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AT&T, LaGrange, Ill.

BY CSA STAFF
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AT&T has transformed its store in LaGrange, Ill., to a new look that the company is rolling out at new and redesigned stores nationwide. Focused on the customer experience, the store is designed to offer a more interactive and inviting environment. Many of the elements (design and merchandising) were introduced at AT&T’s flagship on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

The makeover starts on the façade, which invites customers in with a unique porch feature and large open windows that maximize daylight and views in and out of the store. On the interior, a flexible design, with flexible wall systems, encourages exploration.

The finish palette, which blends the warmth of wood with glossy white high-tech finishes, is balanced by the bold pop of AT&T’s signature orange hue. Digital screens are integrated throughout the space for interaction, education and the delivery of brand content.

The layout highlights AT&T’s products and services in three distinct zones:

The Connected Experience Zone features “lifestyle vignettes” that offer customers a glimpse of how solutions can be used in their everyday lives.

The Community Zone offers “community tables” that encourage customers to shop and play in an open and interactive space. Shoppers can explore apps, accessories and devices to see how they all work together.

The Explore Zone highlights AT&T’s diverse line-up of devices and accessories.

The store eschews traditional cash register and service counters and printed brochures and signs. Customers can sit side-by-side with AT&T associates at round, café-styled tables and ask questions or learn about products or services. And all associates are equipped with tablets supported by a new mobile point-of-sale system so that transactions can occur anywhere in the store. Information is provided via digital signs, e-brochures and interactive video monitors.


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Costco same-store July sales rise but miss estimates

BY CSA STAFF

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corporation reported net sales of $7.87 billion for the month of July, the four weeks ended August 4, an increase of 7% from $7.36 billion during the similar period last year.

For the 48 weeks ended August 4, the company reported net sales of $94.91 billion, an increase of 8% from $87.7 billion during the similar period last year.

For the four-week period, changes in gasoline prices had a positive impact while foreign exchange rates had a negative impact on comparable sales. These impacts were immaterial for the 48-week period.

Comparable-store sales for the four-week period were up 4%, compared to the same period last year. However, according to a Reuters report, same-store sales for the month missed analysts’ estimates of 5.1%.

Costco currently operates 632 warehouses, including 451 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 33 in Mexico, 25 in the United Kingdom, 17 in Japan, 9 in Taiwan, 9 in Korea and 3 in Australia. The company plans to open up to an additional two new warehouses prior to the end of its fiscal year on September 1. Costco also operates electronic commerce websites at www.costco.com, www.costco.ca and www.costco.co.uk.

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Stein Mart ‘pleased’ with Q2 results

BY CSA STAFF

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Strong sales in linens, dresses and intimate apparel buoyed Stein Mart’s total sales for the second quarter ended August 3, which increased 3.8% to $290.9 million from $280.4 million for the same quarter last year.

The company posted a comparable-store sales increase of 6.4% for the quarter.

Ladies’ special sizes, men’s sportswear, jewelry and ladies’ casual sportswear were more challenged. Geographically, July sales were strongest in Florida, the Southeast and Virginia, while the West performed slightly lower than the chain.

"I am pleased with our sales performance in July which wrapped up a great second quarter where our comparable store sales increased 6.4%," said Jay Stein, CEO. "Our customers responded well to our merchandise assortment during the first half of the year and we are looking forward to introducing her to our great fall assortment."

The company operated 262 stores at the end of July this year compared to 263 stores last year. It offers a focused assortment of merchandise that includes current season, moderate to better fashion apparel for women and men as well as accessories, shoes and home fashions.

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