Category ArchiveShopping

Food & Shopping 13 Sep 2011 08:50 am

Free Money from Whole Foods

Whole Foods
Whole Foods, the organic grocer, teamed up with Living Social in a nationwide campaign. Giving away $10 per customer is one way to get people into a store nicknamed “Whole Paycheck.”

The deal is scheduled to run on Tuesday and is available to existing LivingSocial subscribers and anyone who registers for the service.

LivingSocial has agreed a cap of one million vouchers. Once purchased, buyers use a code to convert the voucher into a gift card in Whole Foods stores.

The daily deal business has grown into a multibillion dollar a year industry since Groupon started in late 2008. The two sector leaders have been expanding into different categories as they prepare for big initial public offerings, possibly later this year.

Shopping 11 Jan 2007 04:15 am

Gap Execs Go Bye-Bye

Gap sweatshirt logo

In a follow up to the post on The Gap’s (GPS) troubles the retailer announced some personnel changes:

Gap announced the departure of Denise Johnston, the president of Gap Adult who joined the company in April, and Ivy Ross, executive vice president of product design for the Old Navy chain. Searches for their replacements are being conducted, the company said.

The company also named Karyn Hillman, formerly of the company’s Banana Republic chain, as senior vice president of merchandising for Gap Adult.

CEO Paul Pressler still has his job. That must burn Investor Trip’s TJP.


Private Equity & Shopping 10 Jan 2007 05:40 am

Could Private Equity Save The Gap?

Gap logo

The way things are going any distressed company is rumored to be in the sights of a private equity firm. They’re buying things left and right why not The Gap (GPS), a clothing chain that’s a staple to America’s malls? The AP’s Michael Liedtke writes the company “generates lots of cash and retains a well-known brand.” Plus, a buyout firm could make some bucks splitting off Old Navy or Banana Republic. Liedtke points out private equity likes retail with Neiman Marcus and Toys “R” Us in firms’ hands.

The New York Times‘ DealBook reports doubt over a buyout. One reason being The Gap doesn’t have the real estate that could be sold to pay for the buyout.

Private equity isn’t the only money around. Ryan Donnell guesting at Investor Trip considers Limited Brands (LTD), owner of Victoria’s Secret, and VF Corp. (VFC) as possible buyers.

Financially The Gap is hurting. Off of poor Christmas sales its bonds have dropped to junk status. Texas Pacific, have any money left? Like khakis and t-shirts?


Shopping 04 Jan 2007 08:25 pm’s 30-Day Price Guarantee

"Where's my refund?" picture has a price guarantee policy. I bet you didn’t know that. Buy something on (AMZN), say a spiffy new MacBook or Vaio, then pay attention to the store’s price for the next 30 days. If it goes down in that time ask for the difference. will even track price changes for you. The policy saves them and you the trouble of packing and processing everything to send back to them while not ticking off their customers. It’s been a secret, but won’t be much longer now that mainstream websites like Slate inform the masses. As word gets out and more customers take advantage of the policy I wonder if will be less prone to change prices in a 30-day period? That all depends on how cumbersome the refund process is, which would discourage people from using it, how badly the company’s margins are squeezed, how much of a possible public backlash they’re willing to endure, and how much price competition effects them.

What isn’t a secret (other than being the parent) is the price policy of,’s new shoes and handbags store. If a customer finds a lower price either at or anywhere else on the net in 14 days after their purchase they’ll get 110% refund of the difference. They also offer free overnight shipping.

In other news they’ve gone into the answer service with (here are some answers for what software to use to go beyond Microsoft Paint).


Investing & Private Equity & Shopping 04 Jan 2007 07:29 am

Quick Links: 01-04-2007

  • Retail sales numbers started coming in. Christmas shoppers liked the sales which disappointing stores.
  • Toys R Us had a good 2006 making their private equity overlords happy as well as corporate bond traders.
  • Big web players like Google and Yahoo are petitioning the SEC to prevent the NYSE from charging them for real-time stock quote data. Like it’s that important for average investors. What day trader is using Yahoo Finance as their primary info source? A losing one.

Shopping 29 Dec 2006 07:00 pm

Online Sales Grow this Christmas

"Online Sales Up" with snowman

Lots of people this Christmas shopped with their mice boosting online sales:

Online retailers rang up $23.11 billion in holiday sales so far this year, a 26 percent increase over 2005, according to data released Thursday by comScore Networks.

U.S. Web spending during the work week before Christmas grew 38 percent to $2.25 billion from last year. Holiday shopping as measured by the Reston, Va.-based research group doesn’t include travel, auctions, or large corporate purchases.

The brisk last-minute gift business prompted comScore to raise its forecast for the full year by $100 million to $24.7 billion, 26 percent above 2005. (AMZN) was the big winner. But Chris at the Varien eCommerce Blog notes, “brick-and-mortars are making a strong charge” with Wal-Mart’s, Ticketmaster’s, and Best Buy’s online divisions growing 50%.’s biggest sellers included iPods, Jim Collins’ business bestseller Good to Great, Senseo Douwe Egberts Dark Roast Coffee Pods, and Levi’s 501 jeans.

Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s chairman, said, “Consumers making purchases in those final days expressed both their faith in retailers ability to pick and pack their orders in a timely fashion and shippers ability to drop them on recipients doorsteps in time for Christmas.” Not in all cases. lost one customer for not shipping gifts in time. The good news about Christmas sales won’t help’s stock price for 2006.


Ecommerce & Shopping 27 Dec 2006 10:58 pm

iTunes Store Hit with Post-Christmas Rush

iTunes gift card

The theoretical beauty of an online store is you don’t have to worry about crowds getting in the way. People come with a click of the mouse, with a few more clicks and a credit card they purchase some bits, then wander off to enjoy their purchase. That’s the theory of friction-free shopping. In the real world a popular thing–you know, made of atoms–like the iPod can cause a mighty tech company to shudder under the strain:

Swarms of online shoppers armed with new iPods and iTunes gift cards apparently overwhelmed the Apple’s iTunes music store over the holiday, prompting error messages and slowdowns of 20 minutes or more for downloads of a single song.

Frazzled users began posting urgent help messages Monday and Tuesday on Apple’s technical forum for iTunes, complaining they were either not allowed into the store or were told the system couldn’t process their request to download songs and videos.

It was not immediately clear how many people were affected by the slowdowns, and Apple Computer Inc. would not immediately comment Wednesday on what caused the slowdown and whether it had been fixed.

Blame the schools for being so generous as to give kids a Christmas vacation and parents who didn’t think it was all-important to shop the day after Christmas.

Popularity that leads to increased revenues is good. Being popular with federal prosecutors isn’t good.


Shopping 26 Dec 2006 03:27 pm

Post-Christmas Appraisal

Christmas shopping

Visa is disappointed with Christmas shopping numbers. They failed to meet even their reduced expectations:

Nevertheless, holiday spending is on track to post an increase of about 6.5%, Best said. That’s even weaker than [Visa USA's chief economist, Wayne] Best had suspected earlier this month, when Visa said holiday sales would likely fall short of its original projection for a 7.5% gain. Holiday sales had increased 8.3% a year earlier, according to Visa’s data, which tracks purchases made with its credit cards – roughly 17 cents out of every dollar spent in the U.S.

The big items were personal electronics, small home furnishings, and appliances.

Frank Barnako reports had its best Christmas ever with lots of iPods going out to customers.

For retails the season isn’t over yet. Until the kids go back to school they will be going to the stores to spend their gift cards while mom and dad bring back returns. Although those returns may be tougher to come by.


Shopping 13 Dec 2006 02:12 pm

Must Love Dogs

Dog or child? Dog or child? Dogs are Man’s best friend. They can be faithful companions. Children on the other hand smell, make messes, are loud, can be demanding, cost you an arm and a leg to send them to college, and can give you a nervous breakdown for their outrageous exploits. Still, most people, when out for a quick trip to Neiman Marcus, would choose to take the kid with them into the store. Not this Arizona woman:

Gardenia Zakrzewski-Johansson was arrested in the mall parking lot outside Neiman Marcus after valets watched her walk into the store with a small dog under her arm, directing them to watch her car with the child inside.

“I’ll be quick, don’t tell anybody,” Zakrzewski told one of the valets before going into the store for nearly 30 minutes, according to the police report.

The woman’s excuse: the valets were suppose to watch the kid. Next time, get a babysitter. You shop at Neiman Marcus. You can afford it.


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Economy & Shopping 12 Dec 2006 07:38 am

Researcher Sees Fewer People in Stores

One retail researcher sees a lackluster Christmas shopping season:

Spot checks at shopping centers throughout the last week found foot traffic lackluster by several holiday-shopping-period comparative measures. Britt Beemer, founder of America’s Research Group, was so worried that he lowered his sales-growth estimate to 2.7% from 3.1%.

“The lack of a ‘must-have’ item for Christmas and the lackluster way retailers have approached the Christmas season this year compels me,” Beemer said.

It is only the fourth time in his 20 years of forecasting that he’s trimmed his holiday forecast.

“Shoppers are just not seeing the excitement at the stores,” he added.

Or they might be playing a particularly hard-nosed game of chicken with retailers during the most crucial shopping period. Many retailers ring up 40% to 60% of their annual profit during the November-December period, with some reaping as much as 80%.

Along with no “must-have” item (funny, HD TVs did well on Black Friday) Beemer’s survey found shoppers were disappointed in the lack of store help.

If shoppers wait to buy retailers might have to really slash prices to draw them in. That would cut their margins, hurting profits. Not good for retail stocks. A recent trend that’s helped retailers has been the rise of gift cards. It’s extended the shopping season from shortly after Christmas through the time kids, who get the cards, head back to school. Just make sure you don’t get scammed.


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