retail

Shopping with Facebook

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Facebook is hoping to make friends with the retail world.

The social media giant is testing a product that allows users to create a wish list of products from various stores. Right now the test phase has 7 retailers including Pottery Barn and Victoria’s Secret.

It lets certain users flag images of desired items by clicking a “want” button. Then those items are shared with their friends who can purchase them through Facebook.

Analysts say the feature being called “Collections” is the first step by Facebook into the e-commerce world. A company statement says Facebook will not receive any payments or retribution if someone buys a product.  read more »

Fred Segal

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Considering a career in retail; you better believe in more than just your product.

Santa Monica based Fred Segal has survived fifty years in the business. And their unique business model and company outlook are big reasons why. Unlike most retail stores Fred Segal houses numerous stores within its two buildings. Each small store is owned and operated by different people. Recently I spoke with Fred’s son Michael about the long term success his family has found.

“We truly care about every single person that comes into Fred Segal we’re keeping it fresh and clean and vibrant and young and exciting. All of these elements bring together what my father always called a daytime nightclub.”  read more »

Getting the Bang for Your Buck

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This past holiday season retailers posted some of their worst sales numbers on record. That is, except for one trigger happy industry.

According to AdAge.com firearms enthusiasts are single handedly keeping the gun industry on fire.

Cabala’s Outdoor Adventure stores turned in strong fourth quarter sales in its firearm and ammunition departments. Smith and Wesson reports pistol sales up 40 percent. And Strum Ruger and Company says firearm revenue has increased 81 percent.

After the November election of President Obama, background checks for firearms jumped 42 percent to a record 1.5 million based in part on people’s fear that President Obama would tighten gun laws. That trend is continuing with background checks increasing through December, January and February.  read more »

Trust: Can it make a Comeback?

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I may be dating myself but I actually do remember when deals were closed with a handshake. And when someone said “My word is my bond” you simply believed it. Or when a customer said “The check is in the mail” it really was. Trust was the grease that made the wheels of commerce turn more efficiently.

Not anymore. And that lack of trust is threatening to deal a body blow to our way of life.

Certainly one can argue that greed and deceit have been part of business dealings since the dawn of commerce. And maybe our 24 hour news cycle just makes us more aware of human weakness. But somehow we never dreamed that lying, cheating and stealing could get so rampant as to permanently damage or bring down the entire U-S economy.

Now I am not so sure.  read more »

Not So Happy New Year

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I hate to be yet another pessimistic journalist more interested in dishing out bad news than trying to find a silver lining somewhere in this bad economy. But unfortunately, any silver lining seems to quickly get tarnished.

This recession will indeed be long and harsh. The reason is simple. The worst is yet to be.

Some retailers who are hanging on through the Christmas season will not survive into the New Year. They will shutter their doors and stiff their landlords. That will have a trickledown effect in commercial Real Estate, as shopping mall operators and developers realize they will not have the money to re-finance loans coming due.  read more »