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Retail Update

Susan Dickenson

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

  • Welcome, Belk Home Store

    A new Belk Home Store opened today in Greensboro, of special interest to me for a couple of reasons: the store was built new from the ground up as a stand-alone presentation of Belk’s home brands and products, and it is within walking distance of my home in Greensboro. The new 29,000-sq.-ft. Belk Home Store is across the street from Belk’s existing Friendly Center location, which is being renovated and will celebrate its grand re-opening October 15. In all, it’s a $9.2 million project for the Charlotte, N.C.-based retailer, the nation’s ... Read More
  • Relevant rewards reap loyalty

    When it comes to rewarding our best customers and, conversely, expecting a little something extra for being loyal to a brand or store, the United States is a "highly developed loyalty market." That's according to the results of an extensive 2013 study by Maritz Loyalty Marketing, a loyalty program services provider based in Toronto. On average, American consumers are members of 7.4 loyalty programs, with the retail sector having the highest penetration at 1.7 programs, followed by bank credit card programs at 1.3, airline programs at 1.1, hotels at 1.0, co-branded credit cards at ... Read More
  • Stellar retail, then and now

    A lot has happened in the 10 years since May of 2005 when Home Accents Today presented its first Retail Stars list, honoring independent brick-and-mortar retailers. Our 2005 Retail Stars nomination form didn’t have a section for social media, nor did it offer Las Vegas as an option in the “tradeshows” box, since neither of those existed. We did ask for a “Web Address,” though, something 10 of our 2005 retailers left blank. By all appearances, the 2005 Retail Stars appeared to be quite solid businesses, with only 12 stores reporting prior year sales of less than $1 million ... Read More
  • Twitter's Jack Dorsey gets talkative

    Jack Dorsey, co-founder of the 140-character text messaging platform Twitter, says he’s “a man of very few words and fewer characters.” He also says he’s on a mission to make commerce easy and accessible for everyone, everywhere. As such, Dorsey’s been doing a lot of talking lately, as moderator of a national “Let’s Talk” campaign that brings together neighborhood business owners and mobile merchants in communities across the country. Let’s Talk was launched last year by Square, Dorsey’s e-commerce invention that includes Square Reader, a payments processor that accept credit cards on a mobile ... Read More
  • Tour a cargo container retail park

    Las Vegas' new Downtown Container Park, a colorful, quirky collection of about three dozen shops and restaurants housed in shipping containers, is the subject of my "Retail Ideas" story in the April 2014 national issue of Home Accents Today. While attending the January Las Vegas Market, my friend Christi Reeves Tasker, a resident of Las Vegas, agreed to take me on a quick tour of some of the city's retail spots. The tour ended with a stop at the Container Park on East Fremont Street, one of the coolest retail concepts I have ever seen. I was especially interested ... Read More
  • 'Bundling' to boost the brand

      The National Retail Federation’s annual conference is called Retail’s BIG Show for a reason: It’s REALLY big. I came away from the show, held in January at New York’s Javits Convention Center, with a bag full of notes, business cards, flash drives and scannable marketing materials -- and a lot of ideas I’ll be sharing in Home Accents Today pages and online in the coming months. Going in, I was curious to see what the new retail buzzword would be. Last year, it was “omnichannel.” This year, it was more about the concept of “bundling” — merging ... Read More
  • Ikea takes aim at a fast-moving target

    The more I read about IKEA PS 2014, Ikea's new collection for young urban dwellers who are "on the move" and "living in the moment," the more it makes me smile. The collection is designed to maximize flexibility and movability, with pieces that "keep multifunction and small space living at the core," according to Peter Klinkert, head of special collections for the Sweden-based retail giant.I smile because I can't stop thinking about my three 20-something daughters who are always "on the move" and "living in the moment." Ikea released an infographic based on a survey of their ... Read More
  • Interactive retail: New technologies are enhancing the shopping experience

    New digital technologies are enhancing the retail experience in a number of ways, for both shoppers and retailers. Here's a look at what's on the horizon, and what some brands have already put in place. New York-based Infusion creates digital experiences for clients in the retail and restaurant sectors, among others. I recently had an opportunity to tour the Infusion Lab at 599 Broadway to see how their 500+ team is using their "insight, creativity and technology" to enhance the dining and shopping experience for several clients. Take a look at this video of what they've done ... Read More
  • Meet me at the Messe! Ambiente 2014 photos

    The first tradeshow I ever attended at MesseFrankfurt was Collectione, in the summer of 2007. I knew nothing about the fairgrounds, nothing about Frankfurt, was nervous about going, and knew no one there. The 2007 Collectione show, geared toward high-volume buyers of gifts and home goods, hosted a total of 207 exhibitors from 25 countries, attended by 6,000 visitors from 64 countries. Earlier this month, I made my fourth visit to MesseFrankfurt for Ambiente 2014, which hosted 4,724 exhibitors from 89 countries, attended by 144,000 visitors from 161 countries -- their biggest show in 10 years. (Last year ... Read More
  • Lust for lists

    I like lists. I've recently developed a fancy for "Top 10s," especially those that narrow down a year's worth of blog posts into a nice, efficient list of the year's most popular reads. One of the best retail "top 10s" from this most recent season of lists is the National Retail Federation's "Top 10 posts on Retail's BIG Blog." This is a great blog, but one with a lot of activity, information and commentary that I don't always have time to read. The "Top 10 posts" post gives me a chance to survey the ... Read More
  • Really BIG stuff at Retail's BIG Show

    I just got back from Retail's BIG Show, the National Retail Federation's annual convention and expo, held this year at the Javits Convention Center in New York. Now I understand why the event's logo and lettering stresses the all-uppercase "BIG" word. With more than 30,000 attendees, 500 exhibitors and dozens of overlapping keynote sessions, breakout sessions and networking events, there's a lot to see, hear and discuss. Speakers at this year's event ranged from retail CEOs like Blake Nordstrom and Terry Lundgren, to marketing strategists behind brands like HGTV Home, Life is Good, Hallmark ... Read More
  • The final word

    First of all, let me say that in no way do I claim to be a master of the English language. Especially when it comes to the spoken word, which tends to give way to lazy habits established in my youth that have been fortified by way too many Andy Griffith Show reruns.That said, I couldn't resist expanding upon an email that landed in my inbox this morning about common grammar mistakes. Especially when, soon after, I had lunch at a local establishment that greeted me with a professionally printed "You're satisfaction is our number one priority ... Read More