OPERATIONS

Westfield adds search features to mobile shopping app

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Los Angeles — Shopping mall owner Westfield Group said Wednesday it is implementing a new feature on its in-mall mobile shopping app by using Google Commerce search technology.

The launch of the debut product search feature, available via the free Westfield App, allows shoppers to browse the merchandise offerings of retailers located in all 55 Westfield shopping centers.

With the new product search capability, shoppers can browse by keyword searches. For example, a Westfield shopper looking for gold sandals would enter that term in the search bar of the free Westfield App and within seconds, the shopper would see a list of gold sandals available from the various retailers located in his/her preferred Westfield shopping center.

Product results can then be sorted by relevance, retailer and price. Additionally, Westfield App users can choose to limit results to a particular store, view larger images of products, read detailed descriptions and compare prices. They can also add items to their shopping list within the Westfield App or call individual stores for more information and to check on local availability with one click.

“Google Commerce Search provides an amazing experience to Westfield shoppers because it allows them to find and discover products in the mall more easily than ever before,” says Nitin Mangtani, group product manager for Google Commerce. “With this mobile application Westfield shoppers can expect fast and relevant product results, just as they expect from Google.com.”

The Westfield App, which was developed by Simplikate, a developer of state-of-the-art mobile applications, is available for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Product search is available now for the iPhone and will be available for the Android and Blackberry mid-August.

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FINANCE

Kohl’s Q2 profit up 17%, on track to open 31 stores

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — Kohl’s Corp. reported Thursday that profit for the quarter ended July 30 rose 17% to $303 million, compared with $260 million in the year-ago period. The retailer cited tightened cost controls and success of store-label brands for the improved performance, and has raised its full-year guidance.

Kohl’s said it is on track to open an additional 31 stores this year, as well as remodel another 15 stores next month. The company opened nine and remodeled 85 stores in the first half of the year.

Revenue for the second quarter rose 3.6% to $4.25 billion, missing Wall Street’s expected $4.32 billion. Same-store sales rose 1.9% in the quarter.

“I am extremely pleased with our ability to deliver strong earnings growth in a challenging sales environment,” said Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO. “Prudent expense management across many of our areas, especially in stores, allowed us to achieve lower-than-planned expense growth.”

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News

Kmart goes back-to-school with second original Web series

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Kmart has teamed up with Alloy Media+ Marketing for a second Web series promoting Kmart for back-to-school. The Web series, "First Day 2: First Dance (www.facebook.com/FDtheseries and www.kmart.com/firstdance)is scheduled to premiere on Sept. 9 and is the sequal to the company’s original Web series, "First Day."

The six-episode series follows a teenage girl who repeatedly relives the same day as she attempts to reach the back-to-school dance in hopes of capturing the attention of her high school crush. Throughout the series, Kmart fashions will be highlighted with direct links to purchase at Kmart’s website.Viewers will also have the chance to participate in the "Show Us Your Best Look" sweepstakes (www.kmart.com/bestlook), where one lucky winner and a guest will visit Los Angeles for a full "Hollywood" experience and receive a head-to-toe makeover, including a Kmart shopping spree with a personal stylist to complete a brand new school wardrobe. Plus, each day (through Sept. 30) 10 winners will receive a $100 Kmart back-to-school shopping spree.

"The Web series ‘First Day’ proved a hit with tween and teen consumers and succeeded in delivering a dynamic digital experience that resonated with our target consumers during the pivotal back-to-school season," said Andrew Stein, VP marketing planning at Sears Holdings. "’First Day 2: First Dance’ allows Kmart to continue an important dialog with young consumers in a way that appeals to their ever-changing media tastes and through an innovative and highly entertaining vehicle that truly hits the mark with this discerning and influential audience."

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