STORE SPACES

Gourmet gifting retailer will ‘pop up’ in more locations for the holidays

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Harry & David is bolstering its store fleet for the upcoming holiday season.

The gourmet gifting retailer will open approximately 20 pop-up stores nationwide this holiday season. The stores, which will operate in key market areas across the United States, will augment Harry & David’s 46 permanent retail locations.

The stores will feature an assortment of gourmet food gifts, including fruits, truffles, specialty chocolates, premium popcorn, novelty candy, bakery items and an array of holiday gift baskets and towers.

Stores have already started to open, and will stay in business until just after the holiday season ends.

“Harry & David has long been a part of America’s holiday gift-giving tradition, and we are excited to make our extraordinary products even more accessible to customers through our seasonal pop-up store initiative,” said Steve Lightman, president, Harry & David. “Our team looks forward to welcoming shoppers at all of our retail locations.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Study: Retailers are eyeing a jump in sales — and seasonal workers — this holiday season

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Optimistic that holiday sales will increase this year, retailers are stepping up their seasonal hiring plans.

This was according to a new Korn Ferry retailer survey. The study, which was conducted in September, is based on responses from 20 major U.S. retailers representing $160 billion in sales, and 1 million employees.

According to data, nearly half of the respondents (45%) said they expect to see an increase in holiday sales in 2017, and none of the respondents expect a decrease in sales. To meet this expected demand, 80% are planning to hire the same or more seasonal workers than last year.

Hiring additional seasonal retail staff may prove to be difficult, however. Forty percent of respondents believe there will be fewer applicants in the candidate pool this year, and 40% anticipate paying higher hourly wages. Specifically, 40% of participants expect minimum wage increases and market increases in the retail industry to exacerbate the situation.

“Despite rocky times this year with brick-and-mortar store closings at near-record levels, a relatively strong economy is expected to bode well for retailers this holiday season,” said Craig Rowley Korn Ferry senior partner, consumer and retail. “However, competition will remain fierce and retailers must come up with innovative approaches to win over consumers and keep them loyal.”

To help differentiate themselves in the marketplace, 20% of respondents said they are placing a greater emphasis this year on hiring employees who align with their brand culture. Meanwhile, 15% said they are placing a greater emphasis on the in-store retail experience.

“While 75% of respondents say they will use their mobile platform to help drive sales this holiday season, it’s clear that they still are focusing on the traditional in-store experience,” said Rowley. “But that experience is changing by becoming more intimate and tailored to the specific demands of the shopper.”

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REAL ESTATE

CBL malls to close on Thanksgiving

BY Al Urbanski

When holiday shopping madness kicks off on Thanksgiving Day, at least 121 malls will be sitting on the sidelines.

CBL Properties has announced that it will repeat the decision it make last year to let employees at malls across 27 states remain home to enjoy the annual feast with family and friends.

“The support that we received last year when we made this decision was overwhelmingly positive,” said CBL president and CEO Stephen Lebovitz. Feedback from retailers, CBL employees, and shoppers led CBL executives to the same decision this year.

CBL is giving the option to department stores, movie theaters, restaurants and other tenants with exterior entrances to open on Thursday, Nov. 23. The remaining areas of the malls will be open for business bright and early on Black Friday, with tenants cleared to open at 6 a.m.

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