Insights

SRS Real Estate Partners hires new associate

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas — SRS Real Estate Partners has hired Daniel Poku as an associate in the Dallas/Fort Worth office. A newcomer to the industry, Poku has a background in economics.

Poku is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University. Poku is also currently pursuing a new venture called CauseCakes, with plans to launch fall 2014. CauseCakes partnered with a local bakery to provide cupcakes with wrappers that prompt acts of random kindness for special events and corporate meetings.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Teens, young adults like shopping at malls better than online

BY Marianne Wilson

Cleveland — Shopping ranks as a favorite activity among nearly half of all teens and young adults aged 13 to 24, according to a new survey by Forest City in partnership with Alexander Babbage. Shopping at malls ranked above a virtual shopping experience among the entire group, with the 13-to-17-year-old age group showing the strongest preference for a bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.

As to what is shaping the young shoppers’ decisions, friends and in-store displays topped the list of key influencers. In fact, the study found that young shoppers are four times more likely to be influenced by friends and three times more likely to be influenced by in-store displays than by social media.

The survey also found that teens and young adults are more deal-oriented than generally expected. In addition to finding a deal, young shoppers seek an experience that delivers individuality, authenticity and uniqueness.

Results also show that teens and young adults visit large shopping centers more frequently and spend more money there than at any other virtual or physical shopping venue. Specifically, the survey found that 71% of monthly expenditures by 13-to-17-year-olds and 69% by 18-to-24-year-olds are made in bricks-and-mortar shopping locations.

The survey also found that 13-to-17-year-olds are less brand-centric and more price-sensitive than 18-to-24-year-olds. However, both groups prefer sales and discounts over other tested ways to enhance their bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.

Gift card incentives ranked especially high among this age group, followed by sales at favorite retailers. The 13-to-17-year-old group showed a stronger interest in using malls as places to "hang out," compared with the 18-to-24-year-old age group.
"This generation grew up during the recession, a time when everyone was trying to cut costs, including their parents," said Jane Lisy, Forest City’s senior VP of marketing, Forest City, a national real estate company. "Even though our economy is now recovering, these deal-seeking habits are still important to young shoppers."

In other key findings:

• Personalization and individuality also ranked highly among teens and young adults when it came to their shopping experience. Nearly 65% said the ability to personalize their clothes, shoes and accessories had a positive impact on their overall shopping experience.

• While most young adults indicated that using a mobile device is the least preferred way to shop online, they also said the ability to use mobile devices to receive offers and information positively affects the shopping center experience. Email communication was revealed as the preferred medium for fashion, brand and retail information.

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OPERATIONS

Macy’s new green initiatives include greater use of LEDs

BY Marianne Wilson

Cincinnati — Macy’s reported a series of new initiatives in its multi-year strategic program to enhance environmental sustainability, including a plan to begin replacing fluorescent fixtures in its store with LEDs.

The new initiatives are consistent with the company’s sustainability principles first adopted in 2008 and implemented with increasing intensity over the past six years. Results through 2013 include a 38% reduction in the company’s electricity usage (since 2002), and a 95% adoption rate of recycled or certified paper used in the company’s marketing materials.

New and enhanced elements of sustainability at Macy’s include:

Lighting: The company has already installed more than 1.1 million LED bulbs in more than 800 Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores across America, cutting energy consumption used in lighting by up to 73% compared with conventional bulbs replaced. In 2014, LED technology is being extended fluorescent fixtures.

Solar power: Plans call for the developing of 20 additional solar power arrays to be installed on the roofs of stores and distribution centers in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and other states in 2014 and 2015. At year-end 2013, solar energy was being generated on 55 active installations at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s facilities.

Waste reduction: Plans include reducing waste in the merchandise supply chain by standardizing the size of packing cartons, incorporating recycled polyester fibers in many woven garment labels, minimizing packaging materials and adopting paper hangtags made from FSC-certified paper. Work on packaging reduction is being researched and piloted in Macy’s Private Brands, with plans to collaborate with market merchandise vendors in the months ahead.

Electric vehicle charging stations: Macy’s is collaborating with Volta Industries to install 17 new free-to-operate electric vehicle (EV) charging stations outside eight Macy’s stores in the Los Angeles area by late fall 2014. This installation will bring to 33 the number of EV charging stations available to customers at Macy’s store locations in southern California.

Paperless billing: The company is setting new and higher goals to increase customer adoption of electronic (paperless) billing statements and electronic bill payment. In 2013 alone, nearly 18% of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s customers opted for paperless statements, saving about 745,000 pounds of paper.

Digital receipts: When making a purchase, customers can choose to have a copy of their receipt emailed to them, thus eliminating the unnecessary use of paper receipts. Digital receipts are a convenience for many customers and support the company’s sustainability objective of reducing the use of paper in its business operations. In 2013, about 6% of all store transactions were paperless.

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