A petition to ban guns at Target stores has garnered thousands of signatures after recent open-carry demonstrations at the retail stores. [More]
Last summer, some of the country’s largest retailers reached a settlment with Visa and MasterCard that was supposed to put to rest qualms the businesses had with the credit card companies’ alleged practice of fee-fixing. The $7.2 billion settlement didn’t sit well with some, including Target and Macy’s, prompting a group of retailers to file a new lawsuit this week, effectively rejecting that previous agreement.
They’re making a list and checking it twice, and you’re about to find out who’s naughty and nice. Get it? Because Consumer Reports is coming to town? Or rather, it’s issued its annual list of the companies it considers to be bad little boys and girls and those who are to be held up as examples to the rest of’em. Let’s get to it [cue gleeful rubbing together of hands]! [More]
Usually when I’m caught commenting to a friend that “that shirt looks like my baby nephew threw up on it and then tossed glitter on it” by a store associate, I cringe. Because they work for that company and I just said something awful. But at some retailers, like Zara, sales associates actually take that kind of feedback to the powers that be so they can make clothing customers will want to buy. Fancy that. [More]
Zappos.com and its parent, Amazon.com, provide the best customer service, according to a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation Foundation and American Express. The survey polled 9,291 consumers, asking them: “Thinking of all the different retail formats (store, catalog, internet, or home shopping), which retailer delivers the best customer service?”
Next time a checkout clerk offers you an “opportunity” to sign up for a store credit card so that you can get an instant 10% discount on that pack of gum or box of tissues you’re buying, remember this: the price you’ll pay for that deal is an interest rate as high as 25%. And, yeah, you’re telling yourself that’s no big deal, since you’ll pay it off every month. But will you? And are you prepared for the other gotchas tied up in a bright ribbon by your friendly retailer?
When JCPenney killed off its traditional Big Book catalog last year, the result was a drop in sales on its website, says the retailer’s chairman. Based on that successful strategy–wait, what?–JCPenney says it’s killing off its remaining 12 specialty catalogs as well. Instead, it will start mailing out thinner “look books,” which will contain a subset of merchandise and no prices.
Alex and his wife bought into a Groupon offer for Gap, where you could buy $50 worth of merchandise for $25. Everything was going great until they ran into a manager at their local store who refused to even ring up the pants they’d chosen, saying anything already discounted wasn’t eligible for the offer.
Nick went shopping recently at Banana Republic and applied for a store credit card. Now he’s being called by a collections department and receiving contradictory stories about whether or not the retailer has his correct address on file.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a good bankruptcy rumor floating around. Jezebel says thong superstore American Apparel is just asking for it: “[The retailer] has experienced declining year-on-year same-store sales in every month for which the company has made records available since February, 2009.”
A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston says that credit card reward programs have a sneaky hidden cost that the card holder doesn’t have to bear. This occurs because the fee that a retailer pays to run a credit card varies with every card, and reward cards cost more to process–in other words, the card issuer passes the cost of the rewards program on to the retailer. The retailer adapts by raising prices across the board, which distributes the cost of the reward program among all shoppers.
Ultra-cheap discounter Dollar Tree has turned off the in-store music in all of its stores, citing cost issues. On the company’s Facebook page, shoppers keep complaining that the company is being too cheap (many don’t seem to know about licensing fees for music), but Dollar Tree’s official response is that it freed up expenses to keep prices low.
Now that Walmart has finally triumphed over Chicago, it’s setting its sites on the remaining urban markets that have so far resisted the retailer. The Washington Post says an unnamed source has told them that Walmart is in final negotiations with a plot of land “on New York Avenue NE near the intersection of Bladensburg Road.” The area currently houses an auto parts shop and a strip club, among other businesses.
In New York City, if you have a store with more than 4,000 square feet of retail space, or if you own a chain of at least five stores in the city, you’re required by law to keep your cool air inside where it belongs. That means none of this leaving the door open so your cool air will “lure in overheated customers,” reports WNYC. A city councilwoman says she hopes to conduct surveys this week to catch any retailers skirting the law. An employee at French Connection in SoHo said that her store is concerned about the energy crisis, so they only open one door instead of two these days.
Have you worked retail? You might be amused by a new book called Hello Do You Work Here?, a collection of illustrated true stories about crazy-making customers.
Last month, a business improvement group in Ardmore, PA issued $15,000 in local currency, which citizens bought at half the face value and which can be spent like real money in stores and restaurants in the downtown area. Strangely, despite the 50% savings promised only $2,900 of it has been spent so far, with thrift stores receiving more than any other type of business. The group is going to launch another money printing campaign in November to try to boost holiday sales, preferably of new things.
If you live in Iowa City, Iowa, you’ll soon be able to do your laundry at Kmart. I don’t get it either, but that’s what the retailer has announced. It will be testing a laundromat addition to one of its Kmart stores in the city, and has named it Kwash. I’m assuming you’re supposed to pronounce it K-Wash, but for the first five minutes I kept reading “quash” and wondering how in the hell that was supposed to make me think of clean clothes and cheap goods.