Target makes a splash with pop-up in Grand Central Station
New York — Target is celebrating the launch of Sonia Kashuk’s new line bath and body products collection with a larger-than-life art installation and pop-up store in New York City’s Grand Central Station. The centerpiece of the space is a gleaming white bathtub on a platform that is raised some eight feet off the floor. A live model sits in the tub, which is surrounded by bubble-like balloons.
The new line, which includes shower gels, body lotions, loofas and shower caps, is on display in the pop-up and available for sale.
In tandem with the launch, the brand is running an Instagram contest: Four winners who tag #skbody will be entered to win "a full scent family of products."
Weak retail climate dims LeapFrog’s holiday view
LeapFrog Enterprises is rolling into the holiday with its strongest product lineup ever but concerns about consumer spending have the leading educational entertainment company tempering its view of fourth quarter sales.
LeapFrog just reported sales for the third quarter ended September 30, that increased 4% to $201 million due to shipments of products such as LeapPad Ultra, LeapPad2 Power, LeapPad 2 holiday bundles and LeapReader. However, much of the company’s growth was driven by international sales which increased 14% to $54.2 million including a 3% negative impact from currency exchange rates.
Domestically, sales were up 1% to $146.8 million. Profits on an adjusted basis to account for non-recurring expenses increased 19% to $26.8 million, or 38 cents a share, from $22.5 million, or 32 cents a share, the prior year.
“Despite a tough retail climate in most of the markets in which we operate, the LeapFrog team delivered another solid quarterly financial performance,” CEO John Barbour said of the company’s performance. “We head into the all-important holiday season with the best product offering we have ever had. We have hundreds of new pieces of life-changing educational entertainment content, an expanded learning tablet line with LeapPad Ultra, LeapPad2 Power, LeapPad2 and our LeapPad exclusive holiday bundles, a new learn-to-read-and-write line with LeapReader and new learning toys such as Read With Me Scout & Violet.”
As is often the case, LeapFrog brands products tend to be featured on most of the top toy lists retailers generate for the holiday and the company continues to win accolades from consumer and independent experts.
“We are well-positioned for the holidays with improved in-stocks, stronger retail promotions and greater marketing investment during the highest-volume shopping weeks. At the same time, we see a weak retail climate and growing concern surrounding this holiday season, especially in the U.S.,” Barbour said.
LeapFrog CFO Ray Athur echoed the concerns of his boss.
“While our financial performance to date has met our expectations, we are concerned about the fourth quarter given economic headwinds and a weak retail environment,” Arthur said. “Additionally, the holiday season will be more challenged and trend later in the U.S. this year compared to last year with six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and two fewer weekend shopping days.”
Those concerns caused the company to adjust its full year outlook with sales now projected to range from $570 million to $590 million, which could leave the company with either a 2% increase or decrease compared to last year’s sales of $581 million. Earnings per share are forecast to range from 36 cents to 46 cents, below last year’s profit of 56 cents a share.
Dick’s to power ESPN’s online shop
Dick’s Sporting Goods and ESPN have entered into a multi-year agreement which will allow Dick’s to be the exclusive e-commerce provider of licensed merchandise and sporting goods on ESPN.com and related digital properties.
Dick’s and ESPN are no strangers. The sporting goods retailer sponsors ESPN’s Champ Week coverage for college basketball, and collaborates on content such as Hell Week — an original documentary produced by Dick’s Sporting Goods Films in association with ESPN, which aired on ESPN2 and ESPNU earlier this year.
As a result of the new agreement, fans will now be able to shop an expanded range of licensed products available at the rebranded ESPN Fan Shop powered by Dick’s Sporting Goods. Contextually integrated shopping opportunities will be featured across ESPN platforms in the near future — including ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Radio and mobile properties such as ScoreCenter, GameCast and WatchESPN — allowing fans to easily purchase officially licensed products from their favorite MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA, EPL, MLS teams while following their favorite athlete or team. In addition to licensed apparel, the site will carry an expanded assortment of ESPN merchandise, including the award-winning 30 for 30 documentary series.
"This groundbreaking collaboration with ESPN blends sports content and commerce, solidifying DICK’s as the premier destination for licensed product," said Lauren Hobart, SVP and CMO. “Dick’s is excited about this dynamic multi-channel approach, which includes traditional and non-traditional marketing and e-commerce, to better serve the needs of athletes and fans everywhere."
"ESPN and Dick’s Sporting Goods share similar goals, most notably, serving sports fans and athletes,” added ESPN’s Sean Bratches, EVP of sales and marketing. “This new online store builds on a long history between the two companies and will allow both to better serve this audience with a unique shopping experience."