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

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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

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Quoted – Amazon vs. Apple: Battle of the books – MSN

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Amazon vs. Apple: Battle of the books

With its new iPad, Apple is taking aim at Amazon’s core business and its Kindle book reader. Can the ‘e-tail’ pioneer keep up as books, music and movies go all-download?

Amazon.com has come out on top in the digital revolution that’s moving sales of books — as well as compact discs, DVDs and lots of other products — online.

But there’s a second digital uprising afoot, and some experts think Amazon won’t fare as well — and could lose a sizable chunk of its core bookselling business.

Any Amazon losses would likely be gains for Apple which could do to its “e-tail” rival what Amazon has been doing to brick-and-mortar competitors.

Apple’s chief weapon in this battle of online giants — the iPad — will be rolled out April 3, with preorders starting March 12. Among the many things people will be able to do with these flat touch-screen computers: download and read digital books from Apple’s new iBookstore.

One of the main reasons Apple dominates music is the popularity of its iPod players and its music-playing iPhone. Lots of companies make music players, but Apple dominates so thoroughly that “iPod” is nearly a generic term.

Though we won’t know for sure until it hits the market, with its smooth interface and bright color screen, the iPad seems sure to be a comfortable way to read books, believes Scott Testa, a professor of business administration at Cabrini College in the Philadelphia area and an avid Kindle user. “The iPad is going to blow the Kindle away as far as ease of use and the quality of the screen,” he says.

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Quoted – Smart Spending: How to Save on Valentine Flowers – ABC News

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Smart Spending: How to Save on Valentine Flowers – ABC News

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that prices of red roses increase right before Valentine’s Day. But Romeos on a budget don’t have to fall prey; they just need to act fast, now that Valentine’s is only three days away.

Ordering online from sites that work directly with growers is generally the best way to save on Valentine roses. You can get up to 30 percent off — and often get fresher flowers, says Scott Testa, assistant professor of business administration at Cabrini College, in Radnor, Pa. Just remember you’ll usually have to arrange them yourself.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wirestory?id=9807718&page=1

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Quoted – Cheap Reads: 6 Tips to Save on Books – SmartMoney

Buying a book at the suggested retail price might be a bigger mistake than judging it by its cover.

Flat sales, savvier readers and the emergence of new players in the retail and online marketplace are keeping the pressure on sellers to offer more books at a discount.

Book sales have held steady over the past year. Consumers spent roughly $2 billion on books in August 2009, about the same as August of last year, according to the National Retail Federation, which tracks sales.

Booksellers are also betting customers will buy more than one deeply discounted bestseller, says Scott Testa, an assistant professor of business administration at Calibri College in Radnor, Pa. “Retailers know consumers hate to pay for shipping,” he says. A customer who buys Amazon’s $9 copy of Dean Koontz’s “Breathless” might be tempted to spend another $16 on other items during that transaction to get free shipping on the whole order.

http://www.smartmoney.com/Spending/Deals/Cheap-Reads-Six-Tips-to-Save-on-Books/

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Quoted – Retailers Paying Customers to Bring Their Own Bags – CNBC

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Retailers Paying Customers to Bring Their Own Bags

Retailers are finding that the best way to get consumers to ditch plastic bags and go green is to give them money back.


Target and CVS are the latest retailers who are giving discount incentives to customers who bring in their own reusable bags instead of using the store’s plastic bags. The move establishes them as green companies in the mind of consumers and reduces pollution caused by plastic bags.

Although smaller retailers have offered incentives in the past, CVS/pharmacy (with about 7,000 stores) and Target (about 1,700 stores) are the largest to do so.

“The general public wouldn’t think of them as green companies,” said Dr. Scott Testa, a business professor at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. “If CVS can differentiate itself and be looked at as the ‘green’ drug store then conceivably they’ll gain more customers.”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/33430303

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