Thomas Connolly, Walgreens VP of facilities development. “Because we operate more than 8,000 stores, we believe our implementation of sustainable energy technology can have a significant positive impact on the nation’s environment while also creating jobs.”

The upcoming rollout will produce an estimated 13.5 million kilowatt hours annually, the equivalent of offsetting the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 1,400 homes for one year, the companies stated. Included in the rollout is the Walgreens net-zero energy, LEED Platinum store in Evanston, Ill., which will feature more than 850 rooftop solar panels.

Walgreens will host the solar arrays, and SoCore Energy will own, operate and maintain them. This model has proven to be successful for the two Illinois-based companies since 2011, when the two collaborated on a 53-store rollout across the state of Ohio.

“I commend Walgreens and SoCore on this innovative partnership and the strong commitment shown by these two Chicago companies to renewable energy,” added Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These companies are demonstrating what we in Chicago know to be true — that environmentally friendly business is good business and that there are real economic opportunities associated with the new technologies and advances that are associated with the greening of our cities.”

This rollout is the latest of many green initiatives for Walgreens. The company currently operates three stores that have achieved a LEED certification level of gold, silver and certified; a store in Oak Park, Ill., using geothermal energy; a distribution center in Waxahachie, Texas, that generates energy through the use of wind; and 400 locations with electric vehicle charging stations. Walgreens stores use 25 watt fluorescent lamps (lowest wattage in the industry), LED cooler and freezer lighting and energy management systems in more than 5,000 locations. In addition, 15 Walgreens distribution centers have achieved net zero waste, which means revenues from recycling exceed waste expense, the company stated.

Through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, Walgreens has committed to a chain wide 20% energy reduction by 2020.

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