REAL ESTATE

Tourneau opens Manhattan flagship

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Tourneau opened a new concept store in Manhattan. The 3,135-sq.-ft. space offers a dramatic departure from traditional jewelry and watch stores in that it does not have counters. Instead, it features a series of long tables in the main showroom that can be approached from all sides.

Tourneau employees, equipped with iPads in hand, unlock the cases when customers want to look at a watch.

The new store was created by San Francisco-based architecture firm Eight Inc., which has also worked on the Apple stores.

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News

Vitamin Shoppe executive chairman named to Collective Brands board

BY CSA STAFF

TOPEKA, Kan. — Collective Brands has announced that Richard Markee has been elected to its board of directors, with a term to expire in 2014.

Markee has served as executive chairman of Vitamin Shoppe since April 4. He has served as a director since September 2006, and was non-executive chairman of the board and a director from April 2007 to September 2009. From Sept. 8, 2009 to April 4, he served as the company’s CEO and as chairman of the board. He previously served as the president of Babies"R"Us from August 2004 to November 2007 and vice chairman of Toys"R"Us from May 2003 through November 2007.

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STORE SPACES

‘Virtual Assistant’ technology makes retail debut at Duane Reade

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Next-generation digital signage that uses the latest in holographic imaging and audio-visual technology to create the illusion of a real person is making its U.S. debut at Duane Reade’s new flagship in downtown Manhattan.

The technology, the Tensator Virtual Assistant, is provided by Lawrence, a Tensator Group Co. Completely customized for Duane Reade, it takes the form of a female greeter who welcomes entering customers and provides information on everything store-related. Currently, the greeter has seven different scripts, each of which speaks to a different store element.

“All seven run on a continuous loop,” explained Keith Carpentier, senior business development manager-retail, Lawrence, a Tenstaor Group Company, Bay Shore, N.Y.

Carpentier added that an updated, version of the Virtual Assistant is in the works, with more interactive and dynamic capabilities.

Duane Reade is the first retailer to deploy the Virtual Assistant technology. The other commercial applications to date have been in the United Kingdom, at London Luton and Birmingham Airports.

“Our Virtual Greeter is an essential part of the ‘wow factor’ we have built into our newest store and serves as ambassador of the new Duane Reade experience,” said Paul Tiberio, senior VP merchandising and CMO, Duane Reade. “The virtual aspect captures shoppers’ attention from the moment they enter the store — engaging their visual and auditory senses.”

Click here for more on the new Duane Reade.

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