FINANCE

Tompkins survey: Economic weakness and low consumer confidence biggest threats to holiday success

BY Staff Writer

Raleigh, N.C. — Economic weakness and low consumer confidence, combined with vendor capacity/reliability, are the top threats to business success this peak season, according to a recent Peak Season Trends and Strategies Survey Report by Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium.

“What we found was not surprising, but very real, based on expectations for the upcoming holiday season,” said Chris Ferrell, director of the consortium and author of the report. “Although there are no clear forecasts for the season, companies are doing what they can to brace themselves. They need to see a profit, as well as make sure their customers are satisfied.”

The top five threats ranked by survey respondents are:

1. Economic weakness/low consumer confidence
2. Vendor capacity/reliability
3. Forecast accuracy
4. Inventory levels
5. New products/markets/channels

For more, go to tompkinsinc.com/publications/reports/peak-season/default.asp

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Pop-Up/Temporary Retail

BY CSA STAFF

By Ken Nisch, chairman, JGA

Here are some recommendations for designing temporary spaces:

DO start with a plan
Design a store that can be realistically executed within the budget and limited time frame inherent to temporary spaces, allowing for rapid installation and the demanding wear-and-tear that a successful pop-up experiences. Pop-up visitors often have a low sense of expectations as they often hadn’t pre-planned to visit. But once engaged, everything counts! So make sure all the details — from those that impact the senses, to the software, the people, the collateral, the details — are all on message and contribute to the first impression.

DO keep it simple
Many retail fundamentals are at work in temporary environments, but the “temp store” filter suggests simplification. Maintain clear organization and signage to motivate “point-to-point” circulation.

DON’T become a sampling stand
Resist the temptation to make the location a proverbial Costco sampling stand, where a high percentage of visitors interact but a very low percentage convert to future customers.

DO focus on engagement
Pop-up stores are intended to create trial and interest that will translate into future purchasing behavior. The brand’s messaging and engagement need to attract a broad audience, appealing to both the core and “interested” audiences.

DON’T forget white space
White space can be as compelling as a highly complicated booth. This is particularly true for pop-ups in high traffic, densely populated and commercially dynamic areas where doing less rather than more can be a way to literally “pop-out.”

DO communicate “in the moment”
When a pop-up becomes too “store-like,” it loses the perception of “in the moment” urgency. Communicate the brand through simplicity, amplification, editing, and the creative impact that one expects from a full page ad in a fashion magazine. A compelling visual statement interrupts the audience’s thought process, but does so with a limited number of experiential exclamation marks.

DON’T ignore technology
Technology lends a flexible edge to the experience by adjusting to time-specific trends; such as targeting the lunch hour or evening customer. High tech tools can also comingle brands to bring interactive and experiential texture to the moment, appealing to the basic consumer instinct that motion, sound and changeability signify energy and action – and “makes you look.”

Ken Nisch is chairman of JGA, Southfield Mich., which specializes in retail design and brand strategy.

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STORE SPACES

Kohl’s announces a ‘green’ first

BY Marianne Wilson

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — Kohl’s Department Stores’ new store prototype has achieved LEED Gold precertification using the LEED for Retail: New Construction rating system, making Kohl’s the first U.S. company to achieve this designation in the LEED Volume Program. The program, administered by the United States Green Building Council, launched in November 2010.

Beginning in spring 2012, all new Kohl’s stores will be designed and constructed using the LEED Gold pre-certified prototype and will pursue LEED certification post construction. The Gold pre-certified prototype will replace the company’s current new store prototype from the LEED Volume Pilot Program, which is pre-certified LEED Silver and has been utilized to construct new stores since fall 2008.

To date, more than 90 newly constructed Kohl’s stores nationwide built to the pilot prototype have earned LEED certification at the Silver or Certified level, with nearly 20 more expected to receive certification in the coming months.

Environmentally responsible building design, construction and operation is a significant consideration and focus area for Kohl’s, said the chain’s chief administrative officer John Worthington.

“Not only do we want to ensure that our stores and facilities provide a convenient, fresh and exciting destination for our customers and partners, we want to do so in a way that demonstrates sustainable practices and principles of leadership for our communities, business partners and industry,” he said. “We have implemented aggressive efforts to LEED certify our stores and aim to reach 300 total LEED certifications by the end of next year and more than 500 by 2015.”

In addition to new store construction, Kohl’s integrates sustainable practices into its existing stores through the LEED Volume Pilot Program for Operations and Maintenance. Under this program, Kohl’s existing store prototype was pre-certified at the Gold level in 2011. Compared with new construction projects, these stores are LEED certified based on their sustainable operations and maintenance policies such as energy- and water-use efficiency and performance, sustainable cleaning, purchasing, recycling and more.

To date, more than 100 existing Kohl’s stores nationwide have received LEED certification under LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance with more than 60 locations registered and in a performance period.

Additional information about Kohl’s environmental efforts is available at www.KohlsGreenScene.com.

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