Quoted – A good fit in the market is key for clothes sellers

Closeup of a copper rivet on blue jeans.
Image via Wikipedia

What odds for survival would you have given the men’s store Mortar when it opened in March?

The store sells denim jeans from $189 to $330. Shirts are $100 to $220. The designer boutique is not on Post Oak Boulevard — it is in Montrose. And while the economy is picking up, the apparel retail industry is far from booming.

But for co-owners Iris Siff and Sacha Nelson, it’s a fine time to be in retail. They have already made plans to move their less than 3-month-old store at 1844 Westheimer to a nearby space almost three times the size.

If their initial solid business is an indication, the owners found a winning formula by focusing on upscale contemporary casual attire — they don’t sell suits — for men in their 30s and 40s while offering the same level of service one finds at a high-end store selling business clothes. Most of their lines are exclusives from emerging designers.

For a concept like Mortar to work, it does not have to reach large numbers of men, but it does need to convince its targeted shopper that what it offers is unique and relevant to his lifestyle, said Scott Testa, professor of business at Cabrini College near Philadelphia.

“If you can identify a really specific segment of the market and understand it and gain traction through word of mouth, you can explode,” Testa said. “As the saying goes, ‘There’s riches in niches.’”

For such businesses “there’s less price pressure because they’re looked upon as having things that are unique,” he said.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7027714.html

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Quoted – Fast Food Keeps Pushing Value Envelope

Taking the value menu down yet one more rung, Taco Bell has introduced a $2.00 combo meal featuring a taco or burrito, medium soft drink and a bag of Doritos. The move is seen as a direct strike at popular dollar menus at McDonald’s and other hamburger chains, where three items cost $3.

Commercials that began running Sunday even poke fun at the dollar menu. Taco Bell workers and customers are seen pondering how the chain can sell three items for $2, and assume one of the items must be “free.” The actors then argue about which item the freebie is.

Speaking to Walletpop.com, Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College, said fast food chains are using these deals as loss leaders and hoping consumers stock up on fuller-margin items.

“They get you in with the $2 promotion and while people are there they hope they will spend money on other areas such as some extra guacamole and up-sell them on those products,” he said.

http://www.retailwire.com/news/article.cfm/14514

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Quoted – Target making inroads into Walmart’s base, survey finds

Wal-Mart location in Moncton
Image via Wikipedia

Everyone loves to hate Walmart, and yet the Goliath has always been the undisputed retail leader with unbeatable prices and customer base. But could that be changing?

The other area where Target is scoring is store locations, said Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College.

“Walmart wants to be in the outskirts, where there’s not a huge population density,” Testa said in a phone interview. “Target is going where Walmart isn’t — more dense and urban locations.”

But Target still has a long way to go before it can surpass its towering opponent that offers eye-popping deals. For now it seems to be putting up a good fight.

http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/05/05/target-making-inroads-into-walmarts-base-survey-finds/

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Quoted – Point of Sale – Portfolio.com

NEW YORK - MAY 20:  In this photo illustration...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Many a retailer offer their own credit cards, hoping to lure in shoppers who may not be able to purchase in cash. But do the benefits of offering a dedicated line of credit outweigh the risks?

Go into the fitting room at a major retailer and you’ll see an ad for its own branded credit card touting benefits from cardholder special-savings days (like Tuesdays at the Gap)—promises of exclusive sales and discounts.

But with so many credit delinquencies and defaults hitting lenders, why would retailers want to expose themselves to that kind of risk? “Credit is a source of revenue,” says Scott Testa, a retail consultant and Professor of Business Administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. “And most chains outsource the actual processing to larger banks. Home Depot’s consumer card, for example, is managed by Citibank. In terms of exposure, depending on how the retailer structures the deal with the bank, the stores can be minimally exposed to risk.”

“If they’re outsourcing the operation to a bank, the costs are relatively low because a major lending facility will already have financing on a major scale in place,” Testa says. “If they decide to keep it in-house, companies need to account for computers, credit processing, customer-service professionals, mailings, and other miscellaneous office supplies.”

“Since banks have been dealing with so many losses on consumer cards, they might hold stores partially responsible for costs associated with loss, especially in the case of stolen and unauthorized credit use,” says Testa referring to what’s known as “charge backs” in the industry. If a store accepted a stolen card and has a signature on file for the transactions, the credit issuer can—and usually does—share the burden with the retailer.

The other elusive element is customer service. “Since this is a service that has to be managed, it’s important that the retailer aligns with a bank or credit agency that it trusts to accurately portray the store and its values in a positive way,” Testa adds. Agents must be knowledgeable about the products sold, reflect the service standard of the company they represent, and embody its core culture, experts say.

http://www.portfolio.com/resources/2010/04/08/the-value-of-store-branded-credit-cards

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Quoted – Consumers look to spice up home meals in the recession

This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NYC. Famous...
Image via Wikipedia

Consumers look to spice up home meals in the recession

The Spice House on North Wells Street hasn’t needed a special recipe to deal with the recession.

Traffic to the Illinois– and Wisconsin-based specialty spice store isn’t slowing, and sales are equally brisk among the business’s three main customer groups: restaurants, in-store and online.

On any given day, all six employees bustle about the shop, slowing only to offer guidance to customers filtering in and out.

In fact, nearly a dozen customers in the store one Tuesday morning say they had shopped there before. This loyal following may have prevented The Spice House from noticing any drop in sales, even as consumers tightened their budgets on other items.

“The high-end retailers, when it comes to food, have been weathering the storm well,” says Scott Testa, an economics professor at Cabrini College.

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=159006

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]