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FierceRetail April 04, 2016
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Today’s Top Stories

1. Ulta headed downtown with new HQ

2. Revolve opens private Social Club

3. Staples to offer co-working spaces in three locations

4. Digital shoppers save largest purchases for desktop

5. Retailers optimistic about spring

Also Noted

Spotlight: Department stores suffer from growing digital sales

Stories from around the Web

News from the Marketing & Retail Industry




Today’s Top News

1. Ulta headed downtown with new HQ

Monday, April 4, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) is opening a satellite office in downtown Chicago to support its growth and offer employees flexibility.

The 23,000-sq.-ft. office will feature 100 work stations and be within blocks of most transportation lines.

“A Chicago location offers our existing employees more flexibility and the ability to collaborate with business partners in new ways, and it will also help us continue to attract the top talent we need to fuel our growth,” said Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty. “Additionally, our new satellite office solidifies our position as members of the Chicagoland community and reflects our continued commitment to this world-class city.”

Ulta’s corporate headquarters are in suburban Bolingbrook, Illinois and currently house 750 employees. That facility is also scheduled for renovations and expansion.

Ulta is growing quickly. In 2015, the company outpaced much of the broader retail industry with double-digit jumps in sales across categories and an even more stunning 44 percent climb in online revenue.

The retailer opened 100 stores in 2015 and will add another 100 this year. It has also invested in improved displays and brought in new prestige beauty brands.

For more:
– see this Ulta press release

Related Articles:
Ulta grows e-commerce 44%
NRF names Ulta’s Mary Dillon a retail Power Player
How Ulta is remaking the customer experience

2. Revolve opens private Social Club

Monday, April 4, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Online retailer Revolve has opened a members-only brick-and-mortar store that will double as a test location and pop-up for new brands.

The Revolve Social Club is a members-only venue in on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, California. The three-level building includes a street-facing, multipurpose storefront with a showroom on the second floor and an upper deck with a 360-degree view of Los Angeles.

The space is designed to be a reflection of the Revolve brand, according to a company statement.

The Social Club will be invite-only to top-spending customers, social media followers, influencers, stylists and celebrities. Members can schedule consultations with stylists and even order catered meals during private shopping appointments.

The space will also be used for events, celebrity appearances and concerts. It will host pop-up shops featuring brands also available on the site. For Love & Lemons will be the first tested at the location, previewing a new collection.

The 13-year old online retailer has positioned itself as an aspirational brand with private label and youth-focused fashion with a strong social presence. Last year, Revolve had more than $400 million in sales. The merchant is on track to hit $1 billion in revenue in the next few years, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

“Revolve has dominated the online shopping experience for millennials for the past decade, and the Revolve Social Club is where we see retail going next. The Social Club provides an unprecedented high-touch and personalized shopping experience for our most loyal customers,” said Michael Mente, cofounder and co-CEO. “It leverages everything we know about her and puts her right in the center of the aspiring Revolve lifestyle.”

The space is designed to appeal to Revolve’s primary customer – millennials. At it’s core the shop is an experience designed with “Instagrammable moments” in mind.

“Millennial customers value experiences, intimate relationships and authenticity, and our data gives us a unique opportunity to provide that to our most valuable customers,” said Mike Karanikolas, cofounder and co-CEO.

Revolve joins a growing list of e-commerce retailers opening physical locations. The brick-and-mortar growth of Warby Parker, Bonobos and Birchbox is well documented, but Revolve’s Social Club is among an even newer breed of retailer that, like Nasty Gal, is creating stores that are more experiential showrooms than shops.

For more:
– see this Women’s Wear Daily article (tiered subscription)
– see this Revolve press release

Related Articles:
From virtual to physical: A new path for retailers
Revolve acquires Alliance Apparel fashion brands
BaubleBar raises $10 million, expands Nordstrom partnership

3. Staples to offer co-working spaces in three locations

Monday, April 4, 2016 | By Jacqueline Renfrow

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) has teamed up with with Workbar to offer co-working spaces within select retail locations. The first three productive workplaces are between 2,500 and 3,500 sq. ft. and will open in late spring in the Danvers, Norwood and Brighton, Massachusetts stores.

The Workbar facilities include a mix of high-end workspaces, conference rooms, private phone rooms, fast and secure Wi-Fi, printers, and bottomless coffee and tea.

“We’re excited to team up with Workbar to offer business people a productive working environment in our Staples stores by providing convenient, affordable space and amenities so they can make more happen during their workday,” said Peter Scala, executive VP merchandising, Staples. “Workbar locations will provide a sense of community and the opportunity to network and collaborate with other motivated professionals.”

Workbar’s CEO and cofounder Bill Jacobson said the space, geared toward the rising demographic of mobile professionals, is meant to link suburban workers with downtown centers through convenient parking, extended store hours and more.

Operated by Workbar within Staples, the space will offer co-working memberships, pre-scheduled meeting space, and access to its in-person and online community for tips and advice. Workbar members will automatically be enrolled in the Premier Level of Staples Rewards.

“At Staples, the Workbar space will be a great complement to our existing suite of business relevant products and services – print and marketing services, business services including shipping, tech services and office supplies. This provides our customers with the unique opportunity to obtain virtually everything they need to stay up and running and to make their businesses succeed right from our stores,” said Scala.

Staples is still awaiting approval from the FTC, after two rejections, for its merger with Office Depot. Staples agreed to buy Office Depot for $6 billion in February 2015, and has agreed to make concessions and sell assets in order to win FTC approval.

For more:
– see this Staples press release

Related Articles:
Staples closing stores
Staples gets EU approval, pushes forward for US
Staples shakes up C-suite

4. Digital shoppers save largest purchases for desktop

Monday, April 4, 2016 | By Jacqueline Renfrow

According to ComScore research, U.S. consumers now do 60 percent of their online shopping via mobile; however, the bulk of online spending still happens on desktop. Most shoppers wait to make big-ticket purchases such as computers or furniture on desktop because they deem it too difficult to make these types of purchases on a phone or tablet.

Shoppers find that Web pages take longer to load on mobile and get frustrated with the smaller size of screens on mobile, reported Quartz. All of these reasons make researching a product before purchasing more difficult.

Some of these barriers to purchase also exist online and are reflected in sales growth between 2014 and 2015. For example, while video games, consoles and accessories grew 44 percent over the year, and spend on toys and hobbies on digital was up 42 percent, consumer electronics grew only 9 percent and computers 5 percent.

Consumers know what they’re getting when buying items such as video games and books online, according to Adam Lella, senior analyst of marketing insights at ComScore. “Those are easier to purchase on mobile than bigger, research-heavy products,” he told Quartz.

While ComScore expects the gap of spending on mobile versus desktop to close over time, mobile may never fully catch up to desktop. Mobile made a huge jump over the 2015 holidays, growing 45 percent and accounting for 23 percent of all holiday sales, according to research from Sidecar. In the next three years, m-commerce is expected to reach $217 billion, according to Javelin.

For more:
– see this Quartz article

Related Articles:
Mobile shopping revenue jumped 45% over holidays
40% of consumers search for coupons using mobile apps
Mobile spending to climb 68%

5. Retailers optimistic about spring

Monday, April 4, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Retail suppliers are optimistic about spring and could see a much needed sales jolt to end the year stronger than 2015.

According to a new survey conducted by Capital Business Credit (CBC), the vast majority of retail suppliers surveyed believe that 2016 will either be better than or the same as 2015, and 45.5 percent believe spring and summer will be stronger than last year. Roughly 38.6 percent think it will remain the same.

Close to 75 percent of those surveyed believe that retail sales will grow by 4 percent or more, outpacing core GDP growth.

“While retail sales for January and February were lower than initially anticipated, this hasn’t seemed to deter retail suppliers’ confidence or business activity,” said Andrew Tananbaum, executive chairman of CBC. “In fact, nearly 90 percent of importers and suppliers are reporting reorders for the spring/summer shopping season. Retailers have become increasingly reticent to stock shelves if they do not believe products will sell or consumers will buy. These reorders mean that the major retail chains and individual stores are optimistic.”

Nearly half of the suppliers surveyed said retail orders have increased.

Retail CEOs are feeling optimistic as well, with 35 percent confident that revenue will grow over the next 12 months, according to PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey.

For more:
– see this PwC survey
– see this CBC press release

Related Articles:
Retail CEOs say silos are holding back omnichannel
Profits elusive in omnichannel retailing
Retail tech spending in 2016 to further omnichannel goals

Also Noted

Spotlight: Department stores suffer from growing digital sales

Department store sales aren’t dead but have been moving online at an accelerated rate. Still, the displacement is wrecking havoc on profitability, forcing many to rethink digital investment. Read more.

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