PRSM Weekly
March 25, 2011

Wealthy start shopping again
Orlando Sentinel
Now that her law practice is picking up again, Kristin Nailos is feeling better about hitting the mall. Nailos was recently at The Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Fla., stopping into Tiffany & Co. to get a stone in a ring re-set. From there, she headed to The Walking Company for a pair of Ugg boots and a suitcase at Bloomingdale's. "Things are definitely better," said Nailos, 41, of Clermont, Fla., whose husband also is an attorney. Stock market gains and pent-up demand have prompted renewed enthusiasm for spending among wealthier Americans — even as the rest of us continue to struggle with the housing slump, high unemployment and soaring gasoline prices.More

Call for Nominations-2012 ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award
ENERGY STAR
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites your feedback on the following technology candidates for the 2012 ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award. The ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award was created to raise the profile of innovative technologies that may not yet meet key principles associated with the ENERGY STAR program (e.g. widely available, cost-effective), but have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions once they are more widely adopted. As products in these categories become more mainstream, the relevant product categories then become candidates for ENERGY STAR specification development.More

Walgreen buys Drugstore.com for $429 million to add sites
Bloomberg
Walgreen Co., the largest U.S. drugstore chain, agreed to buy Drugstore.com Inc. for about $429 million to add about 60,000 products available online. More

Report sees strong rise in retailer growth in 2011
Retailing Today
Retailers' growth plans in the United States are up 40 percent over last year's levels, according to ChainLinks' Retail Advisors Spring 2011 National Retail Report. The report, which details trends impacting retail commercial real estate in more than 40 of the nation's top markets, credits the surge in expansion to two key factors: the return of optimism within the retail sector; and the desire to expand quickly now — before retail fundamentals improve enough for rents to start climbing again.More

Tiffany cuts 1Q outlook on Japan store closings
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
Tiffany & Co. is reducing its first-quarter earnings forecast as it deals with some store closings and limited hours in Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami there. The dimmer outlook came as strong holiday demand and healthy results both domestically and abroad helped push the company's fourth-quarter net income up 29 percentMore

Aaron's Inc. to add 1,000 jobs
Atlanta Business Chronicle
Aaron's Inc. announced plans to add 1,000 retails jobs in the United States and Canada this year. The Atlanta-based electronics, appliances and furniture rentals retailer said at its national managers meeting in Orlando, Fla., its has already added 50 employees so far this year and is on target to hire 500 more based on current store opening plans. More

Talbots posts smaller-than-expected Q4 loss, accelerates remodels
Retailing Today
Talbots reported a narrower-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter loss, and said it plans to expand its store re-image program to improve traffic. The chain also it expects to close as many as 100 stores over the next two years. Talbots lost $2.8 million in the quarter ended Jan. 29, compared with a loss of $1.5 million in the year-ago periodMore

Best Buy profit declines on costs, weak TV sales
The Associated Press via Los Angeles Times
Weak demand for pricey flat-screen TVs and notebook computers helped push Best Buy Co.'s fourth-quarter net income down 16 percent. The decline adds urgency to the electronics retailer's bid to remake its business by opening smaller stores and focusing on more profitable, fast-growing categories such as tablet computers and smartphones.More

Consumers are starting to spend on 'small luxuries' again
Aol Small Business
In another positive sign for the economy, a survey conducted by BIGResearch for STORES Magazine reports that consumers are spending on small luxuries again. The survey asked consumers what expenses they consider "untouchable" and which are expendable. More

Starbucks eyes grocery stores, China, digital for growth
USA Today
Still smarting from the lessons of the recession and about expansion, it's clearly not growth in the traditional sense for Starbucks. No one talked about building gobs of more stores in the U.S. — where it already has 11,000 locations. Instead, executives discussed substantial growth in the grocery store aisle; international growth, particularly in China; and continued growth in digital outreach. More

The Home Depot customers get a Quick Response from
mobile bar codes

Internet Retailer Magazine
The Home Depot has long emphasized its jovial sales staff that is eager to offer product information and tips in stores. Now the retailer is taking that help to the mobile realm. The home improvement retailer announced a series of ads incorporating QR, or Quick Response, two-dimensional bar codes that smartphone owners can scan using an app tied to a smartphone's camera to access product ratings and reviews, how-to guides, product videos and a web page on which they can make a purchase. More

The Wet Seal Inc. accelerates fast fashion with SAS Size Profiling
SAS Institute
The Wet Seal Inc. is a leading, U.S.-based fast-fashion retailer of contemporary apparel and accessory items, operating 504 outlets between its Wet Seal and Arden B brands. With a low cost of entry for new competitors, the fast-fashion market is a competitive environment, with retailers of all sizes vying for frequent customer and same-store sales of trendy, low-cost clothing and accessories.More

Wal-Mart sets up East Coast office in Atlanta
Reuters
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would manage nearly 1,600 stores in 20 eastern U.S. states from Atlanta, putting a closer focus on opportunities to grow its business in states such as New York.More

Rising gas prices eating into shopping budgets
Reuters via Yahoo News
Shoppers plan to wait until next year and beyond to spend generously again, a recent survey showed, in an early sign that rising gasoline prices could make the spring selling season tough for retailers. About three-quarters of Americans surveyed by America's Research Group said they were shopping less due to rising gas prices, with more than 62 percent of the participants planning to spend generously only next year or beyond.More