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News Briefs

  • 8/20/2023

    Vera Wang relocates its NYC headquarters


    The design house renowned for its elegant and pricey wedding gowns has moved to a swankier section of New York City.

    Vera Wang, whose headquarters for years resided on the north border of Madison Square Park, a few blocks up from the Flatiron Building, has relocated to 500 Park Avenue in Manhattan’s Plaza District--two blocks from Central Park.

    The brand will occupy a 26,708-sq.-ft. space that takes up the entire 7th floor of the former Pepsi-Cola  Building where Frato, a luxury furniture and interior accessories retailer, keeps its flagship showroom.

    Vera Wang joins a roster of office tenants that happens to include premier-property retail real estate companies Friedland Properties and the Georgetown Company, the developer of Easton Town Center in Columbus.

    The new location is surrounded by numerous restaurants, retail outlets, and cultural attractions and is close by the stop for the 4, 5, and 6 subway lines.

    JLL vice chairmen Cynthia Wasserberger and Frank Doyle represented 500 Park’s ownership in the lease. Vera Wang was represented by Savills.

    “As a boutique, high-touch asset, 500 Park Ave. remains one of the Plaza District’s statement properties,” said Wasserberger. “Its elegant and modernist design appealed to the tenant and the oversized windows hovering above Park Avenue allow for a light-filled working experience that complements the Vera Wang showroom design.”

  • 8/16/2023

    Downtown pedestrian traffic rose for the sixth straight month in July


    Pedestrian traffic in American downtowns this July was 1.8% points higher than it was in June.  It’s the sixth consecutive month-over-month increase, though the smallest of the year so far, according to Springboard’s Downtown Pedestrian Traffic Report.

    Big traffic declines took place on weekends (4.1% lower than in July) when city visits tend to be leisure-based and not work-related. Hot weather and thunderstorms in many markets likely stanched the flow, noted Springboard, a provider of insights on brick-and-mortar retail activity.

    Between Monday and Friday, pedestrian traffic was 2.3% higher than it was in June and more than 5% higher than in June 2022.

    Though July’s month-to-month traffic increase was modest at under two percentage points, its annual rise of 3.2% continued an upward post-pandemic traffic trajectory.

    One notable exception occurred in the nation’s biggest downtown—New York City.

    Pedestrian traffic there declined for the second straight month to 0.3% below June. Its weekend crowds dropped by 4.5%.

  • 8/16/2023

    Design Within Reach expands its national presence in Northeast

    MillerKnoll’s Design Within Reach opens its 36th store in Philadelphia.

    Design Within Reach (DWR) opened the doors to its 36th location this week in the City of Brotherly Love. 

    The home decor retailer’s newest location opened on August 14 in Philadelphia’s Ardmore neighborhood. Ardmore is located in Philadelphia’s Suburban Square shopping district in the city’s storied Main Line region. The 4,200-sq.-ft. store, which is situated in a building built in the mid-20th century, features original stone exterior, and is flooded with natural light from windows lining the perimeter of the space. 

    A wide assortment of modern furniture and accessories are displayed in various room vignettes. Each section is designed to create a layered, aesthetically diverse residential environment that evolves as shoppers move throughout the space. The displays, which feature Postmodern, Bauhaus Industrial and Modern Pastoral-inspired themes, enable customers to easily visualize how pieces could fit into their personal spaces.

    “Philadelphia is a dynamic city with a flourishing art and design community, and we are excited to bring DWR’s unparalleled offerings to the market,” said Debbie Propst, president of global retail for MillerKnoll, parent company of Design Within Reach. “When you pair our thoughtfully curated assortment with the expertise and high-quality complimentary design services from our account executives, the shopping experience at DWR Ardmore is truly unmatched.”

    Design Within Reach, which was founded in 1998, is an omnichannel retailer. The company joined The MillerKnoll collective — a portfolio of 15 home decor and furnishings brands — in 2015. 

  • 8/15/2023

    Circana: General merchandise spending — in dollars and units — down in July, August

    Many consumers are waiting for sales to begin before they start their back-to-school shopping.

    Retailers can expect a delayed back-to-school shopping season as shifts in consumer spending are affecting what, when and if consumers make purchases.

    Discretionary general merchandise spending continued to decline in July, with a 4% drop in dollar sales and a 7% drop in unit sales compared to the year-ago period, according to Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group. The declines continued into the first week of August, with another 5% year-over-year decline in sales revenue and an 8% drop in unit sales. 

    Overall retail sales revenue increased 2% compared to the same month last year. Unit sales declined 2%. Circana noted that the impact of elevated prices on demand was evident in CPG, with unit sales in July falling 1% and 3% respectively across edible and non-edible segments.

    The established shifts in consumer spending behavior are resulting in a delayed start to the back-to-school shopping season, according to Circana.  The first week of August is traditionally a peak back-to-school shopping week. But this year, BTS general merchandise sales revenue slipped, falling below last year and pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

    “Consumers are holding off on making some of their purchases, which will cause more of the back-to-school retail sales to occur after the traditional shopping period,”  noted Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for Circana.

    Back-to-school shopping isn’t absent, he added, but the season will be late, with more sales hitting in late August, September, and even October.

    “Retailers and manufacturers need to find the trigger points that will motivate the consumer to start to spend, despite reprioritization and the various economic challenges they are facing,” said Cohen.



  • 8/15/2023

    Convenience-store retailers report higher sales year-to-date

    The nation’s C-store industry is heading into the last five months of the year with momentum.  

    Two in three convenience-store retailers (66%) report that their sales for the first seven months are higher than over the same period last year, according to a new survey released by NACS. Only 12% say sales are lower so far this year. 

    NACS’ CSX database of industry metrics shows similarly positive numbers. Through the first six months of 2023, in-store sales were up 9.4% compared to the same period in 2022.

    Retailers are bullish about the convenience channel’s sales for the rest of 2023. One-third of all convenience retailers said that convenience stores were the best positioned of six channels for success over the rest of 2023, followed by online retailers (32%) and dollar stores (14%).

    As to top industry concerns, the labor shortage remains top of mind. Nearly half of all retailers (44%) listed it as their top concern, followed by inflation, credit card swipe fees, government regulation, shoplifting and organized retail theft.

    With locations in every community in the country, convenience stores contribute more than $1 billion a year to charitable causes that enhance their communities. Preventing underage access to age-restricted products, the core deliverable of the NACS TruAge  program, was cited as the top (56%) community issue for the industry to address.

    The other top issues were wellness/nutrition (48%) and human trafficking (38%). 

    The NACS Member Survey was conducted by NACS Research and was closed on August 4. A total of 170 retailer member companies participated in the survey. NACS Research conducts quarterly custom research with retailer members to identify key priorities and opportunities across the convenience and fuel retail landscape. 

  • 8/15/2023

    Macy’s taps former McKinsey & Co. exec as chief customer and digital officer

    A 20-year McKinsey veteran is joining the c-suite at Macy’s Inc.

    The department store company named Massimo (Max) Magni as chief customer and digital officer, effective August 21.He will report to Tony Spring, president and CEO-elect, Macy’s Inc. (Spring will take the reins from Jeff Gennette, who is retiring in February 2024.)

     Magni is 20-year veteran of McKinsey & Company, where he was most recently a senior partner co-leading McKinsey’s NeXT Commerce and the global leader of the Consumer Growth Practices,  helping clients develop customer-centric and data-driven initiatives to drive profitable and sustainable growth.

    In his new role, Max will guide the strategic long-term vision and growth of Macy’s Inc.’s digital business for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s divisions.The business will be aligned on customer-centric strategies that leverage data and analytics to enhance the consumer journey across various touchpoints, which include the e-commerce sites, mobile apps, loyalty, gift registry programs and marketplace formats, the company said. 

    “He [Magni] brings to the team an innovative, customer-led mindset that will help advance our digital business and strengthen our customer relationships,” said Spring. “His passion for and experience with portfolio optimization, e-commerce and digital analytics transformation makes him a great fit for the organization.”

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