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Technomic, CHD Expert unveil Easy2Find tool

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – Easy2Find is a new online analytics tool designed to simplify food industry research and intelligence at the unit level. It is a joint service offering that joins foodservice data analytics provider CHD Expert and research and consulting firm Technomic.

Easy2Find lets chains see and understand a restaurant’s footprint in any given geographic market and restaurant segment. It is designed to allow users to find where competitors are opening new unit locations and how they impact sales, helping to uncover market expansion potential.

"Brands looking to enter new markets, penetrate existing markets or just track the impact of their competition need information like this to execute smarter strategies," said Darren Tristano, executive VP at Technomic.

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Toys ‘R’ Us hosts Children’s Fund Gala

BY CSA STAFF

More than 1,200 leaders from the toy and baby products industries gathered at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York to celebrate the 2014 Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund Gala.

During this special evening of entertainment and fundraising, $4.5 million was raised for the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys “R” Us, to aid in its mission to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The event was hosted by Emmy and Tony Award-winning comedian Martin Short and featured a brilliant performance by five-time Grammy winner James Taylor and his All-Star Band.

“The Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund Gala is a wonderful occasion for industry partners to join together in celebrating our shared mission to bring joy into the lives of all children,” said Kathleen Waugh, chair of the Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund. “This event also allows us to proudly showcase the Fund’s most significant efforts in charitable giving over the past year and to salute the many respected nonprofit organizations we support.”

The evening featured a unique opportunity for guests to lend support to the thousands of Special Olympics Athletes from across the country competing in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in N.J. next month. Gala attendees rallied during a live text-to-donate opportunity to offset some of the costs associated with participating in the games, allowing these athletes to devote themselves to discover new strengths, abilities and skills through the Special Olympics’ program.

Toys “R” Us was the first founding partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games with a $1 million grant from the Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund. The company will also serve as the presenting sponsor of the first-ever Young Athletes Festival at the upcoming Games, providing opportunities for children ages 2 to 7 to take part in the Special Olympics’ Young Athletes Program. In February, the company also launched a text-to-donate campaign encouraging customers to support the current and future champions of this summer’s games.

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Retail Coming Attractions

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — From indie favorites to mass-market British brands, here are seven retailers getting ready to make their U.S. brick-and-mortar debut:

1. Nasty Gal

The fast-growing online retailer of trendy but affordable clothing and accessories for fashion-forward young women is making the leap to brick-and-mortar, with plans to open in its Los Angeles hometown by year-end. (Founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso, 29, announced the news via a tweet: “We are opening stores. District Manager needed for LA region!”)

Founded in 2006 as a shop on eBay, the business launched its own web site it 2008, and has evolved into an indie fashion empire with attitude, adding new product categories and in-house designed lines to its mix of one-of-a-kind vintage pieces and independent designers. Along the way, it has amassed a cult-like following, with fans intimately engaged with the brand on Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms. Nasty Gal’s success has not gone unnoticed as executives from such companies at Lululemon, Sephora and Urban Outfitters have joined its ranks.

Industry experts expect Nasty Gal’s physical store to be as sassy, stylish and irreverent as its creative muse, whose high profile is sure to get an even bigger boost from her just-released memoir, #GirlBoss.

2. Birchbox

The four-year-old online beauty-subscription service is on track to open its first physical store in May, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. (Birchbox subscribers pay a $10 monthly fee in return for which they are mailed a pink box that contains a curated selection of sample beauty items, personalized for each individual member. Full-size versions of the products on sold online.)

According to reports, the Birchbox store will be fashioned as a high-tech lifestyle destination, with touch-screens throughout the space on which customers can view personalized product recommendations and customer reviews. It will feature classes and select beauty services in addition to some 2,000 products (including both sample and full sizes) from as many as 250 brands. And in line with the brand’s signature offering, it will also boost a “build-your-box” section.

3. COS

H&M’s higher-end, more sophisticated brand, COS (Collection of Style), comes stateside this fall, with a three-level space in SoHo. Expect the store to follow the brand’s clean, simple and minimalist aesthetic, which combines modern and traditional influences. A second location is scheduled to open by year end, in Beverly Hills, California.

4. & Other Stories

H&M newest store brand, the mid-priced & Other Stories, also makes its U.S. debut fall, with a 6,400-sq.-ft. space in SoHo. The store will carry apparel, shoes, lingerie, jewelry, accessories and beauty products. With prices slightly higher than H&M but lower than COS, & Other Stories is known for its fashion versatility. It casts a wide net in terms of appeal, covering everything quirky, bohemian-inspired styles and feminine looks to more edgy, innovative styles. The brand will also launch a U.S. e-commerce site in tandem with the SoHo store’s opening.

5. Yellow Box

DSW will launch a freestanding store format for women’s footwear brand Yellow Box, opening three to five locations this year. The stores will carry the label’s iconic jeweled sandals, along with flats, dress shoes, boots and other exclusive products.

6. F&F

British value-priced clothing retailer F&F is set to make its U.S. debut. The company, a division of U.K. giant Tesco, will open a total of seven stores on the East Coast, with the first opening in late spring, at Holyoke Mall, Holyoke, Massachusetts. The mall-based format will feature women’s, men’s and kid’s clothing.

7. Primark

Another European import, the Dublin-based Primark, has also set its sights on the U.S., with plans to open a flagship in 2015 in downtown Boston. The retailer, known for low-cost, trend-driven fashions, has signed a deal to lease 112,000 sq. ft. in the landmark Burnham Building (previously home to Filene’s) in Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood. Retail will occupy about 70,000 sq. ft. of the space, with the rest used for corporate offices. Primark is reportedly in negotiations to open more locations in the Northeast by the middle of 2016.

Primark, which is owned by retail and food giant Associated British Foods, has more than 250 stores in Europe.

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