REAL ESTATE

Starbucks opens 100th store in Beijing

BY Marianne Wilson

Beijing — Starbucks Coffee Co. advanced its growth plans in China with the opening of its 100th store in Beijing. The company also announced the launch of Starbucks China University, its talent development program.

Starbucks has announced that China will be its second largest market by 2014 and will have 1,500 stores by 2015 across more than 70 cities. It currently operates 700 locations throughout Mainland China.”

The Beijing store is staffed by Starbucks “Coffee Masters,” baristas who have completed a rigorous certification process and have earned the right to wear the distinguished Black Apron after intensive coffee skills and knowledge training, the company said.

Starbucks China University will also offer training curriculums that encompass a broad range of areas and functions of the Starbucks China business, including coffee knowledge and culture training, and provide tailor-designed curriculums on retail and related functional training as well as leadership competency.

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OPERATIONS

Dollar General announces new mobile apps

BY Marianne Wilson

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General announces its new mobile applications for iPhone and Android smartphones that include sales ads, store locations, coupons and more.

“Many of our shoppers use mobile phones for shopping and to make purchasing decisions,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s executive VP, division president and chief merchandising officer. “We’re making shopping at Dollar General simpler for our customers by making ads and information available at the touch of a button on their mobile phone.”

The new app allows customers to:

  • Find stores with a store locator;
  • View ads, create shopping lists and share via email or text message;
  • Save money with mobile coupons;
  • Use free Quick Response scanner to access upcoming sales and unlock additional savings; and
  • Connect with Dollar General through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
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News

NPD finds consumers still entertaining this holiday

BY CSA STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — With the holiday season officially underway, North American market research company NPD has reported its findings on consumers’ holiday entertaining purchases.

The group’s Consumer Tracking Service, which culls data from the past 12 months ending Oct. 2012, found that 63% of housewares consumers enjoy hosting parties in their homes.

“It’s holiday time again, and consumers are ritualistically preparing their homes to entertain this holiday season. Products that furnish seasonal touches and sets that satisfy their need for value are on the menu this year,” said Debra Mednick, executive director of the NPD Group’s home business.

Research shows that though there is a slight increase throughout the years, fewer than half of all housewares items sold are purchased as gifts for someone else. Nevertheless, gift sales of cookware and dinnerware have both increased in share since last year, with cookware being the largest category (40%) with respect to gift-giving dollars within housewares.

Overall, dollar sales of kitchen linens are down, but dining linens are up 5% compared to last year. Kitchen towel sets and towel potholder sets grew by 9% and 24%, respectively. Tablecloths, napkins and placemat/napkin sets all showed growth. Purchases of these for use during the holiday increased 11% in dollars while purchases made for no special occasion increased just slightly.

“Across housewares categories, sets now account for a larger share of market dollars than individual pieces,” added Mednick. “Rather than spending a premium on individual pieces, consumers can get everything they need in a neat package with the added benefit of saving some money.”

NPD’s Retail Tracking Service, which culls data from the past 12 months ending Oct. 2012, found that the top 10 selling dinnerware patterns were winter or holiday-themed. Sets went up 5%, but the formal segment also showed growth with dollar increases of 21%.

The research also showed that sets of beverageware are outpacing the overall category, which is down compared to last year. Wine glasses and serveware such as pitchers, carafes and punch bowls are outperforming as well. Multi-piece flatware sets account for more than 80% of dollars and are outpacing the category as well. The casual segment accounts for about three-quarters of total sales.

Dollar sales for bakeware are up 5%, with value packs and casserole, baking dishes and muffin pans driving much of that growth and accounting for more than a third of total sales. Cookware sets and open stock options account for the majority of the category dollars. Highest performing segments so far this year have been sauce pans, pressure cookers, stir frys/woks, steamers and PTFE/PFOA free products.

Category sales of cutlery are down slightly over last year, but some notable areas with double-digit dollar growth are carving/chef knives, cutlery with soft/comfort grips, 10-piece cutlery sets and eco-friendly cutting boards.

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