MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Toys ‘R’ Us revamps YouTube channel

BY Dan Berthiaume

Wayne, N.J. – Toys “R” Us is debuting the Toys"R"Us Toy Channel, the company’s revamped and updated YouTube channel. The channel launches with eight playlists, segregating content by topic to showcase in-demand playthings and new products, interviews with toy industry experts, current commercials from the beloved brand and top toy manufacturers, and more.

The refreshed channel and content strategy was designed in partnership with The Escape Pod, an award-winning creative agency based in Chicago. The company will support the Toys"R"Us Toy Channel with marketing efforts throughout the holiday season and beyond, inclusive of desktop and mobile video-based advertising, messaging on its official Facebook and Twitter pages and through the company’s SMS program. In addition, Nov. 14, Toys "R" Us will take over the YouTube homepage to drive further awareness of the Toys"R"Us Toy Channel.

"As a company in the toy business 365 days a year, Toys "R" Us is uniquely qualified to give viewers the inside scoop on new and hot items, plus engaging and entertaining content that can’t be found anywhere else by leveraging our strong partnerships with manufacturers and entertainment companies throughout the industry," said Peter Reiner, senior VP, marketing, Toys "R" Us, U.S. "For kids and toy buffs alike, the Toys"R"Us Toy Channel is a convergence of the best the industry has to offer, with content presented in a way that is authentic to our brand."


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FINANCE

Wet Seal net sales drop in Q3

BY Dan Berthiaume

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – The Wet Seal reported net sales of $127.7 million during the third quarter of fiscal 2013, down 5.8% from the same quarter in the prior year. In a partial release of third quarter figures, the company also reported a 0.8% increase in same-store sales.

E-commerce sales, which are not a component of same-store sales, declined approximately 19% for the quarter. Through more disciplined management of promotional pricing, the company generated an improved e-commerce merchandise margin rate compared to the same quarter of last year. However, Wet Seal said the focus on transitioning to a new Demandware e-commerce platform during the quarter impacted sales results. The re-platform was completed in late October and is now enabling customers to execute transactions more efficiently from their mobile devices.

“We were able to deliver positive comp store sales and significantly improved merchandise margins versus a year ago despite the extremely tough retail environment,” stated John D. Goodman, CEO. “As we prepare for the upcoming holiday season, we are maintaining an appropriate mix of regular and promotional pricing and remaining sharply focused on inventory management. At quarter-end, inventory dollars per square foot were down approximately 3% compared to the prior year at Wet Seal and approximately 20% versus the prior year at Arden B. We are also continuing to exercise strict control over costs, resulting in a decrease in SG&A expenses versus the prior year period.”

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OPERATIONS

Ikea plans to double solar array on Maryland DC

BY Dan Berthiaume

Conshocken, Pa. – Ikea plans to nearly double the solar array completed in April atop its Perryville, Md., distribution center, the state’s largest such solar energy system. Installation of the new panels will begin in November with completion expected in 2014.

The 467,618-sq.-ft. solar addition will consist of a 2.2-MW system, built with 7,337 modules, and will produce 2,695,355 kWh of electricity annually for the facility. Including the existing system, this 1.7 million-sq.-ft. distribution center’s total 4.9-MW solar installation of 25,913 panels soon will generate 6,092,533 kWh of clean electricity yearly, the equivalent of reducing 4,299 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to EPA estimates.

For the development, design and installation of the Perryville distribution center’s current and expanded solar power system, Ikea contracted with Inovateus Solar LLC, an industry-leading solar power distributor and integrator specializing in large-scale solar installations.

Ikea owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems, as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement), and globally has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015. Consistent with the goal of being energy independent by 2020, Ikea has installed more than 300,000 solar panels on buildings across the world.

“We are pleased at the opportunity to nearly double the solar energy generated by this facility,” said Steffen Daab, distribution center manager. “This is another example of our commitment to create a more sustainable life for communities where we operate.”

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