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Verizon, Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn.

BY CSA STAFF
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Verizon Wireless unveiled its new "destination store" format, in Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn. The sleek, modern-looking 9,715-sq.-ft. store is designed to show customers how wireless technology fits into their mobile lifestyles.

The space features interactive "mobile lifestyle" zones where customers can engage with associates and experience wireless gadgets, apps and tech gear. The departments include Amplify It, for music fans; Have Fun, for gamers; Home and On the Go, for energy management/home monitoring; and Get Fit, for active sports and fitness buffs. There is also a zone, Anywhere Business, for entrepreneurs. In the Customize It zone, customers can create covers for their smartphone and, by standing in front of a green screen, even personalize them with their own photo.

The store also features a dedicated workshop area with seating where a specialist can share tips about getting the most out of a device and lead classes in front of a large touch-screen digital display screen. Toward the back of the store, a huge focal wall beckons customers to approach and see themselves appear as avatar surfers, guitarists and more.

Verizon plans to open a second "destination store," in Chicago next year. The company also plans to open more locations during the next few years in high-traffic locations across the nation.

Design: Chute Gerdeman, Columbus, Ohio


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Fresh Market stays focused on growth strategy

BY CSA STAFF

The Fresh Market experienced an unanticipated sales slowdown across its store base, which it attributes to changing economic conditions and softening consumer confidence. Despite the slowdown, the company’s comparable-store sales grew and its gross margin expanded.

The company reported net sales of $364.5 million for the third quarter ended Oct. 27, a 13.4% increase from the year-ago quarter. Comparable store sales increased 3.1%, primarily driven by a 2.8% increase in transaction volume and a 0.3% increase in average transaction size. Sales from stores in new markets were mixed.

“We continued to invest in our growth strategy this quarter as we opened 10 new stores in seven states, from Florida to California,” said president and CEO Craig Carlock. “Entering the final quarter of the year, I believe we are well-positioned to deliver store unit growth in excess of 17% and open a record 22 new stores this fiscal year.”

The company has revised its outlook and now expects diluted earnings per share to be $1.42 to $1.47.

Founded in 1982, the Fresh Market is a specialty grocery retailer which operates 149 stores in 26 states across the United States.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Study: Immediate gratification, sensory experience fuels brick-and-mortar shopping

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio — Despite the growing popularity of online shopping, millions of consumers will flock to the stores this Black Friday. According to a recent study from WD Partners, "Amazon Can’t Do That: Consumer Desire & the Store of the Future,” 79% of consumers rank instant ownership as a top factor in influencing how they shop.

Other store-friendly top influencers include sensory experience and product immersion (75%), emotional experience of interacting with live human beings, community, and personal service.

"The store should be a place of inspiration and ideas that leaves shoppers with a high or sense of euphoria. The in-store shopping experience must offer more than a warehouse does," said Lee Paterson, executive VP of creative services of WD Partners. "Retailers who provide this type of shopping experience will be successful this holiday shopping season."

The study is based on quantitative and qualitative shopper research by WD Partners. In May 2013, more than 1,700 consumers were surveyed using a nationally syndicated panel.

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