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Retail Update

Susan Dickenson

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

  • 101-yr-old Hy Goldman in his 73rd year at Capitol Lighting

    Hy Goldman has been working at Capitol Lighting for 73 years. Yes, that's right - 73 years. This week he celebrated his 101st birthday, and now the media is celebrating him. James Lent of the Hanover (N.J.) Eagle reported Hy's story Monday. CBS picked it up Tuesday, and last night it was David Letterman's turn to have some fun ("...so old he has a 301K") -- the Letterman video clip is posted on Capitol Lighting's Facebook page. As Lent reported, Goldman began working for the company on June 1, 1941 when he was 28. He drives himself ... Read More
  • The ultimate photo bomb

    I just got blown away -- by a silver, bombshell-shaped punch bowl. What makes it really special is that it replicates the British "bombs bursting in air" that exploded above Fort McHenry on a September night in 1814, thus inspiring Francis Scott Key to write "Defense of Fort McHenry," later renamed "Star-Spangled Banner." The silver punch bowl was presented to U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead in 1816 by the citizens of Baltimore, in appreciation for his heroic efforts in defending the fort (and thus, Baltimore harbor) against British bombardment. According to the Smithsonian, "after the battle, a committee of ... Read More
  • Home is hot!

    For the first time ever, home retailers hold two of the top five spots on the 2014 Hot 100 Retailers list, just published in the National Retail Federation’s STORES magazine. The annual list, compiled by Kantar Retail, ranks the top public and private companies (with domestic sales in excess of $300 million) that reported the greatest increase in sales between 2012 and 2013. Wayfair.com landed this year’s No. 2 spot with a sales increase of 52.5%, a hefty jump from last year’s No. 18 ranking (at 16% growth). Texas-based Conn’s HomePlus took the No ... Read More
  • Retailers find second chances in secondhands

    Last month, an article in the Wall Street Journal suggested there’s no longer a market for secondhand furniture and “heirloom” furnishings. (“Why the Market for Heirloom and Secondhand Furniture Has Disappeared,” July 1, 2014). Speaking to WSJ reporter Alina Dizik on the subject, industry analyst Jerry Epperson said the availability of cheaper imports has driven down the cost of furniture about 50% (adjusted for inflation) over the past 30 years, sending traditional secondhand furniture shoppers to stores like Ikea, Wal-Mart and Target. Other analysts and commentators attribute the blame to household downsizing, aging baby boomers shedding their aging stuff ... Read More
  • 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