PRSM Weekly
Aug. 10, 2012

While other department stores struggle, Kohl's keeps growing
The Hartford Courant
With the dog days of August still looming, Joe Korb was in need of a pair of shorts. To find the ones he wanted, the 61-year-old truck driver knew exactly where to go: Kohl's in Rocky Hill, Conn. Kohl's Corp., a discount department store chain that operates more than 1,100 stores nationwide, plans to open 10 new stores this fall — three of which will welcome Connecticut shoppers in Berlin, New Milford and Killingly and bring about 375 jobs to the area.More

Walmart 1 MW wind turbine due this fall; Nevada's 1st wind power project online
Environmental Leader
Walmart says a 1 MW wind turbine pilot project, located at its distribution center in Red Bluff, Calif., should be operational by this fall and will provide about 15 to 20 percent of the distribution center's yearly electrical use. The retailer expects the GE wind turbine to produce about 2,200,000 kWh annually. More

Store closings are up compared to last year, but store openings are rising as well
Retail Traffic
In spite of landlords reporting improving leasing conditions in the retail sector, the number of announced store closings in the first half of this year increased almost 34 percent compared to the first half of 2011, to a total of 2,329, according to the most recent data from ICSC. Not to worry, though: Most of those store closings come as a result of retail companies right-sizing their portfolios and are complemented by a healthy amount of new openings, analysts and excess space specialists say. More

Recycling of LED lights
First used in 1968, LEDs are semiconductors which emit light via electroluminescence. LEDs are a common light source in many sectors and in recent years there has been a major shift toward the wholesale use of LEDs over conventional, incandescent light bulbs. This is beneficial to the environment, but there is still an important need to recycle these bulbs to ensure sustainable living.More

Survey: Consumers more willing to disclose data to retailers than social networks
Drug Store News
Consumers are more comfortable sharing data with retailers than they are with social networks, especially if it enhances the shopping experience, according to a recent survey conducted by the E-tailing Group and MyBuys. Examining the evolving relationship between consumers, retailers and social media, the companies surveyed 1,000 consumers online and determined that more than half are "mostly willing" to provide shopping preferences to trusted retailers in exchange for an enhanced shopping experience (55 percent), while 52 percent of consumers responded that they are "much more concerned" or "somewhat more concerned" about sharing the same data on social networks.More

Why shopping will never be the same — Digitial fitting rooms
USA Today
The Intel scientist has designed a high-tech mirror that shows how clothes look on a consumer who simply stands in front of an LCD monitor. Parametric technology simulates body type and how fabrics fit — based on weight, height and measurements. Think of it as a digital fitting room. The concept is three to five years from fruition but could open the door for Intel in the retail market.More

NRF initiative takes on challenges of mobile retailing
Retailing Today
The National Retail Federation, in partnership with its member companies, has launched a new initiative to address the challenges and opportunities of mobile retailing. The Integrated Mobile Initiative is being led by NRF's SVP communities and executive director of Vicki Cantrell, with cooperative support and involvement from an external task force of retail companies and solution providers. Additionally, the IMI aims to further strengthen NRF’s message that policies which hinder innovation will inhibit retail companies from catering to consumers all over the world. More

The Body Shop maintains its stellar environmental report card
T he Body Shop has long been a pioneering force in retail. Since the late Anita Roddick opened the first store 36 years ago in Brighton, England, the company has embodied environmental and social causes, from launching a window campaign to support Greenpeace's save the whales initiative to a global campaign against the media's focus on unrealistically thin models amid rising cases of eating disorders.More

Lowe's: Rona on right track with focus on smaller stores
The Globe and Mail
Lowe's intends to embrace rival Rona's blueprint for change – and improve on it – if the U.S. retail giant is successful in its $1.8-billion push to take over its Canadian retail competitor. More

Shopping center space in Europe to expand 25 percent in 2012
Chain Age Store
New shopping center development in Europe is expected to increase by a quarter in 2012 to meet retailer demand for modern, high quality retail space, according to the latest research by global property adviser CBRE. Turkey is the most active market, accounting for one-third of new space delivered in the first half of the year. This is some way ahead of Germany, with Italy and Poland just behind.More

Teach us, Trader Joe: Demanding socially responsible food
The Atlantic
The latter half of the 20th century witnessed a change in the concept of food: American consumers have come to expect a great deal more from their food system — from nutrition and taste to the water in which it once swam. Orange roughy, for instance, is currently an endangered species and also on the Greenpeace Red List for seafood to avoid consuming due to overfishing. Until recently, though, one could buy it for a modest price in any Trader Joe's grocery store.More

Analysts: Back-to-school sales in Canada to edge up 2.5 percent this year
The Canadian Press via Ottawa Citizen
With the start of classes mere weeks away, the scramble to stock up on everything from laptops to shoes is on. But analysts predict that back-to-school sales will grow only modestly this year compared to last, as consumer confidence remains low and Canadian retailers face growing competition from south of the border. Back-to-school spending is set to increase by 2.5 percent in Canada this year compared toMore

Online, in-store: Merge, retail, merge!
CNN Money
Everyone - from J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson to Barnes & Noble CEO William J. Lynch - wants to bridge the divide between online sales and in-store experience. They might use Saturdays Surf as an example. Saturdays is a surf shop without many surfboards in sight - they're often stashed in the Manhattan, N.Y. shop's basement.More

Microsoft holiday pop-up stores coming to New York City, San Francisco, Vancouver
Microsoft officials said earlier this summer that they planned to open a number of temporary "pop-up" holiday stores this year. At the time, they didn't specify where these stores would be. But now, thanks to new job postings on the Microsoft Retail Store Jobs site, locations of at least some of these pop-up shops have been revealed. More

Vann's appliance store files for bankruptcy
The Associated Press via Ventura County Star
Appliance and electronics retailer Vann's Inc. has filed for bankruptcy to give it time to reorganize its finances. Vann's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday after it lost a key credit line from GE Capital Solutions. More

Click — Buy: Canadians online retail purchases on the rise
There is good news for Canadian retailers that have invested in e-commerce websites: Online sales increased by 24.9 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to the first quarter sales of the previous year, according to the SpendingPlus report from MasterCard. Overall growth of retail sales in Canada was a modest 2.2 percent. More

Are retailer showrooms going extinct?
Best Buy has been struggling financially, and over at Slate Farhad Manjoo urges them to slim down their showrooms and go with a smaller store model: "If Best Buy wants to survive, it’s got to replace its hulking, teeming stores with smaller, less crowded, more intimate spaces. … " More

Starbucks and Square to team up
The New York Times
Cash moved one small step nearer to its deathbed with the announcement on Wednesday that Square, the mobile payments start-up, would form a partnership with the Starbucks Coffee Company. More