Zulily
TECHNOLOGY

Zulily gives fashion advice via Messenger

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Aside from surviving sleepless nights and seemingly non-stop diaper changes, new momsalso struggle to find the right styles post-pregnancy.

Zulily hopes to ease these “fourth trimester” blues with a new digital engagement tool. Called “The Fourth Trimester Closet Concierge,” the limited-edition solution helps new moms navigate their wardrobes during pregnancy and after they’ve welcomed their new baby.

Moms can access Zulily’s maternity team of experts, called the baby-friendly fashion squad (BFFs), directly in Facebook Messenger using the #BFFs hashtag or by visiting the online retailer’s Facebook page.

Among the topics the experts discuss include streamlined silhouettes, functional nursing apparel, shapewear and the benefits of adjustable apparel styles, the retailer said.

“Our maternity team saw the need to provide a special service to new moms who can be overwhelmed and strapped for time,” said Robin Otto, Zulily maternity expert and merchandising manager.

The service is being tested during the month of March.

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ULTA_TrinityValley
DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Ulta Beauty to continue aggressive store expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

Ulta Beauty on Thursday reported a stellar fourth quarter that shows why many consider it one of the hottest retailers in the United States.

The beauty products retailer also said it would open approximately 100 net new stores in 2017, and remodel 13 locations.

Ulta Beauty’s net income for the quarter, ended Jan. 30, surged 30% to a better-than-expected $140.2 million, from $107.8 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales jumped 24.6% to $1.6 billion, also better than expected.

Total same-store sales, which include online commerce, rose 16.6%, driven by 10.9% growth in transactions and 5.7% growth in average ticket.

E-commerce sales grew 63.4% to $154.9 million from $94.8 million last year, representing 380 basis points of the total company comparable sales increase of 16.6%.

“The Ulta Beauty team delivered outstanding fourth quarter results, capping an exceptional year of sales and earnings growth while investing to drive market share gains and create sustainable long term shareholder value,” said Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty, which had 974 stores at the end of the fourth quarter. “We are confident in our outlook for continued success in 2017 … Our new brand pipeline is very healthy and we are particularly excited to announce the addition of the Estée Lauder Companies’ MAC brand, which will launch on Ulta.com and begin to roll out to stores this spring.”

The retailer offered a light forecast for its first quarter, saying it expects revenue in the range of $1.24 billion to $1.26 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $1.28 billion.

For the full year, Ulta Beauty’s net income increased 28.0% to $409.8 million and net sales increased 23.7% to $4.9 billion. Same-store increased 15.8%, driven by 10.7% growth in transactions and 5.1% growth in average ticket. Retail comparable sales increased 13.4%.

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Spectacles
TECHNOLOGY

Report: Messaging app revisits pop-up strategy

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Less than a month after closing its New York City pop-up store, Snap is back in the brick-and-mortar game.

Snap, the social media company formerly known as Snapchat, opened a temporary store on the boardwalk in Venice, California, near its Los Angeles headquarters, according to TechCrunch.

The temporary store, which Snap plans to operate for the next several weeks, will enable customers to purchase its signature “camera sunglasses” via its Snapbot kiosks rather than human salespeople, the report said.

Shoppers can also purchase the whimsical specs via Snap’s newly launched e-retailing site, Spectacles.com.

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