Archive for August 2006

But I really gotta go!

“If you do not take any bathroom breaks all semester, you will receive one bonus point on your final grade.” (Bear with me for a moment; I swear this is related to retail.) I could not believe it when one of my much younger siblings told me a teacher said this to his class. I’ve known, and experienced, evil power-hungry teachers who denied their students bathroom breaks; who restricted the number of times allowed during the year; who still made you raise your hand and ask permission to go to the restroom even though you were old enough to join the army. Continue reading →

Lunch Launch All Smooshed Up

Although an estimated 306 stores already have lunch available, Starbucks just rolled out their sandwich program in the ATL just 2 days ago…perhaps in an effort to boost lackluster same-store sales (which Starbucks blamed on long lines). Barista-associates have been touting the lunch-launch for a while now, and while the sandwiches look tasty, the merchandising doesn’t.  First, the sandwiches have been jammed into existing cold cases, displacing lots of beverage SKU’s and trimming down facings of others.  New branding and pricing tags are not in place for the sandwiches, the shelf tags that are in place are for products that were moved during the resets and, in each store we visited, counter mats announcing the savory meals are curled up and shop-worn after only 48 hours.  The nation’s espresso destination of choice usually executes in-store to painstaking perfection, but this program has already left us, um, hungry for a better plan when their scrumptious breakfast hits town. Continue reading →

When Design Goes Too Far

I’m all for self-expression and the use of custom design elements to enhance environment. The design-it-yourself philosophy continues to proliferate the home improvement market thanks to a plethora of popular television shows and consumer magazines. And manufacturers and retailers have responded enthusiastically, to say the least. But when does it go too far?   

York has introduced a new line of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that give homeowners a new tool to further define their tastes and to some extent, their identities. The new Affinity Series, which York says is the only system on the market of its kind, gives the option of seven exterior colors–from Chocolate to Bermuda–for the outdoor system coverings. Continue reading →

Black attack

Black first felt its power as a major fashion influencer in the mid-‘80s. Now black is back–and in a big way. Fashion headlines earlier this year exclaimed: “Black is the new black.” And said: the little black dress is the new, hot dress. Macy’s was listening. The company has just decreed that all of its sales associates are to wear black to work, everyday. According to the company, this will allow Macy’s shoppers to locate sales personnel more easily in the stores, addressing a common customer complaint–“there’s never a sales person around when you need one.” The new rule applies to employees in Macy’s East’s 174 stores. Continue reading →

Fido Goes Shopping

Not to belabor the point about pet ownership, but I want to continue the discussion. I’m one of those pet owners who wishes she could bring her dog to work or out to lunch or shopping. I don’t know how many of you feel the same way, but I’ve been checking around, and it appears there may be a growing trend toward more pet-friendly stores.

As more open-air retail centers are replacing mall boxes, it only makes sense. In Littleton, Colo., Aspen Grove actually encourages shoppers to "bring your pets for an extraordinary day of shopping." The International Council of Shopping Centers actually honored the center for its liberal pet policy last year. Continue reading →