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Starbucks comes out of holiday starting gate early, debuts cups and beverages

BY Marianne Wilson

Starbucks Corp. is getting a jump on the holidays with cups that are sure to please even the most ardent holiday enthusiast.

The coffee giant’s holiday cups and beverages will be available in stores on Friday, Nov. 2, which is anywhere from seven to 10 days earlier than in past years). Starbucks first debuted its holiday cups in 1997 and, over the years, some of the designs have sparked controversy among critics on the right for not being Christmasy enough.

This year, as in the past, the company debuted four unique cup designs, including one with red holly-like berries, one with green stars, and one with a red stripes. Notably, all designs strike a more traditional note than some of Starbucks’ past holiday cup designs and are unlikely to raise any criticism.

“We listened to our customers,” Roz Brewer, Starbucks’ COO told USA Today. They said they “loved the tradition of Christmas,” she added.

Starbucks is giving customers who order a holiday beverage on Nov. 2 a free, limited-edition reusable red cup, while supplies last. Customers who bring the cup to a participating Starbucks store in the U.S. or Canada after 2 p.m. Nov. 3 through Jan. 7 will get $0.50 off a grande holiday beverage.

In addition to the cups, Starbucks is launching an array of seasonal beverages and food items that range from gingerbread latte and eggnog latte to cranberry bars and snowman cookies.

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Target to get an earlier start this Thanksgiving

BY Marianne Wilson

Target Corp. is kicking off the holiday shopping season by opening its stores a bit earlier on Thanksgiving — and by making some Black Friday deals available early.

The discounter on Thursday announced it will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving (Nov. 22), and close at 1 a.m. It will reopen its doors on Black Friday at 7 a.m. Last year, Target opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. (Macy’s and Kohl’s will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and J.C. Penney will open at 2 p.m., which is in line with what all three retailers did last year.)

Target on Thursday also unveiled its annual Black Friday ad, which includes deals on everything from televisions (with more than 15 under $300) and the Xbox One console to home, apparel and beauty. For those looking to get a jump-start on holiday shopping, the retailer is offering select Black Friday deals across categories in stores and on Target.com today (Nov. 1) only.

In addition, Target is offering a bonus to shoppers who spend $50 in store or online or scan the wallet feature in the Target app in stores on Black Friday (Nov. 23): a coupon for 20% off on a future shopping trip, redeemable from Nov. 27 through Dec. 8. And as it did last year, Target will offer localized store maps in its app that clearly identify where specific Black Friday deals are located within each Target store.

Target also announced that mobile checkout is now available at all its stores nationwide. During peak events like Black Friday, associates will be located in the busiest areas of the store, such as electronics.

“We know many of our guests look forward to our Black Friday deals every year, and today, they can start shopping and save big on some of the hottest items of the season,” says Mark Tritton, executive VP and chief merchandising officer, Target. “Combined with the unmatched easy ways to shop with us — including new mobile technology that allows guests to skip the line for an even more convenient checkout — we’re confident guests will save time and money, and experience the joy of the season by choosing Target.”

Target has already unveiled its overall holiday strategy, which includes a bigger emphasis on toys, and free two-day shipping, with no minimum purchase and no membership requirements.

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This is Kohl’s recipe for ‘customer happiness’

BY CSA Staff

In addition to navigating pressures caused by wage increases and tariff impacts, Kohl’s is equally committed to keeping its customers satisfied.

That said, the company remains focused on two key priorities: driving sales and traffic, as well as operational excellence, according to CNBC.

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass told CNBC on Tuesday that “It really does start with that customer and ensuring that we’re priced appropriately and competitively. We have our teams all focused on ways to work differently so we can extract costs that are less productive and reinvest them in the business.”

This recipe requires the company to pursue some “long-term” initiatives, such as technology, and mitigate shorter-term issues, like increasing wages, the report added.

To read more, click here.

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