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What gifts, et al, have to do with the shoppers, retailing and the rest of the known world...at least according to editorial director Warren Shoulberg.
Assuming you've all survived black-and-blue weekend, there are a few things anyone in the business of selling holiday merchandise needs to understand about why things are very different than they used to be.And why you should not believe everything you read or hear either. Because all of those post-Thanksgiving Weekend sales numbers are wrong...sometimes very wrong. 1. We all know the holiday sell... Read MoreComments (0)
There's a new book out called Bargain Fever and if the name itself doesn't quite tell you what's going on, the information inside certainly will.Full disclosure, I haven't read it yet, but in a review last week, there were details on some of the statistics the book reports on. The author Mark Ellwood says in 2001, retailers sold about 15 to 20 percent of their merchandise at promotional prices. By... Read MoreComments (1)
Convergence is a word you hear a lot about in certain businesses. In the world of consumer electronics, they've been talking about the coming together of televisions and computers for a couple of decades, making it the holy grail of convergence.In the world of retailing, convergence is also a work in progress. We all know that while there are any number of stand-alone, web-only retailers out there... Read MoreComments (0)
The gift industry is certainly an entity onto itself with a set of circumstances that often don't have any relationship to what's going on elsewhere in the broader home furnishings market.That said the just-completed home textiles market week in New York does offer some guidelines and insights that are worth noting. Not everything is apples and apples but there are enough similarities.First off, i... Read MoreComments (0)
I don't know about you, but I think the pending acquisition of Yankee Candle by Jarden is the biggest gift industry story of the year and maybe the biggest story of several years.Part of it is of course the numbers: for an industry where $10 million a year in sales is a big deal, those kinds of zeroes are just rounding errors for both of these companies. They play in the big leagues, the kind that... Read MoreComments (1)
Marlboro. The very first time I stepped foot in mainland China, in the mid-1990s, the first thing I saw crossing the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen was a big billboard advertising Marlboro cigarettes.It was not exactly what I was expecting.I'm reminded of that once again this week attending a textiles trade show in Shanghai. Before the show began, I had a little time to go exploring the city, w... Read MoreComments (0)
Is there nothing sadder than sitting around in shorts and a t-shirt by the pool, the lake, the beach or the wherever on August 1st and enjoying the summer when WHAM, you see a back-to-school ad on TV?A gazillion years after many of us have moved on from the academic world, I still cringe when the thought of going back to school is mentioned and some store is telling me I have to go out and buy new... Read MoreComments (0)
Here's a fascinating new marketing idea that I've never heard anyone do before and I wonder if it has any application in the gift and home business.Panera, the sandwich and semi-fast food chain that now has 1700 locations, has been experimenting with a program it calls Panera Cares and it basically allows customers to pay what they are able to for certain food items. First, it has set up five stor... Read MoreComments (1)
Just got finished working the Stationery Show at Javits in New York this week and while you’d have to have a whole lot of paper over your eyes not to realize that the show has gotten smaller over the years from its peak, it’s still pretty remarkable how vibrant and relevant it is. Maybe there are not the miles of aisles of greeting card companies and paper goods suppliers, but the show ha... Read MoreComments (0)
Specialty gift retailers are about to get…well, a gift. Even as you read this, Congress is debating a bill that would require online retailers to charge sales tax on purchases, regardless of where they or their customers are located. This has been a real bone of contention for in-store retailers who felt that the lack of sales tax charges gave online operators a pricing advantage, one that... Read MoreComments (0)
The headline in the Wall Street Journal told the entire story: “McDonald’s Says ‘Service is Broken’.” The statement was gleamed from an internal presentation the company made to its franchisees outlining the deterioration of its ratings on customer service and promoting a plan for improving it. The for-their-eyes-only details said the leading complaint the company was getting from its cust... Read MoreComments (0)
Just when you think you’ve heard every revisionist term for what’s going on in American retailing these days, along comes a term like “under-demolished." It was uttered by some suited-up analyst type who said the country’s retailers should voluntarily close 20 to 30 percent of their store base, even if it meant going into bankruptcy to do so. They should then take the cost savings and... Read MoreComments (0)