A Widening Gap Within Brick and Mortar

July 24, 2017 Leave a comment


Back-to-school shopping patterns signal deeper chasm between winners, losers

Author: Andria Cheng

July 20, 2017

Emerging shopping patterns in the back-to-school season underscore changing dynamics within the brick-and-mortar sector, and a widening gap between haves and have-nots.

The brick-and-mortar have-nots? Traditional department stores and clothing retailers. The percentages of both parents and students who plan to shop at either of those channels declined sharply over 2016 levels, according to a Deloitte back-to-college study released this week.

Deloitte surveyed more than 1,000 students and parents each. The percentage of parents who plan to do school shopping in traditional department stores for their college-going kids plunged 17 percentage points to 34%, down from 51% in 2016.

That was the most dramatic decline for either retail format among both age groups, but in all cases the declines exceeded 10 percentage points—a troubling slide in a single year.

By contrast, stores like TJX Cos.’s TJ Maxx, already outperforming in the sector, were cited by many back-to-school shoppers, young and old. Some 31% of parents said they plan to do their back-to-college shopping in off-price stores, up 20 percentage points from a year earlier. Among students, the measure jumped an even larger  28 percentage points to 39%, the Deloitte survey showed.

Fast-fashion players like H&M and Forever 21, which have whittled away the market for traditional specialty clothing retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch, appear to be grabbing an even bigger share of back-to-school sales. The percentage of students who said they will shop at fast fashion clothing retailers jumped 20 percentage points to 43%.

With consumers’ increased focus on convenience, and with chains like Walgreens making an increased back-to-school push and stocking items like backpacks and other school supplies, drugstores may also have a shot at winning some back-to-school share too: the percentage of college students who said they plan to do back-to-school shopping at drugstores surged 21 percentage points to 36%.

Meanwhile, mass merchants like Walmart and Target were favored by both parents and students. Some 72% of college-going students said they would shop at mass merchants, up 29 percentage points from a year earlier. The percentage of parents mentioning that channel jumped 20 percentage points to 73%.


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One possible explanation could be found in mass merchants’ aggressive back-to-school advertising spending. While this year’s data isn’t yet available, a Kantar Media study released this week found that Walmart and Target were the top 2 back-to-school advertisers between May 23 and Oct. 2 last year. Why is this relevant? US adults with school age kids 18 or younger are 62% more likely to consider advertising as the most important deciding factor in their buying decision, the study found.

As smartphone penetration rises and schools increasingly become more digital, it looks like electronics retailers also will play a bigger role in where consumers shop this back to school: the percentage of parents who cited shopping at home electronics stores jumped 10 percentage points to 33%, according to the Deloitte survey.

That’s also why non-traditional back-to-school players like AT&T are increasingly flexing their marketing muscle to compete for their share of consumers’ wallet: Kantar Media study found that AT&T upped its back-to-school spending last year eightfold to become the third-largest back-to-school advertiser in 2016, only after Walmart and Target. Meanwhile,   Best Buy increased its spending six times, Kantar Media study showed.

The Deloitte finding on where people will shop for college needs generally mirrors the trends observed in a recent survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation.

Among back-to-college shoppers, online was the undisputed winner and the biggest share gainer: 44% of shoppers said they will buy online, up from 37.5% in 2016, the Prosper Insights survey showed. The percentage of shoppers citing electronics stores also rose to 15.5% from 14.3% in 2016, albeit down from a peak of 21% in 2012. Indeed, while gadgets are increasingly coveted, electronics retailers from HHGregg to RadioShack have filed for bankruptcies after failing to compete against the likes of Amazon and bigger physical rivals like Best Buy.

Echoing the Deloitte survey, the Prosper Insights study also found year-over-year percentage declines among consumers doing back-to-college shopping at department stores, office-supplies retailers and clothing stores. In contrast to the Deloitte finding, the percentage of those shopping at discount stores in the Prosper Insights survey painted a less optimistic picture for the segment: it dropped to 40% this year from 43.7% in 2016 and down from nearly 54% in 2011.

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Elevate Your Off-Price Businesss

July 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Open this link from INTURN

Elevate Your Off-Price Business

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Clothing retailer drives mobile shopping forward with Shopgate app platform

July 24, 2017 Leave a comment



July 20, 2017

Texas Humor, a clothing brand focused on state pride, is using Shopgate’s mobile commerce platform to build an enhanced mobile shopping app for customers.

The quest is to both help shoppers and achieve deeper customer engagement via unique content capabilities, and lead to higher sales conversions, according to a press release.

The mobile app allows Texas Humor to further connect with customers through advanced features including push notifications, abandoned cart reminders and exclusive mobile content, delivering a true-to-the-brand mobile shopping experience.

“We have high engagement rates with our customers, and our statistics showed most people were buying our products off of mobile devices,” said Jay B. Sauceda, founder, Texas Humor, in the release.

“We wanted to provide a mobile app that served as an entirely different experience from our website. With Shopgate, we have been able to continue utilizing our well known ‘humor’ by marketing our products through targeted push notifications, resulting in even greater customer engagement. As a small company, we didn’t have the means to develop a custom mobile app ourselves. Shopgate has allowed us to generate user-friendly content and target our customers in a way we know they like to shop: on their phones.”

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Mobile messaging app usage is expected to hit a milestone in 2017

July 21, 2017 Leave a comment


Mobile messaging app usage is expected to hit a milestone in 2017: For the first time, over three-quarters (76.3%) of the world’s smartphone users will use one.
July 21, 2017
eMarketer Releases Latest Estimates for Worldwide Messaging App Usage

Mobile messaging app usage is expected to hit a milestone in 2017: For the first time, over three-quarters (76.3%) of the world’s smartphone users will use one. Full Article

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China’s government just announced a plan to invest billions in the country’s artificial intelligence efforts. A few other factors will also give China a great chance to surpass the US in the sector within a few years. Full Article

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Streaming’s Surge Helps Digital Dethrone CDs in Germany

Surging revenues from streaming sites played the primary role in dropping CDs’ share of Germany’s music industry sales below 50% in 2017’s first half, with the overall market for music in the country growing by nearly 3%. Full Article

Data Feed

Millennial Habits: Research from Bankrate.com finds that millennials spend their money differently than older generations. For example, millennials spend roughly $233 per month on both dine-in and takeout meals. In contrast, older peers spend about $182.

Fleeting Impressions: Just 37% of UK desktop internet users who found an article via search, and less than half (47%) of those who read a story via social media, could correctly name the news organization that published the article two days later, according to an April study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. By comparison, 81% of users who directly arrived on a story could later recall where it was published.

More Data

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The world’s first inventory crowdfunding platform.

July 20, 2017 Leave a comment


The world’s first inventory crowdfunding platform. When fans support the growth of brands they love, everyone wins.

Boulder, Colorado, USA

Verify Investor Status to make a reservation


Connect with Company


$1,655,000 of $3,000,000

Kickfurther is raising $3,000,000 with a minimum reservation of $25,000. Numbers displayed include non-binding reservations before investors are verified, signed, or closed.



  • Round led by Tim Draper at Draper Associates
  • Winner of PitchIt at LendIt
  • Over $16m of inventory funded and $1m of profit paid already


Kickfurther is an entirely new way to fund businesses. Now anyone can support the growth of brands and products they believe in, and earn significant profit while doing so.


$19m of inventory funded

JUNE, 2017

13.9k user accounts, 3k activated users

JUNE, 2017

SXSW FinTech Finalist

MARCH, 2017

90% successful funding rate

JUNE, 2017

Hubspot InBound Pitchoff Finalist


Xtreme Tech Challenge Top 10


Winner PitchIt@LendIt

APRIL, 2015

Matriculated through Boomtown Accelerator




Can anyone participate on the Kickfurther platform?

Kickfurther is open to anyone in the United States over the age of 18. This is because users on Kickfurther have the opportunity to sell the inventory they buy to earn profit quicker. If the inventory doesn’t sell, users can take delivery of the inventory they purchased to do with as they choose. If you wanted to buy and sell inventory today, you could do so through AliExpress and Shopify. Kickfurther makes it easier by pairing users with businesses that already have successful products and have the need for more inventory.

Why did you start Kickfurther?

I used to run a merchandising business and my sales grew from $600k to over $1m within the first two years. With that growth came larger purchase orders and, when I went to market to find a financing solution, I found the rates to be exorbitantly high and coupled with extremely onerous terms. At the same time, the cash I had sitting in my bank account was earning 0.05% interest annually. It didn’t make sense that capital could both be very cheap and very expensive at the same time. Kickfurther was born from the realization that there had to be a more efficient solution.



Team Member Name

Draper Associates

Draper Associates, your delightful early-stage VC firm. We invest in big crazy ideas.
Team Member Name

BoomTown Accelerator

Team Member Name

Bill Tai

Venture Capitalist, Educator & Athlete

Computer chip designer turned VC. Stayed on as a Public Company Board member for 7 of my startups with another dozen that listed where i was an also an inves…
Team Member Name

Alex Bogusky

As a founder of CP+B Alex has been featured on the cover of Fast Company and was named Creative Director of the Decade by AdAge. As an angel investor …





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Goodby to a Friend and Colleague

July 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Henry Cherner, AIMS360 Managing Partner, 66

Henry Cherner, a Los Angeles pioneer in software programs for the fashion industry and an apparel industry veteran, passed away suddenly from a heart attack on Sunday. He was 66.

Cherner, was in the apparel business for decades before transitioning into the world of fashion technology as a managing partner of software company AIMS360. He was also a founding board member of Fashion Business Inc., a Los Angeles nonprofit business incubator that helped startups and young apparel companies become more successful. He was on the FBI board since the organization’s inception in 1999 and was an advisory board member of the California Fashion Association.


Through FBI and his affiliations with a number of fashion schools and universities, he was instrumental in teaching thousands of fashion students and aspiring apparel entrepreneurs how to use software solutions such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), an integrated program to manage core business processes. He also donated millions of dollars in software programs to be used in classrooms in some 14 educational institutions.

Cherner, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, moving to St. Louis when he was 3 years old. A year later, his family moved to Los Angeles. He graduated from Fairfax High School and later received his bachelor’s of science degree from California State University – Northridge.

His first foray into the apparel industry was with his own company called Casablanca, which made leather goods inspired by the movie “Casablanca.”

From the mid 1970s to the late 1980s, he was managing director of import/export for Condor, a sportswear company, as well as owner of Zephyr Group, which manufactured children’s suspenders and accessories licensed for Disney Products. In the early 1990s, he was operations manager for OK SAM, which imported women’s rayon clothing from Bali, Indonesia.

By 1992, he had become the president of AIMS Technology Solutions Inc. and later one of four managing partners at AIMS360, the successor to AIMS Technology.

Cherner was a generous donor of his time and money to help fashion students, burgeoning apparel companies and small businesses get off the ground. Early this year, he donated more than $200,000 worth of AIMS360 software to FBI’s Fashion Merchandising Program.

“He really went out of his way to help us to help the people we were helping,” said Frances Harder, FBI’s founder. “He got what we were doing and always supported us. It was sad to see him go.”

Most recently, Cherner was focused on educating students and young people about software systems and technology. “Henry had a heart of gold. He was one of the original FBI board members,” said Trish Concannon, FBI’s president. “He had a passion for teaching people.”

Bob Berg, director of international business development at Sourcing at MAGIC, met Cherner some 15 years ago when Berg was working at Hana Sportswear and was looking at software programs to control costing and production. “Henry was a very knowledgeable person but a very down-to-earth person. You would never know how successful he was and how generous he was with his time to help companies,” said Berg, who also was an FBI board member for several years. “He was a really good person and a good ambassador for the industry. He was always a real pleasure to talk to and had time for everybody.”

Rob Greenspan, the president of Greenspan Consult and an FBI board member, said Cherner offered one of the first computer systems for Los Angeles’ apparel industry that was affordable for smaller and mid-size companies. “He was young and vibrant,” Greenspan said. “He cared about the people in the industry and enjoyed helping people.”

Ilse Metchek, another long-time apparel industry veteran and president of the California Fashion Association, was shocked to hear about Cherner’s death. “Henry was off on his next career,” she said. “His next avocation was to make a very clear difference with the business and professional knowledge of college students from all over the country.”

Shahrooz Kohan, one of AIMS360’s four managing partners, said everyone in the office was surprised to hear of his death. “Driven by his passion for education, Henry played a pivotal role in helping shape AIMS360 and has been a valuable asset to this company throughout the years,” Kohan noted. “He was around the fashion industry for a very long time and people really respected him and let him help them when they were getting their business going. They really took his advice into consideration. I was always surprised to hear a client say, ‘If it weren’t for Henry, I wouldn’t be here.’ Some of the brand owners had heard him talk when they were students. He gave them tips and advice.”

His daughter Ariella Schrader said he was passionate about educating and inspiring students so they could be successful. She said he touched many people across the industry and treated everyone he came in contact with as if they were family. “Whether it was a small phone call with a student, or an important meeting with a big client – he took great pleasure in helping other people succeed,” she said. “He loved his career and often brought his kids to visit clients, instilling the same ethics he used in business with his family. On July 16th, the LA fashion industry lost an iconic figure and the Cherner family lost a loving husband, brother, nurturing father and doting grandfather.”

Besides his daughter Ariella, Cherner is survived by his wife, Miriam Scharf Cherner, two sons, Dac and Noah Cherner, daughter Leanna Cherner and granddaughter, Presley Schrader.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 18, at Mount Sinai Cemetery, 5950 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles.

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How Y2K Offers a Lesson for Fighting Climate Change

July 19, 2017 Leave a comment



Testing the grid at the Niagara Mohawk Power Company plant in Buffalo on Dec. 28, 1999, as part of Y2K preparations. CreditJoe Traver/Reuters

Last week, New York magazine published a riveting and frightening look at the future of the planet we call home. Now that global warming is well underway, we are in for an apocalyptic awakening, and “parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century,” the writer, David Wallace-Wells, argues.

The article captured the public’s attention, quickly becoming the most-read piece in the magazine’s history. But many critics, including several climate scientists, argued that it was flawedbecause Mr. Wallace-Wells focused on the worst-case scenario, a pessimist’s take. Why feed the public a too-bleak picture of the future? Why frighten people into action, rather than inspire them?

Because sometimes, the worst case is the only thing that prompts us to get anything done. I know this because I’ve studied the last time that governments, businesses and ordinary citizens joined together to combat a complex, man-made problem that threatened to wreak global havoc in the distant future.

It was a problem that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to fix, whose technical basis was not immediately obvious to most non-specialists and which some even doubted was real at all. It was also a fight that we won — and that we ought to be proud of winning, since it offers a blueprint for combating the many catastrophes that may arise from the technologies underpinning civilization, including a warming planet.

I speak, of course, of Y2K.

Don’t laugh. There are important lessons in the unlikely story of how the world came to mitigate the effects of a ticking time bomb under modern civilization. The primary lesson is this: If you want to prompt expensive, collective global action, you need to tell people the absolute worst that could happen. We humans do not stir at the merely slightly uncomfortable. Only the worst case gets us going.

People tend to remember Y2K as a joke, and not a good one. Way back in the last century, computer scientists and I.T. guys began warning that a strange computer bug lay dormant in just about every computer in the world. When the date turned over from 1999 to 2000, computers would go haywire, they said, leading to all manner of annoyances, if not global catastrophe.

At first, no one believed them. As I discovered when I investigated Y2K for its 10th anniversary, the technicians who discussed the problem in the early 1990s were often mocked for their alarmism. The year 2000 was a long time away, and people shrugged.

But then, in the mid-1990s, a sense of urgency took hold. The tech industry was booming and the worldwide web was becoming the white-hot center of American innovation. So it began to make sense that a computer bug could take down the world.

But mostly, what happened was that the narrative changed. Instead of couching the problem in the anodyne language of software, proponents of action began to describe in concrete and frightening terms how the bug could alter modern life. They painted the worst-case picture. And the worst case started to sound pretty darned bad.

On Dec. 30, 1999, Long Island Power Authority employees prepared for possible outages.CreditVic DeLucia/The New York Times

A letter that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York sent to President Bill Clinton in 1996 illustrates this tack. Pointing to a government study that “substantiates the worst fears of the doomsayers,” he warned that the bug could cripple the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, prompting economic chaos. After outlining a series of recommendations — involving enormous organizational and financial costs — Mr. Moynihan ended with a stark warning: “The computer has been a blessing; if we don’t act quickly, however, it could become the curse of the age.”

Prompted by news media coverage of potential devastation, governments and businesses across the globe got in gear. The United States spent $100 billion to address the bug, according to a 2000 report by a Senate committee that studied the effort. (All but $8.5 billion was spent by companies, not the government.) Across the globe, about $580 billion went to fixing Y2K.

The effort was monumental. In the two years before the turn of the century, most of the United States’ large companies and government agencies — many of which had been running on software that was decades old — worked overtime to examine and rid their code of the software bug.

The alarm proved useful. When companies looked at their code, many found they were more vulnerable to Y2K than they’d previously thought, the Senate report found. Many also came up with ways to mitigate disaster in case their fixes didn’t work: Local governments rebuilt and tested emergency management systems, which later proved crucial for New York after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

One popular misconception about Y2K is that it was a wasted effort. After all, when the clocks turned over on Jan. 1, 2000, there were scattered problems, but the world didn’t end. And there is some evidence that money was misspent.

But several of the government and outside analysts who have studied the response — including the Senate task force — concluded that on the whole, the effort was justified, given what we knew about the bug beforehand, and especially considering the United States’ particular vulnerability to tech problems.

The best analysis of the effort I’ve read came from two Australian researchers, John Phillimore and Aidan Davison, who argued in a 2002 paper that fighting Y2K was an example of the “precautionary principle,” an idea well-known in the environmental movement. It essentially boils down to this: It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if the sorry end of the spectrum involves the end of the world as we know it.

And the way to get people to understand that, Mr. Phillimore and Mr. Davison wrote, is to explain the worst case. “Y2K shows that the way problems are portrayed is crucial to how solutions are approached,” the researchers wrote. “Small, discrete problems are easier to understand than ‘slow-burn,’ incremental ones. Providing people with specific examples of things that might go wrong is more effective than general warnings.”

They added: “This might be particularly pertinent to debates on global warming.” Indeed.

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