MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Target generates most positive grocery sentiment

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cambridge, Mass. – Target is the grocery brand with the highest positive consumer sentiment rating. In a survey of the grocery habits of 763 consumers exclusively released to Chain Store Age, analytics technology provider Luminoso Technologies found that 60% of consumers had positive sentiment about Target as a grocery retailer.

Other grocery retailers with positive sentiment of more than 50% included Publix, Harris-Teeter, Safeway and Kroger. Shoprite was the most associated with convenience, Target was the most correlated with discussion surrounding pricing.

Sentiment analysis of grocery-related keywords also shows that people feel very strongly that they should have good “produce,” “seafood,” and “organic” products, while the “pharmacy” could use improvement. People are far less emotional about staples such as “bread”, “snacks”, and “milk.” People select grocery stores for their “selection,” favorite “brands,” and “variety,” while looking for improvement in the “checkout,” “carts,” and “aisles.”

Importance of price increased with respondents’ residential population density, and convenience had a slight premium for urban residents. Location was significantly more important to rural (24%) and urban (31%) respondents, as compared to suburb-dwellers (15%).

Looking at gender differences, men were slightly more likely to discuss location as a store selection factor (28% for men, 19% for women). Men were almost three times as likely to discuss what their stores could improve (34% to 12%).

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News

Pacific Sunwear SVP of women’s merchandising and design resigns

BY CSA STAFF

Pacific Sunwear’s SVP of women’s merchandising and design Christine Lee has resigned. Filling the role on an interim basis will be Brieane Breuer, who joined PacSun in 2007 and is the company’s current VP of women’s design.

Breuer received her master’s degree in fashion design and styling from Istituto Marangoni and during the past 13 years has held various merchandising and design roles at high-end fashion brands such as Valentino, as well as at Abercrombie & Fitch.

The company stopped short of saying why Lee resigned, but it did comment on its second-quarter guidance following challenges in its women’s business. The company said that it expects its non-GAAP loss from continuing operations per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 to be generally in line with analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.03, which compares favorably to the company’s previously issued non-GAAP guidance of $0.08 to $0.02.

"Sales trends across the business have generally improved in both June and July with men’s again on track to achieve a positive comp for the second quarter," said Gary H. Schoenfeld, president and CEO of Pacific Sunwear. "Based on the strength of our brand assortment, along with our leadership position with the men’s jogger for back-to-school, we expect men’s to continue its positive momentum as we look ahead to the third quarter."

With respect to its women’s business, the company is focused on four key areas: increasing the penetration of brands, leveraging the vision of its design team even more by leading with new trends, strengthening its non-apparel business and driving growth online.

"I appreciate all of the efforts Christine has put forth over the past four years to help re-position the PacSun business," added Schoenfeld. "I am eager to work even more closely with Brie and the rest of our women’s team to successfully tackle our key initiatives. I am excited by several recent creative concepts coming from our design team and optimistic that the women’s business can soon get back to positive comps as well."

As of July 31, the company operates 618 stores in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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FINANCE

Court certifies two suits against New York-area Applebee’s stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Kansas City, Mo. — A New York federal court conditionally certified two class action lawsuits alleging that managers of 36 Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill franchise restaurants in the metro New York area systematically altered employee time records to avoid paying minimum and overtime wages to thousands of current and former employees. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak of the Eastern District of New York granted the plaintiffs’ motion for conditional collective action certification.

The court’s order granting conditional certification covers all eligible non-managerial employees who have worked at the 36 restaurants in New York City, and Rockland and Westchester Counties since October 22, 2009. The first case – the "Martin" case – involves a class of all non-managerial employees at the restaurants. The second case – the "Dove" case – involves a sub-class of the same employees who received part of their income in the form of tips.

The workers are represented by The Ottinger Firm P.C.

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