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Latest NEWS Roundup from Fierce Retail

FierceRetail September 2, 2015
Today’s Top Stories
1. Target lays off 235 at headquarters, 40 in India
2. Gilt opens first physical showroom
3. Build-A-Bear unveils new format in Mall of America
4. Forever 21 seeks smaller formats, loan
5. 7-Eleven partners with DoorDash delivery service

Also Noted:
Spotlight On… Walmart, Toys R Us, select Targets open late for Force Friday
Stories from around the Web and much more…

Small formats bring big payoff

Now is the time to downsize. It’s been a banner year for the little guys. Some of the largest names in retail announced launches of smaller format stores in 2015. So why the rush to get small? Retailers have experienced several big changes in the last few years that have pushed formats to downsize.


Neiman Marcus CMO Wanda Gierhart talks visual search

Neiman Marcus has been among the most progressive of retailers when it comes to digital initiatives. There are efforts to create a shoppable Instagram feed, a mobile wallet and a $100 million investment in its omnichannel strategy. Wanda Gierhart, chief marketing officer at Neiman Marcus, answered a few questions about why the luxury retailer is investing in mobile.

Want to stay on top of the rapidly changing retail industry from every angle? Be sure to sign up for our sister publications FierceMobileRetail andFierceRetailIT to stay up to date on everything from beacons to PCI compliance.

Join other retail professionals in the conversation! Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @FierceRetail and visit us on LinkedIn!

Executive News
1. The Fresh Market finds new CEO in former Food Lion CEO
2. Kroger names successor to VP of corporate affairs Lynn Marmer

More News From Across the Retail Industry
1. Walmart gets new neighbor in Tyco Retail Experience Center
2. Allrecipes new mobile site creates food-focused social network
3. Tractor Supply revamps e-commerce platform

Events

> Shop.org Digital Summit – October 57, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA

* Post a classified ad: Click here.
* General ad info: Click here

Today’s Top News

1. Target lays off 235 at headquarters, 40 in India

By Jacqueline Renfrow Comment | Forward | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Target (NYSE:TGT) announced a layoff of 235 employees from its headquarters and 40 from its IT center in India. The news comes just six months after the company let go 13 percent of employees from the Twin Cities, about 1,700 corporate employees plus an additional 1,400 workers, CBS Minnesota reported.

In addition, Target will eliminate an additional 35 positions at the Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park corporate offices, according to Star Tribune. Target’s IT center in India will still employ more than 2,500 people and the employee count at its headquarters will be just under 11,000. The company also cut corporate jobs in February and April.

The latest round of cuts seems at odds with the company’s push for digital expansion—and the fact that the website lists 102 job openings in IT, Star Tribune reported. However, those openings are mostly related to engineering while the job cuts were in areas like business analysis and project management.

Target is likely to make more employee cuts in the coming months, perhaps in the pharmacy business division. In June, CVS Health agreed to acquire Target’s pharmacy and clinic business for $1.9 billion.

In total, the layoffs for 2015 include 2,735 jobs, or one-fifth of its corporate staff. The retailer started the year with 550 cuts at its headquarters, related to the brand’s exit from Canada. Target said the layoffs are part of a larger plan to cut $2 billion in costsover the next two years.

For more:
-See this Star Tribune article
-See this CBS Minnesota article

Related stories:
Target cuts 1,700 staff from headquarters
Target lays off 140 at headquarters, plus 50 more
Target to test grocery delivery
Target to open 9 small-format stores
Target opens connected home showroom

Read more about: layoffs, India
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2. Gilt opens first physical showroom

By Jacqueline Renfrow Comment | Forward | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Online shopping destination Gilt announced the launch of an in-person shopping experience for members. The new Gilt by Appointment invites members into the showroom at the company’s New York City office to try on and shop apparel, shoes and accessories.

As of now, members can preregister for appointments and doors will officially open on Sept. 8.

The physical retail-like space includes an assortment of designer and luxury brands. All items are up to 70 percent off, and shoppers have another added benefit: the help of a personal stylist.

“We always look for new ways to engage our members and bring them insider access to the most coveted brands,” said Clay Cowan, chief marketing officer at Gilt. “Launching the Gilt by Appointment showroom opens up a whole new way of shopping Gilt, allowing our members to experience the perks of Gilt.com with the convenience that comes with brick-and-mortar shopping, including trying on and seeing items in-person, shopping with a personal stylist, and the excitement of taking home their purchases that day.”

During tailored sessions, up to two members plus two non-members can be in the showroom at one time, with a personal stylist. Or, a private session includes one member with one or two guests and a Gilt stylist to assist. Finally, a group session with one member and up to five friends can shop the showroom with a stylist.

Appointments will last between 60 and 90 minutes. Members also have the opportunity to cite the reason for the shopping occasion when registering so the Gilt personal stylist can pull pieces ahead of time.

Gilt joins a growing list of e-commerce start-ups that are testing out brick-and-mortar stores such as Birchbox, Bonobos and Rent the Runway.

For more:
-See this Gilt press release

Related stories:
BirchBox continues physical store pilot
Gilt pushing China expansion
Birchbox uses brick-and-mortar to learn about online shoppers
Bonobos raises $55 million to open new stores
Birchbox to open its first retail store in Manhattan

Read more about: Shopping Experience
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3. Build-A-Bear unveils new format in Mall of America

By Jacqueline Renfrow Comment | Forward | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE:BBW) unveiled a new store model at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Kicking off the company-wide refreshing of the brand, the store reopened after months of renovation.

The new space is meant to increase productivity, optimize space, and update the brand’s look. New elements include a sophisticated logo, a different store set-up and a color palette. Also, the space has an updated storefront with a teddy bear silhouette and a seven-foot stuffer in the store’s center. Finally, the store features a new inspiration wall for displaying trends and fashions.

“At Build-A-Bear, our mission is to add a little more heart to life, and this new store design makes our unique, make-your-own furry friend experience even more engaging,” said Sharon Price John, CEO, Build-A-Bear Workshop. “We are taking our signature experience to the next level with new opportunities for family fun and entertainment.”

The location is the first to open with the new design, and renovations at 11 other stores are planned to be completed by the end of 2015.

In the digital realm, Build-A-Bear has an updated, mobile-optimized website designed for millennial moms and dads and a Bearville Alive YouTube channel.

“As we look forward to celebrating two decades in business, we have begun to reinvent the company in a number of ways, all with a consumer-centric, brand-building and data-driven approach,” John said. “It’s especially exciting to see our brand become ‘multigenerational,’ as parents who first engaged with Build-A-Bear when they were children are now bringing their own children to share in the experience.”

Build-A-Bear’s executive team is working on a multiyear vision to evolve the brand and return to profitability. Since John joined the company in 2013, the brand has focused on catering to millennials. More and more retailers are trying to reach out to this powerful consumer population. For example, Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) recently announced the launch of a new store concept specifically geared toward millennials.

For more:
-See this Build-A-Bear press release

Related stories:
Millennial dads grocery shop four times more often
Build-A-Bear names new chief product officer
Millennials willing to pay for loyalty
80% millennials turn to video when making purchases
Whole Foods unveils concept geared toward millennials

Read more about: Build-A-Bear Workshop, Sharon Price John CEO BuildABear Workshop
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4. Forever 21 seeks smaller formats, loan

By Jacqueline Renfrow Comment | Forward | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 is in talks to obtain a $150 million loan from Wells Fargo and TPG. The fast-growing chain is in rapid expansion mode, but is looking to build smaller format stores.

The privately held company is profitable, but has struggled recently with a slowdown in European sales at larger stores, The Wall Street Journal reported. Forever 21 is expecting sales to rise 10 percent in 2015 to $4.7 billion. Profits are finally tapering off after years of growth.

Many teen retailers have seen financial troubles in the past few years as they compete in the world of inexpensive, fast-fashion retailers such as H&M. Sales have dropped for Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters. Some brands, such as Wet Sealand Delia’s, had to file for bankruptcy.

Forever 21 recently launched F21 Red, which offers less expensive items than the flagship brand. In addition, the company has expanded into plus sizes, all in attempt to reach more customers.

Location size seems to be a problem as large formats can’t make the sales needed to create productivity. For example, some of the largest stores are the 90,000 sq. ft. store in New York, the 94,000 sq. ft. location in San Bernadino, California, and a 127,000 sq. ft. store in Las Vegas. The company is talking about downsizing some of these bigger locations.

Up until now, Forever 21 has had to take on little debt to fund expansion.fierce retail

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