STORE SPACES

Physical stores win out over online competitors in this category

BY Al Urbanski

Apparel ranks as one of the most purchased categories online, but clothing stores in malls still own a strong advantage over e-commerce competitors.

That’s according to a survey by Valassis, the consumer promotion and coupon company, which surveyed consumers who visited an indoor mall more than times in the past year and found that 60% of them prefer to shop apparel in the physical marketplace. Their chief reasons for doing so: being able to try on items and visit — and compare selections — at several different stores.

The survey found mall shopping also offers other advantages compared to online options including:

• The social aspect of outings with family and friends;
• Convenience for quick gift purchases;
• A full-day experience that may include dining and entertainment; and
• The ability to compare prices and products across multiple stores.

Shoppers preferred online shopping as opposed to a mall, meanwhile, for a broader range of product options, avoiding crowds and parking problems, and reducing the amount of impulse purchases.

Asked what might entice them to visit malls more often, respondents said more discounts (59%), better parking accommodations (20%); events (18%), and grocery options (17%).

Click here for an infographic.

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STORE SPACES

Barnes & Noble widens loss in Q4; to open smaller format

BY Marianne Wilson

The nation’s largest bookseller reported a wider loss in its fourth quarter over last year amid disappointing sales and charges related to turnaround initiatives.

Barnes & Noble’s net loss for the quarter ended April 28 was $21.1 million, or 29 cents per share, compared to a loss of $13.4 million, or 19 cents per share, in the year-ago period. The loss includes $7.7 million in non-recurring charges. Analysts had expected a loss of 20 centers per share.

Sales fell 3.4% to $786.1 million, which is better than analysts had expected. Same-store sales decreased 4.1%.

On the chain’s quarterly call, CEO Demos Parneros said to improve sales trends, the retailer is focused on enhancing the customer experience, better curation, increasing the value for its members and investing in marketing to drive traffic. It is also “innovating for the future” through newly designed stores.

“We’re excited to open several new prototype stores this year, which will feature a completely new design,” Parneros said. “We see a lot of opportunity for the smaller and more flexible prototype.”

Barnes & Noble’s target size for the new stores is 14,000 sq. ft.

“We are excited to be launching early fall with the first one of these stores and we intend to get great learning and takeaways from these,” Parneros added.

For the full year, Barnes & Noble’s sales fell 6%, to $3.7 billion. Same-store sales were down 5.4%. The retailer sees better days ahead.

“In fiscal 2018 we developed a long-term strategic turnaround plan, which we continue to execute,” said Parneros in a statement. “Our plan, which includes sales improvements and cost reductions, is expected to yield immediate improvement in fiscal 2019, resulting in EBITDA of $175 million to $200 million, and further benefits in the following years.”

Barnes & Noble operates 630 bookstores nationwide.

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Target goes crazy for ice cream

BY Marianne Wilson

Target Corp. latest partnership is a particularly sweet one — and filled with summer photo-ops.

The discounter, in collaboration with the Museum of Ice Cream. (MOIC), has opened The Pint Shop, in downtown Manhattan. (MOIC is a creator of interactive experiences centered around the frozen dessert.). Opened through August, the pink-accented space is part fun attraction and part retail, with supermarket-styled aisles. To see a video, click here.

In addition to selling MOIC’s newly launched line of ice cream, the store is stocked with a limited selection of other goods, ranging from Swell thermoses to notebooks embossed with cool sayings. Everything is color coordinated to match the colors of the ice-cream cartons.

The attractions include giant installations of ice-cream pints, including one filled with plastic cherries that customers can take a dip in. Each pint is an Instagram-worth moment. In addition to receiving a free sample, visitors can take part in a reservation-only, in-depth tasting experience (for $28 per person) where they can learn all about the making of ice cream as experienced through all the senses.

The Pint Shop is only one part of Target’s collaboration with MOIC. It has also teamed up with the company on Target’s new Art Class line of kids’ apparel and accessories. And MOIC’s new ice cream line will only be available at its own locations and exclusively at most Target stores.

 

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