HOT CONCEPTS

Three New Must-See Retail Stores in New York City

BY CSA STAFF

New York — Here are three new stores creating big buzz in the Big Apple:

1. Under Armour

Activewear giant Under Armour pulled out all the stops for the Manhattan debut of its Brand House format, opening a two-level, brand-immersive location in SoHo. With a focus on cutting-edge products and design, the SoHo Brand House is Under Armour’s largest retail store to date. It has 10,000 sq. ft. of selling space and houses a comprehensive assortment of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, footwear and equipment. Click here for photos.

Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by a large (30-by-16-ft.) video wall made up of more than two million LED lights. The video content includes product promotions as well as Under Armour-affiliated athletes caught in various sporting activities.

The first floor houses men’s and women’s non-running apparel. A huge Under Armour logo, made from wood, dominates the cash wrap area. Each of the fitting rooms is modeled after a different court or stadium, and each has a name that reflects a locale where the brand has a presence. Large murals of cities cover the walls.

The lower level is home to the children’s area and men’s and women’s running merchandise, which includes a large selection of shoes. It also houses the brand’s first Rowhouse Basement shop, a VIP area where staff provide private consultations to athletes, celebrities and celebrity clientele in an intimate, setting.

New York-based strategic agency a+i design corp provided creative advisory services for store layout, design and features for the store.

2. Urban Outfitters

Space Ninety 8, a new concept from Urban Outfitters, has opened in the uber-hip Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Big and spacious, the multi-level, 38,000-sq.-ft. space is located in a renovated warehouse. It has an industrial look, complete with exposed ceilings and brick walls, with lots of boho-chic accents. Click here for photos.

The basement level houses a pop-up, with Adidas originals serving as the inaugural tenant. The space is colorful, with bold, crazy prints (the work of a local artist) accenting the walls and displays.

The ground floor has a market area that showcases goods from local designers and vendors, along with a shoe boutique and a vintage shop called Urban Renewal. It also houses two pop-ups, which currently include Salt Surf, a fun, surf themed shop.

The second floor is home to Urban Outfitter’s womenswear collections, accessories and beauty products. The third floor houses the brand’s menswear collections, along with a curated selection of books and music. There is also a seating area and an iPhone charger station.

A short staircase in the men’s area leads to a bar area. The third level will house a New York outpost of the trendy Los Angeles restaurant, The Gorbals Restaurant and Bar, due to open sometime in May. There is an outdoor extension of the restaurant and bar on the roof.

3. Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable’s flagship in Manhattan offers shoppers a customer-centric, digitally savvy experience, complete with a large video wall, interactive product demos, and several large 21" tablets that combine product learning with Internet browsing. Click here for photos.

The 14,000-sq.-ft. space features an open floor plan, where consumers can jump from TV to laptop to oversized-wall-mounted-tablet for the latest in home entertainment. The vibe is modern but warm. There is even a cozy living room vignette that showcases a digital fireplace as part of the IntelligentHome security and home management experience.

Multiple five-screen video walls, which are located around the store, and smaller signage tablets highlight relevant offerings to customers as they consult with associates. The showpiece of the store is a larger-than-life 90" custom-built tablet that looks and behaves like a giant mobile device.

Each piece of technology was strategically placed in the store, with customer and employee traffic flow, crowding, engagement zones and sightlines taken into careful consideration. The placement of digital experiences was designed to encourage traffic movement in some areas while discouraging crowding in others, and various techniques were used to draw customers in. The screens are placed so that they are visible from different locations in the store, each playing a different role in the customer journey. Design: Fame, Minneapolis; Digital installations: Reality Interactive, Middletown, Conn.

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Foot Locker Foundation names scholarship recipients

BY CSA STAFF

Foot Locker Foundation, the charitable arm of Foot Locker, announced the 20 recipients of the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program. Each student will receive $20,000 in college scholarships, totaling $400,000.

The scholarship program, funded by the Foot Locker Foundation and administered by DoSomething.org, honors students who demonstrate academic excellence and exemplify strong leadership skills in sports and within their communities. To date, the program has awarded $1.2 million to help deserving high school student athletes pay for school.

"We created this program three years ago to provide an opportunity for higher education for exceptional student athletes who have made a positive impact within their communities and might not have been able to attend college otherwise," shares Ken C. Hicks, chairman, president and CEO. "We are proud to share the incredible stories of these 20 inspiring individuals, who epitomize all of the virtues and values we are looking for in a Foot Locker Scholar Athlete."

The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program aims to ease the burden of tuition for students who demonstrate a commitment to their education and are poised to be future leaders in their community.

Following are this year’s 20 winners, who will join the program’s previous two classes of 20 Foot Locker Scholar Athletes each, totaling 60 scholarship recipients in its third year.

  • Aaliyah Danielson – Woodbury, Mn.
  • Bryan Carabello – Bronx, N.Y.
  • Carson Arthur – Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
  • Christina Soto – Miami, Fla.
  • Cole Scanlon – Coral Gables, Fla.
  • Diwas Adhikari – Dallas, Texas
  • Evan Mercer – Marietta, Ga.
  • Hannah Moran – Lawrence, Kan.
  • Joshua Davis – Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Karoline VanVoorhis – Dallas, Texas
  • Kathleen Kanaly – San Francisco, Calif.
  • Kimberly Ann Simpson – Eagle Point, Ore.
  • Lillie Meakim – San Diego, Calif.
  • Maria Brouard – Dover, N.J.
  • Michael Gonzalez – Houston, Texas
  • Nadaysia Brooks – Stone Mountain, Ga.
  • Orestes Marquetti – North Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Ralphe Etienne – Nanuet, N.Y.
  • Travis Gayle – Jamaica, N.Y.
  • Vivian Nguyen – Fort Worth, Texas

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Michaels stays ahead of bad weather in fourth quarter

BY CSA STAFF

Although bad weather hurt some retailers during the crucial fourth quarter, it didn’t stop Michaels Stores from seeing comparable store sales increase 4.6% for the period ended Feb. 1.

Comparable store sales were driven by a 4.2% increase in the company’s average ticket and a 0.5% increase in transactions, partially offset by a 10 basis point impact from deferred custom framing revenue.

Net sales increased 2% to $1.55 billion from $1.52 billion during the quarter, which had a 53rd week that generated an estimated $66 million in net sales.

For full fiscal, comparable store sales increased 2.9% driven by a 3.3% increase in the company’s average ticket, partially offset by a 0.4% decrease in transactions. Net sales increased 3.7% to $4.57 billion from $4.41 billion over fiscal 2012.

During the quarter, the company closed one Michaels store and one Aaron Brothers store. During the full year, the company operated 33 net new Michaels and Aaron Brothers stores. The company opened 40, relocated 14 and closed three Michaels stores during the year. Additionally, the company relocated two and closed five Aaron Brothers stores (note that a store closure relating to a relocation occurred in fiscal 2012 and the relocated store opened in fiscal 2013). The company now operates 1,257 stores including 1,136 Michaels stores and 121 Aaron Brothers stores.

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