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Three Big New Retail Partnerships

BY Marianne Wilson

Retailers can’t seem to get enough of partnerships these days…be it with hot designers, each other or television shows. Below is a quick recap of three new couplings that have the industry buzzing.

1. Nordstrom and Topshop: Looking to add more fashion sizzle to its offerings, Nordstrom has entered into a joint venture with Topshop, the British fast-fashion giant known for its runway-inspired threads and rock ‘n’ roll attitude.

Under the arrangement, Nordstrom will open Topshop and Topman (the men’s unit) departments in 14 locations across the country in early September. The departments (the women’s will run about 2,500 sq. ft., and the men’s about 1,500 sq. ft.) will be outfitted with mannequins, visual merchandising and store fixtures supplied from the United Kingdom. The merchandise mix will include limited-edition pieces created especially for Nordstrom. An expanded selection will be available on Nordstrom.com.

The alliance is a win-win for both retailers. It gives Topshop, which to date has opened three stores in the United States, a low-risk, inexpensive way to introduce its brand across the country. And it gives Nordstrom something just as critical in today’s supercharged competitive landscape: a lock on exclusive merchandise.

The deal also raises the Seattle-based retailer’s cool quotient and style profile significantly, which, combined with Topshop’s affordable prices, could help attract the type of younger, less affluent style-conscious shoppers that tend to stay away from department stores.

2. Target and Neiman Marcus: In a deal that already has style mavens swooning, the discount chain and luxury department store company will sell a limited-edition, holiday gift collection with items created by 24 top designers selected from the roster of the Council of American Fashion Designers. To say the line-up is impressive is an understatement: It includes Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Rag & Bone, Diane von Furstenberg and Caroline Herrera to name a few.

The collection will include more than 50 items and run the full gamut, from home to men’s, women’s and children. Prices will range from $7.99 to $499.99, with most items under $60. (Both retailers will offer the same merchandise at the same prices.)

The collection will be available in dedicated spaces in Target and Neiman stores nationwide on December 1, as well as online on their respective websites. Let’s just hope that the merchants have the capabilities and the goods to support the frenzy that is likely to ensue when the collection goes live. A replay of the Target-Missoni madness would not be in keeping with the spirit of the holiday!

3. Lord & Taylor and Project Runway: Department store retailer Lord & Taylor is headed to the runway—that is, the one hosted by celebrity/model Heidi Klum. The chain has signed on as the exclusive retail sponsor for the 10th season of Lifetime’s hit show, Project Runway, which kicks off on July 19.

As part of the retailer’s sponsorship, the show will feature a custom-built “accessory wall” with an edited assortment of Lord & Taylor’s shoes, handbags and accessories, which contestants will use to complete their looks during each challenge. In addition, the retailer will host a challenge at its Fifth Avenue flagship, with the show airing on Aug. 30. As part of the grand prize, the retailer will offer the winner of "Project Runway" the opportunity to sell their collection at the store.

The partnership will also be promoted through store windows and social media platforms. It should give Lord & Taylor the opportunity to create some nice buzz for itself. And what retailer couldn’t use that?


More As I See It entries.

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Coupon activity on upswing, as are sales

BY CSA STAFF

No Wonder Walmart’s U.S. sales are on the upswing. Kantar’s Marx media solutions group this week in its mid-year report noted free standing insert pages for Walmart increased nearly 82% to 2.5 billion pages during the first half of the year.

That is a stunning increase, so it is worth noting that the Marx definition of an FSI page includes any type of promotion piece that appears in either the News America Smartsource or Valassis Red Plum coupon delivery vehicles inserted in Sunday newspapers. Also included in the tally would be any ad pages contained in the Valpak blue envelope for products, which indicate they are available at Walmart.

With 2.5 billion pages under its belt during the first half of the year, Walmart is ranked at the top of the list, compared to just a few years ago when it availed itself of FSIs to a lesser degree and was ranked 16th.

Second on the mid-year list was Walgreens, up 71.1% to 1.4 billion pages. Target was ranked third, but it actually declined 11% to 940 million pages, while Family Dollar increased to 932 million.

“Retailers may gain a competitive advantage by participating in retailer FSI promotions to capture a greater share of shopping trips among households that use coupons,” said David Hamric, Marx general manager. “For consumers, coupons are a proven way to save money on a specific item. For retailers, coupons can increase the overall retail value of each shopping trip by adding more items to the shopping basket and increasing the budget by the value of the coupons.”

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Nordstrom tops off fashion offering with Topshop

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — The popular British fashion brand Topshop, which has flagship stores in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas, is making its mass retail debut in the United States at Nordstrom this fall.

Beginning Sept. 10, 14 Nordstrom stores will carry an assortment of Topshop and Topman merchandiese. Items will also be available online, making it the only large U.S. retailer to do so.

Nordstrom will call out the Topshop offering with mannequins, visual merchandising and store fixturing supplied from the United Kingdom, and high profile locations within the men’s and women’s apparel areas. They will feature a full selection of the hottest looks from Topshop and Topman, including limited-edition pieces created especially for Nordstrom. An expanded merchandise selection will also be available online.

"Topshop and Topman are internationally renowned leaders in fashion and we are thrilled to start a relationship with them that we hope will grow and prosper over the years," said Pete Nordstrom, president of merchandising for Nordstrom, Inc. "We think our customers are going to love their take on trend-led fashion at great prices."

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