MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Walmart ramps up in-store holiday marketing this weekend

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is getting ready to throw a party for one of the most popular online video games in the world.

On Sunday, Dec. 2, all Walmart supercenters and stores will host a Fortnite party. The event will feature the latest gear and photo opps and give participants a chance to show off their Fortnight dance moves. Select stores will feature a replica of the game’s iconic Battle Bus.

Participants will also be given a code for a free in-game “spray,” which is a special code that will give players access to graffiti content they can use while playing Fortnite.

In addition, on Saturday, Dec. 1, all Walmart stores and supercenters will take select toys out of their boxes so that kids can try them out in store. The chain will host in-store demos for this year’s popular toys and associates will also give away Lego ornaments. And Santa will be on hand for photos.

The two events are part of Walmart’s strategy to win market share in toys this holiday season.

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The most expensive item in Neiman Marcus’ 2018 Christmas catalog is…

BY Marianne Wilson

Neiman Marcus’ annual Christmas Book catalog — now in its 92nd year — is famous for offering a selection of over-the-top, outrageously priced offerings and this year is no exception.

The most expensive item in the 2018 book is a one-of-kind, 74-ft. yacht described as “the largest solar-powered yacht in the world.” With a chic interior inspired by Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing, the cruiser sleeps up to 12 and boasts a fully functional kitchen, a state-of-the-art music and entertainment system, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, and ample closet space ( the gift includes a Neiman Marcus shopping spree). Price tag: A cool $7.1 million.

The yacht is part of the catalog’s “Fantasy Gifts” section, which is heavy on experiences, ranging from a $630,000 luxury trip to India, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives with custom travel company Black Tomato to the chance to become a secret agent via a three-day espionage adventure organized by The Invictus Experience ($315,000) to a tour of all four tennis majors with 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens ($555,000). The price of many of the fantasy gifts includes a donation to The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation, which brings art-enriching experiences to children nationwide.

While the fantasy gifts garner all the attention, the Neiman Marcus holiday catalog actually features merchandise across a broad range of categories and price points. Nearly half of the featured 823 gifts are under $250, the company pointed out.

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Michaels expands kids offerings

BY Marianne Wilson

Yet another retailer is jumping into the void left by the exit of Toys “R” Us.

The Michaels Companies announced the launch of a new web site dedicated to kid-friendly crafts along with the rebranding of its in-store kids presentation. The arts-and-craft retailer is also expanding its assortment of kids’ toys and activities, both in store and online. Michaels noted its kids’ products are developed to help kids “learn, grow, and discover screen-free fun.”

“One of the most powerful tools to inspire creativity is playtime, and we are proud to make it easier for customers to find toys, activities and supplies that are engaging and family-friendly,” said Chuck Rubin, chairman and CEO, Michaels, which operates more than 1,200 stores. “At Michaels, our goal is to be the preferred omnichannel destination for creative play, and we’re committed to making it easy for parents to provide their kids with more mindful, screen-free fun.”

To celebrate, Michaels will a host a kickoff event at locations nationwide on Oct. 6, with a family-friendly scavenger hunt, toy giveaways and pumpkin decorating demonstrations. The chain plans to continue to offer weekly activities for kids and families, including Make Break and Kids Club programs, programs in which more than one million kids have already participated this year.

Several other retailers, including Five Below and J.C. Penney, are also expanding their selection of toys. Party City plans to open about 50 pop-up stores nationwide under the Toy City banner for the holiday season.

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