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Retail Update

Susan Dickenson

Susan Dickenson, Retail Editor, Home Accents Today, @susandickenson

  • Talkin 'bout my generation

    I was born in 1960 and am therefore a younger Baby Boomer — the group born from 1954 to 1965 that I’ve just learned is referred to as Generation Jones (see Alexa Boschini’s Generation Now report in the July, 2015 issue). Wikipedia says us Jonesers “were given huge expectations as children in the 1960s, and then confronted with a different reality as they came of age during a long period of mass unemployment and when de-industrialization arrived full force in the 1970s and 1980s, leaving them with a certain unrequited ‘Jonesing’ quality for the more prosperous days in the ... Read More
  • 140-yr-old Liberty of London appeals to 'the artistic shopper'

    Each May, Home Accents Today recognizes excellence in retailing by shining the spotlight on 50 brick-and-mortar retailers that sell home furnishings, as all or part of their merchandise offering - click here to see the 2015 Retail Stars list. It’s not about sales, but success – the strategies, creativity and personalities that attract customers and keep them coming back for more. I recently visited a store that, for close to a century and a half, has done retail so well it’s considered a national treasure in its home country of England: Liberty of London. Located on central London’s Regent ... Read More
  • Home Accents Today welcomes new Retail Advisory Board

    THIS MONTH, Home Accents Today welcomes its new Retail Advisory Board, a group of 11 multichannel and multidisciplined individuals spanning the brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, interior design, furniture store and franchise worlds of home décor and design. They, and the companies they represent, are respected, successful, award-winning names whose markets and reputations extend well beyond U.S. borders. We’re honored to present them here, in alphabetical order: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Wayfair’s senior director of category management, oversees the day-today management of the online retailer’s furniture and home décor business, responsible for overall strategy from a revenue, supplier management ... Read More
  • Nina Campbell debuts new home decor collections

    Nina Campbell was in High Point this week to give some “Oomph” to her new accents collection for the Connecticut-based company of the same name. The initial offering of high-gloss lacquered pieces features the names of her grandchildren: the Gerome console and table collection, the Enid desk and the Billy tray, along with a “What Not” etagere composed of two stacking side tables. It’s a beautiful blend of tradition, practicality, good taste and hipness, much like Nina herself. The not-to-be-missed collection (with more to come in the future) may be viewed in Historic Market Square, suite 200. Earlier in ... Read More
  • Brick is the New Black

    Despite the widely accepted notion that e-commerce is booming and will continue to do so, the strength of brick-and-mortar retail was a popular theme at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show earlier this year. Keynote speaker Alison Kenney Paul, vice chairman, U.S. retail and distribution leader for Deloitte LLP, told attendees at the January conference that 90% of U.S. retail sales still happen in a physical store. In his “Brick is the New Black” presentation, Balgit Dail, CEO of JDA Software, said 95% of all retail sales are captured by retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence. Paul and ... Read More
  • The 'just looking' dilemma

    The "I'm just looking" response to the “May I help you?” question has become so automated that many retail customers will mutter it simply upon hearing a “Welcome to our store!” or seeing a sales associate approach. Many times the customer truly does want a few minutes to browse and get used to the store before engaging with anyone. Let too much time elapse before a sales associate offers to be of service, though, and she will leave in a huff. Retail experts are all over the map when it comes to how much time should be allowed to ... Read More
  • Give Millennials some credit

    A recent consumer study found that when it comes to furniture and appliances, Millennials prefer to shop at retailers that offer financing options. It also found that they know more about their financing options than their parents and grandparents. Specifically, the study of more than 2,000 consumers found that 59% of shoppers between 18 and 34 say their choice of retailer is affected by whether that retailer offers financing options, and 32% of that consumer group are aware of second-look financing options (for consumers who are denied financing by a retailer’s primary provider), compared with just 13% of ... Read More
  • The redeeming qualities of smarter, greener gift cards

    For the eighth year in a row, gift cards are the most requested holiday gift item. An October National Retail Federation survey found that 60% of shoppers would rather receive a gift card over items like clothing (52%), electronics (35%) and jewelry (25%). Nationally, gift card use is growing at the rate of 6% a year, which translates into a lot of plastic and PVC – about 75 million pounds worth by some estimates. It also translates into a lot of misplaced and unused cards, especially when it comes to Millennials, who are more than twice as likely as older adults ... Read More
  • 11% drop? Some say ‘no way’

    Were Black Friday weekend sales really as slow as the NRF is reporting? Some are saying no. In case you missed it, the National Retail Federation’s weekend shopping survey found that total spending in stores and online (for the weekend through Sunday) fell to $50.9 billion from $57.4 billion last year, a whopping 11% drop. It also says the average person spent $159.55 online, down 10% from 2013. But not everyone is buying it. In an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box, Gerald Storch, CEO of Storch Advisors and former CEO of Toys R Us, said ... Read More
  • Adobe data shows online prices are lowest on Thanksgiving Day

    Adobe just released the results of a massive online shopping report, considered the most comprehensive compilation of such data in the industry. The data analyzes more than one trillion visits to 4,500 retail websites over the last six years, and the more than $7 out of $10 spent online with the top 500 U.S. retailers that are measured by Adobe Marketing Cloud. Based on this data, Adobe’s 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping Forecast includes the following predictions: + Online prices will hit rock bottom on Thanksgiving Day with an average discount of 24%, lower than any other day ... Read More
  • Keep it simple, and give them a 'win'

    Pricewaiter is a price negotiation tool that enables an online shopper to make an offer on a product, then negotiate privately with the retailer until both parties agree on a price. At this summer’s Internet Retailer Conference and Expo in Chicago, Pricewaiter COO Andrew Scarbrough and T.J. Gentle, CEO of, gave a joint presentation on the technology, using Gentle’s company as a case study. The two also shared some interesting findings about what turns consumers away, and what persuades them to close the deal especially when it comes to big- ticket items. Gentle said adding ... Read More
  • Williamsburg Inspiration

    In September, I traveled to Williamsburg to learn more about the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's licensing program, the oldest and largest museum-based licensing program in the world. Today the Williamsburg brand includes home accents, furniture, textiles, ceramics, rugs, lighting, tablewares, garden décor and more, from 30 manufacturers. A short list includes Global Views, Capel, Nichols & Stone, C&F Enterprises, Andrea by Sadek, Mottahedeh, Carvers’ Guild, Friedman Brothers, Michaelian Home and World Art Group.   When the licensing program started (about 75 years ago), many of the licensees were making direct reproductions of furniture, crockery, decorative objects and such. Today, most ... Read More