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Gap reaffirms that its stores are ‘open to all’

BY Marianne Wilson

Gap Inc. has joined a public education campaign that promotes inclusion and diversity.

Gap announced it is signing the “Open to All Business Pledge.” and urging other businesses to declare they are “Open to All” and oppose discrimination.

The retailer joins Yelp, Levi Strauss & Co., Lyft, as well as more than 1,500 small businesses and 200 nonprofits, in partnering with Open to All, a public education campaign focused on the principles that affirm when a business opens its doors to the public, it should be open to everyone on the same terms. Gap said it will feature the Open to All window cling in select stores across America.

In addition, the company will post Open to All signs at its headquarter buildings in San Francisco, New York and Albuquerque, as well as at its distribution centers in California, Ohio, Tennessee and New York.

“Together, our brands celebrate equality for all in our workplaces and communities globally,” said Art Peck, president and CEO, Gap Inc. “Not only does this foster inclusivity, creativity and contribute to a more just world, it also helps us be more competitive in the marketplace and better serve our customers. We’re proud to join the Open to All coalition and stand with other businesses to welcome all customers to our brands.

Last month, Gap Inc. was ranked as one of the world’s most diverse and inclusive companies for the second consecutive year in the annual Thomson Reuters Global Diversity and Inclusion Index, which scores companies using environmental, social, and governance metrics. Earlier this year, Gap Inc. was the only U.S. retailer to make the 2018 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

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J.C. Penney’s new lifestyle brand is designed for ‘Instagram moments’

BY Marianne Wilson

J.C. Penney continues to expand its assortment of exclusive and private brands with the upcoming launch of its first cross-division private brand in years. And that’s not the only twist.

The department store retailer unveiled a family line of apparel and home decor, Peyton and Parker, that will be available seasonally, in limited-edition capsule collections. It will launch with a holiday line featuring coordinating apparel, accessories and shoes for men, women and children, as well as home décor.

The introductory collection, which will be available in nearly 400 J.C. Penney stores and at JCPenney.com beginning Oct. 19, features plaids, buffalo checks, rose gold sequins, glitter, navy stripes, ivory cable knits and denim – all designed to mix and match. It will be displayed by the women’s department, toward the front of the store.

“We were inspired to create a line that made it easy for mom to dress her family and decorate her home, creating a picture-perfect moment for all of her social media channels,” said Val Harris, senior VP of product development and design for J.C. Penney. “Every family has a story to tell through photos and we created Peyton and Parker to give mom a fresh style perspective when sharing her family’s lives on social media via fashionable squares. We are working with a targeted list of savvy mom influencers on Instagram who have an eye for tradition, photography and fashion to unveil this whimsical brand in a natural, organic way.”

In addition to an influencer campaign, Peyton and Parker will be promoted via the company’s email, social and digital marketing channels. Penney Rewards members will get an advanced look at the collection on the retailer’s website on Oct. 16 and 17.

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This holiday season’s biggest spenders will be…

BY Deena Amato-mccoy

Millennials are expected to be the biggest gift-givers this holiday season, and social media will be their shopping platform of choice.

This was according to the “12th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey,” from Accenture. The study revealed that that Americans will spend an average of $658 on holiday shopping this year, compared with $632 in the 2017 survey. Older Millennials will spend an average $779, and nearly four times as many younger Millennials compared to Baby Boomers (49% versus 13%) plan to spend more this holiday season.

Retailers that are well-positioned to grab this wallet share are those with strong inclusion and diversity practices, including those regarding age, gender, ethnicity and disability, among others. In fact, 51% of younger Millennials are more likely to shop at a retailer that demonstrates awareness of such issues.

Millennials are also more likely to choose brands that demonstrate inclusion and diversity across promotions and offers (cited by 70% of younger Millennials and 69% of older Millennials), their in-store experience (66% and 72%), product range (68% and 70%), and their environmental awareness (61% and 57%).

Social media platforms will be a go-to for Millennials’ holiday shopping this year. Customers planning to use social-media sites for their holiday shopping this year nearly doubled to 15% from 8% last year. The percentage of those planning to check Instagram before looking or buying elsewhere online more than doubled to 14% from just 6% last year.

“Social media continues to be a real disruptor in targeting today’s consumers, who are spending a great deal of time in these channels and naturally want to be able to purchase directly, through the click of a button,” said Jill Standish, retail lead, Accenture. “Now, more than ever, it’s imperative for retailers to further rethink and redesign their digital shopping capabilities and methods so they can meet customers on their terms.”

There is also a growing trend away from product gifts, such as toys, clothes and household appliances and toward “experience” gifts such as travel, dining out, concerts and the theater. Millennials are also purchasing more “services” gifts, such as lawn care, home cleaning and spa treatments. Those who plan to buy physical products as gifts this year dropped 11 percentage points from last year to 73%, and the number who said they planned to buy experience or service gifts increased five percentage points to 49%.

When shopping for groceries during the holidays, 82% of respondents will visit companies where they “trust the grocery provider and its products and services.” Meanwhile, 78% will shop at retailers that “offer the best range of options so you can buy majority of items in one place,” and 69% would be inspired to purchase from a grocery provider they don’t normally go to if the store was conveniently located.

Younger shoppers also appear less concerned with the economy and their overall financial situation than they were last year. One-third are less likely (15% versus 23% last year) to cite “a concern about the economy” as a factor negatively affecting their holiday shopping this year. Fewer shoppers plan to take advantage of retailers’ cost-savings programs or benefits – such as loyalty programs, on-the-spot competitor price-matching, special e-mail offers, Amazon Prime Day, and deal sites such as Groupon or Living Social. Respondents who said they would buy all their gifts in one place, even if it meant paying more, increased 7 points, to 32% this year, according to the study.

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