Tesco to debut F&F apparel format in U.S., with seven stores by year-end
New York — Tesco Plc plans to bring its value-priced F&F clothing format to the United States, opening seven stores on the East Coast this year with its U.S. franchise partner, Retail Group of America. The move comes some six months after Tesco sold off its struggling American supermarket operation, Fresh & Easy, to Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa investment company.
The new stores will feature women’s, men’s and kid’s clothing, with the first location expected to open in May, in the Boston area. It will be followed by four stores in shopping malls in New York, along with stores in Philadelphia and Newport, Va. (See end of story for a list of announced locations to date.)
Tesco launched F&F in 2001. It now operates in 21 countries.
“We’re delighted to be bringing F&F’s range of affordable fashion to customers in the USA this year, including four stores in one of the world’s fashion and shopping capitals, New York,” said Jason Tarry, CEO of F&F. “We’ve had a really positive response from customers in all of our overseas markets so we’re hoping our American stores prove to be just as popular. F&F is fast becoming a true global brand.”
F&F will be opening franchise stores in the following locations in the United States:
• Springfield Holyoke Mall, Maryland
• New York Palisades Centre, New York
• Newport News Patrick Henry Mall, Virginia
• New York Trumbull Mall, New York
• Exton Mall, Pennsylvania
• New York Sunrise Mall, New York
• New York South Shore Mall, New York
Pep Boys “Road Ahead” involves omnichannel acceleration
Pep Boys is looking to accelerate a range of digital and physical offerings as part of a strategy called, “Road Ahead,” after the omnichannel efforts resulted in 152% growth.
Pep Boys operates 800 locations in 35 states with 7,500 service bays which differentiates the company from parts-only players such as AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts who perform basic services in their parking lots such as changing batteries or wiper blades.
“Our new Road Ahead strategy includes strong growth from our digital omnichannel initiatives,” said Pep Boys president and CEO Mike Odell. “Overall, sales from service appointments made online, tires purchased online and installed in our service bays, and products purchased online for store pick up or home delivery grew 152% in the fourth quarter.”
According to Odell, the company’s vision is to be the best alternative to the dealer and the Road Ahead strategy is all about leveraging the retail business to drive the service business.
“Our first completed Road Ahead market in Tampa continues to produce returns in line with our 15% hurdle rate,” Odell said. “Based on those results, we are moving forward to complete an additional 20 stores in three markets – San Francisco, Boston and Charlotte – during the first half of 2014 and initiating plans for an additional three markets to be completed in late 2014 or early 2015.”
Acceleration of the Road Ahead strategy comes as Pep Boy reported weak results for its fourth quarter ended February 1. Sales for the 13 week period declined 6.6% to $35.1 million, but excluding the extra week from the prior year fourth quarter Pep Boys mustered a 0.2% sales increase. A 2.4% same store sales decline was driven by a 3.4% decline in same store merchandise sales offset by a 1.4% increase in same store service sales. The company reported a loss of $3.3 million, or six cents a share, compared to a loss of $14.5 million, or 27 cents a share, the prior year.
“On a comparable store basis, customer count, maintenance and repair sales and tire units all grew quarter over quarter,” Odell said. “While retail tire pricing has recently stabilized, prices are still below last year’s level, which has and is expected to continue to negatively impact top line sales results through the second quarter of 2014. We are also growing our service footprint, adding 30 Service and Tire Centers during fiscal 2014. These new Service and Tire Centers showcase the welcoming exterior curb appeal and comfortable customer lounge of our new ‘Road Ahead’ format.”
Full year sales declined 1.2% to slightly more than $2 billion, but excluding the extra week from the prior year increased by 1.6%. A 1.3% same store sales decline consisted of a 1.6% service sales increase offset by a 2.1% merchandise sales decrease.
Longhorns put geo-fencing capabilities to the test
Digital savings provider RetailMeNot will put the geo-fencing capabilities of its mobile coupon app to the test this Saturday at the University of Texas.
The University of Texas Longhorns are scheduled to play their annual spring football game on Saturday, April 19 and Austin-based RetailMeNot is using the occasion to test an events-based offer. Attendees at the game to be held at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium who download the RetailMeNot app and enable the location feature will have a chance to receive a discount code for a buy one, get one free deal at Pizza Hut and win four tickets to the Longhorns home opener.
"As the geofencing capabilities of the RetailMeNot Coupons app evolve, we will continue to test new ways to help our users save money with relevant offers," said Jill Balis, SVP of marketing for RetailMeNot. "We are really excited to test event-based offers right here in our backyard at The University of Texas spring game. This will be the first in a series of special offers that will be available exclusively to those who have the RetailMeNot app at select events here locally in Austin.”
Many of those events are likely to be held at Austin’s sports and entertainment venue called Circuit of the Americas (COTA). RetailMeNot also announced a recent partnership with COTA to provide offers to attendees at concerts or sporting events at the venue. For example, RetailMeNot offered special deals to attend the MotoGP race this past weekend and will feature additional promotions at upcoming X Games, concerts and festivals.
"Circuit of The Americas is fortunate that one of the fastest-growing digital marketing companies in the world is located in our backyard," said Geoff Moore, COTA’s chief marketing and revenue officer. "Our partnership creates a program that will deliver unique, value-laden offers to sports and entertainment enthusiasts throughout the year. Our state-of-the-art facility hosts the world’s most popular motorsports, including Formula 1, MotoGP and the Endurance Championships, plus the pinnacle of action sports in X Games Austin, and more than 20 live performances at our award-winning Austin360 Amphitheater. RetailMeNot will allow us to put attractive opportunities before our international fans."