MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Wish lists go omnichannel

BY Dan Berthiaume

Wayne, N.J. – The days of kids using pencils to write holiday wish lists in poor handwriting may be over.

Toys “R” Us is offering the #TRUHotToyList, an omnichannel listing of the holiday season’s hottest toys.

The list of 36 toys, including a curated “Fabulous 15” sub-listing, selected by Toys “R” Us experts is available in-store, online and via social media. Parents and kids can also share favorite items from the list on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. In addition, Toys “R” Us will share more details on items from the list and offer consultation from toy experts via Facebook and Twitter.

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REAL ESTATE

First Look: Bealls’ new store concept, Bunulu

BY Marianne Wilson
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New York — Department store retailer Bealls Inc. has taken the wraps off its new specialty concept targeted at outdoor and youth-minded shoppers.

Called Bunulu, the new format made its debut at Coconut Point Mall in Estero, Florida. Two additional locations — at St. Johns Town Center, Jacksonville, Florida, and The Garden Mall, Palm Beach, Florida — are set to open by the end of this year.

Designed and developed by architecture and design firm Little, the 4,000-sq.-ft. space has a casual, relaxed feel and a coastal-inspired look. Water and beach images abound throughout the space, which features deep aqua resin concrete flooring, driftwood beams and walls clad in whitewashed and multi-colored wood planks that are worn and weathered. Custom surfboards enhance the mood.

The coastal experience is carried over into the fitting rooms. Each one sports oversized imagery from familiar locations around the coast of Florida.

"Bunulu is for that outdoor, youth-minded person,” Lorna Nagler, president of Bealls Department Stores, told the Tampa Bay Times. “We sell apparel and footwear but also accessories like Costa sunglasses, Garmins, GoPros and Yeti coolers.”

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News

Barnes & Noble considering new format

BY CSA STAFF

On a day when his company reported its fifth straight quarter of sales declines, the CEO of Barnes & Noble sounded a positive note, telling the Wall Street Journal that the retailer is looking at a new store prototype.

“The industry is evolving, and we think there are opportunities ahead with a different format, ” CEO Ronald Boire told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. “I’ve sat in on a couple of meetings about this and we’ll have more to discuss later.”

For the first quarter ended Aug. 1, the retailer reported that net sales at the company's retail division fell 1.7% to $939 million. Same store sales increased 1.1% for the quarter, benefitting from growth in non-book categories. “Core” same store bookstore sales, which exclude sales of NOOK products, increased 1% for the quarter. Net loss attributable to Barnes & Noble increased to $34.9 million, or 68 cents per share, from $28.4 million, or 56 cents per share. Revenue fell 1.5% to $1.22 billion.

“The company successfully executed its major strategic initiatives during the first quarter, including the spin-off of its College business, the conversion of the Series J preferred shares into common shares and the initiation of a quarterly dividend,” said Allen Lindstrom, Chief Financial Officer of Barnes & Noble. “As we look to the second quarter and beyond, we are focused on opportunities to increase comparable store sales and reduce expenses. The company plans to further reduce NOOK expenses through synergies with the Retail business and we expect to see those benefits during the balance of the fiscal year.”

Last month, Barnes & Noble spun off its college books unit to focus more on its retail bookstores and better integrate its Nook business. Sales at the college books division rose 5.7% in the quarter.

For fiscal year 2016, the company continues to expect same store bookstore sales, which exclude sales of NOOK products, to increase approximately 1%. The company also expects full fiscal year EBITDA losses in the NOOK segment to decline versus the prior year.

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