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Global Perspective - News Worth Sharing

  • It’s difficult to imagine that there wouldn’t be fashion consumers in China who care about protecting the environment—after all, its cities are choking in “red alert”-level pollution and contaminated water. But while there are some designers and organizations in China have have taken up the “green” cause by going to great lengths to source certified organic fabrics or striving for a “zero-waste” production process, the number of Chinese consumers willing to shell out the extra cost or abandon fashion trends for an eco-friendly cause is too few.

    Shanghai Fashion Week organizers attempted to remedy this last week with its first consumer-facing event in its 14 years of existence. Lane Crawford, Hong Kong-based environmental NGO Redress, Condé Nast Center, and other major players in China’s fashion scene gathered together October 12 to 16 to support GreenCode, a program complete with workshops, talks, a fashion show, and a pop-up shop that drew attention and discussion to sustainability, eco-friendliness, and related issues in the fashion industry. GreenCode is not the first large-scale B2C eco-fashion effort in China, as a number of luxury fashion companies, including Kering, have been doing eco-friendly CSR initiatives, and even fast-fashion giants like H&M have been heavily marketing their eco-conscious collections in the country.

    The highlight of GreenCode was a pop-up shop outside of Lane Crawford at Shanghai Times Square. (Courtesy Photo)

    The highlight of GreenCode was a pop-up shop outside of Lane Crawford at Shanghai Times Square. (Courtesy Photo)

    This time though, the tone felt colorful, cool, and hip, rather than the more typical attributes of an eco-conscious event. Instead of pushing any specific “green fashion” definitions on the public, the GreenCode organizers invited 18 stylish and youthful China-based brands that were loosely connected to the idea (or by more strict standards, not at all) to showcase their work in a four-day pop-up shop. In some cases, “green” meant simply having products with cute animals on them, while in other cases, it meant using recycled materials. On one end of the space, Fake Natoo designer Zhang Na told stories about upcycling used clothing in her Reclothing Bank project. On the other, “green” came in the form of clutches that were hand-painted, as opposed to being produced in a factory, in this case by New York-based Chinese designer Leaf Xia.

    Critics might interpret the vast range of brands as misleading marketing, much in the same way that companies use “greenwashing” to ride on the back of eco-friendly fashion trends in the United States. But eco-fashion is already a difficult term to define, and many organizations are still working toward doing so. For Candy Li, director of fashion management company HARDcANDY, which operates in London and Shanghai and curated the GreenCode designers, the variety of brands in the pop-up shop is the best way to speak to the open-minded, yet uninformed consumers in China who might only care mildly about eco-friendly initiatives in fashion.

    “We want to make things easy, fun, and interesting,” she said. “When we’ve talked about sustainability in the past, we’ve talked about it in negative terms, like ‘you can’t kill animals,’ and ‘it’s not good for the planet.’ This is a really important part of the discussion, but if you make it fun, the average person can get involved.”

    Li received her master’s degree in international fashion marketing in London, where she spent a year learning about eco-fashion and sustainability issues. She said that at first, the more she learned, the more she didn’t think that eco-fashion would work in China. And in a country whose e-commerce giant is Taobao, where consumers can get access to dirt-cheap garments that can be worn once before getting tossed, it’s hardly surprising. “But now, I think people are starting to change,” she said. “They care more about health food, they do a lot of sports, they work out. Their lifestyle is changing, so I think it’s time to increase more awareness about sustainable and eco-friendly fashion.”

    Candy Li (right) shows a shopper plant-based body care brand Eco & More. (Courtesy Photo)

    Candy Li (right) shows a shopper plant-based body care brand Eco & More. (Courtesy Photo)

    Those like Li recognize there is a long road ahead. Shopping habits motivated by anything other than recognizable luxury brand names has only recently begun to shift for the Chinese consumer. Completely open discussion of the environment is censored by the Chinese government—as recent as 2015, a documentary about pollution was blocked after going viral online. Even with the rising demand for organic food and healthy lifestyles, there’s a distinction between making purchases because of personal safety concerns versus buying a product on behalf of social issues that may feel further removed from one’s daily life.

    Still, Li is confident attitudes will change if people are given small and easy ways to participate in the “green” movement. GreenCode’s tent, which occupied a large part of the sidewalk on a busy street outside of Lane Crawford in Shanghai’s Times Square, was covered with simple tips for saving the environment, such as donating used clothing, or making a birthday gift for a friend instead buying a new product in the store. Passersby were also invited to drop off used clothing in a box run by Shanghai-based non-profit Green Initiatives. Li hired a GreenCode ambassador and fashion editor, Krystal Gao, to spread the word on social media.

    “Everybody loves to help, right?” Gao said when asked about the public’s response. “When they have extra clothes, but there is nowhere to drop them off, and there is a good way, why not?”

    Shanghai KOL Krystal Gao donates clothes at GreenCode to encourage her social media followers to do the same. (Courtesy Photo)

    Shanghai KOL Krystal Gao donates clothes at GreenCode to encourage her social media followers to do the same. (Courtesy Photo)

    Consumer participation certainly dwindles compared to the West, where eco-conscious culture and platforms like clothing recycling are much more mainstream. GreenCode’s drop-off box featured a portion of the wall beside it where people bringing unwanted garments could write what they wish would become of their donations. On the second day of the event, the space largely remained blank. Li said she is nonetheless happy. “Even if only one or two people participate, it’s enough.”

    One or two participants isn’t enough to sustain a year-round eco-friendly fashion effort commercially though, and Li said she’ll personally move on to other projects before possibly doing a second edition of GreenCode next year. Some of the designers whose collections were showcased might have the opportunity to be sold at Lane Crawford’s own month-long pop-up (but one that is unrelated to “green fashion”), and at the very least, were exposed to tips by the department store’s experienced buying team so that they can continue to put their causes to work in the commercial ecosystem.

    But GreenCode wasn’t the only eco-conscious fashion event at Shanghai Fashion Week this season. Coda Showroom, organized by Fan Yang, positions itself as a buyer shop that vets designers that, according to their website, have characteristics like “innovation,” “accessibility,” “playfulness,” and “concern for the environment.” Fan is also the founder of YCO Foundation, an online platform that connects more than 100 China-based independent designers with buyers and manufacturers, and provides members free guidance into the retail and production process. YCO has support from the Hangzhou government to give designers just starting out access to local resources, and in addition to the platform, YCO has an official WeChat account that features interviews with designers, as well as columns relating to sustainable fashion.

    Coda Showroom, which first launched in 2015, featured nine designers that Fan’s team felt best represented good design and are “dedicated to exploring new ways to be more respectful of and responsible to our planet.” One of these is ffiXXed Studios, whose collection is stocked at Lane Crawford and who won the Asian Sustainable Fashion Award last year. Others include Ejing Zhang, who worked with UK womenswear designer Xuzhi to use leftover fibers for her contemporary jewelry collection. Coda provides help with the sales and production process “so that they can really just focus on design,” Fan said. “We want to see more original design from Chinese designers.”

    Handbags by Hong Kong based accessories brand Matter Matters at Coda Showroom. (Courtesy Photo)

    Handbags by Hong Kong based luxury accessories brand Matter Matters at Coda Showroom. (Courtesy Photo)

    This is particularly important for brands Coda represents when it comes to eco-friendly fashion “because they’re young designers and brands, and it really makes an impact on the young consumers,” she said. “People like them, who actually invest money, effort, and resources to promote this idea, really help.”

    Fan said she thinks that while the “green” presence in China’s fashion scene is growing, there is a lot of room for improvement, citing other cities where showrooms devote entire sections to green initiatives. “I think in China, most of the general public is not aware of fashion being environmentally friendly,” she said. “At this stage, it’s definitely meaningful to have events like GreenCode. At least it has provoked its audience to think about eco-fashion. We are one step behind—people are not even aware of green fashion yet. In other words, green fashion does not motivate consumption.”

    However, it’s apparent at Shanghai Fashion Week that some high-end brands are seeing a demand from affluent Chinese consumers for quality and natural fabrics, even through platforms like Labelhood, Shanghai Fashion Week’s newest presentation option for emerging young designers. There, Woolmark teamed up with leading Chinese multi-brand boutique Dongliang Studios to select six designers, including Shushu/Tong, Babyghost, and Boundless, to create three to six looks that used its Cool Wool, a fabric the company markets as being versatile enough to wear in hot weather. Woolmark has long been working with Chinese designers to find innovative ways to use wool—Ban Xiaoxue, whose collections were on sale at GreenCode, received the International Woolmark Prize Asia Region award for 2012/2013—but recently has been stepping up its efforts in the country as it sees a huge potential for growth in the eco-conscious market.

    Former Woolmark Prize winner Ban Xiaoxue showcased his collection at GreenCode's pop-up shop. (Courtesy Photo)

    Former Woolmark Prize winner Ban Xiaoxue showcased his collection at GreenCode’s pop-up shop. (Courtesy Photo)

    “I’m positive that it all might evolve faster than we realize,” Fan said about green fashion in China. “If more and more designers want to tackle that area, it’s actually good for both the Earth and their own career.”

    Where GreenCode is all about making green fashion accessible and trendy for consumers who are only coming around to the idea, Fan’s approach is more about getting back to the basics.

    “If it’s good design, if it’s quality, and if you can feel the person behind it, then the consumers will of course cherish it and wear it more,” she said. “That is more environmentally friendly than anything else.”

    The post Eco-Fashion Gets Hip for China’s ‘Light Green’ Consumers appeared first on Jing Daily.

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is expanding its grocery delivery services, and curbside pickup and convenience stores are being planned nationwide. Competitors Walmart and Kroger have already taken similar steps. Grocery is the biggest category in consumer spending, and it is the next retail segment for the powerhouse to dominate following books, electronics and clothes.

    But the category of perishables marks new territory for Amazon, which The Motley Fool thinks could present a challenge and put a deep dent in short-term profits. Also, none of the advantages that Amazon currently has apply to AmazonFresh, which launched in 2007, or groceries. Grocery delivery is excluded from Amazon Prime because of the costs involved, and the company charges more than its competitors at $15 a month. For comparison, Instacart offers free two-hour delivery for a $149 yearly fee, 20 percent less than Amazon. Offering a wide range of niche products is not really advantageous in the case of eggs, flour or milk, but consumers do like to hand-pick produce to test it for ripeness, which is not an option when ordering online.

    The grocery sector is one segment where Walmart and Kroger have a leg-up on Amazon, having relied on brick-and-mortar infrastructure. Walmart has also been expanding its grocery pickup program and expects to have it available at more than 1,000 locations — 25 percent of its store base — by the end of 2017. Walmart already has parking lot space it can use for a pickup kiosk, while Amazon must find and convert real estate.

    Now, Amazon is experimenting, it seems, in a sector with narrow profit margins, and it has the luxury to do so. Kroger has a profit margin of less than 2 percent, not much for a $400 billion company like Amazon to get excited about, especially where there are significant upfront costs. What is Amazon up to?


    The Fast Pace Of Fast Delivery In Europe

    The food delivery business in Europe and the U.S. is as fast-moving as a New York restaurant at first turn, and the speed of the comings and goings is holding investor attention.

    An unlikely player in the food delivery business, although we all get hungry, is Square. But it has decided it wants out of food delivery; after all, its core talents are in payments and not pies or pizzas. Square is struggling to find a buyer for its spinoff, Caviar, despite talks with Uber, GrubHub and Yelp, according to Bloomberg. According to Business Insider, Caviar does not make a profit, and the extent of the losses is not shown in the company’s financials.

    In the U.S., Postmates raised $100 million in additional funding and has its eye on grabbing the extra on-demand meal delivery space as it expands. Postmates’ competitors include Sprig, which specializes in healthy food, DoorDash and, of course, UberEATS and AmazonFresh.

    According to Business Insider, Postmates was slow to raise its new round of financing, and DoorDash raised only a $600 million valuation. This was the same as its previous round, but the company had initially hoped for a $1 billion valuation. UberEATS and GrubHub, however, are growing. Uber is investing globally in UberEATS, and GrubHub’s stock price has increased by almost 65 percent so far in 2016.

    In Europe, Take Eat Easy folded after struggling to find investors, and the global heavyweights made their presence known as UberEATS launched in London back in June, while AmazonFresh jumped in to threaten U.K. supermarkets. The U.K.’s Deliveroo raised £250 million ($306 million) in funding, and Berlin-based Delivery Hero is rumored to be preparing for an IPO. City Pantry, a B2B company, raised over £1 million ($1.35 million) for its office catering business.

    Although there are clear winners and losers in the initial elbow-pushing, there is huge activity and interest. Morgan Stanley Research found that, as of 2015, approximately $210 billion worth of food is ordered for delivery or takeout annually. GrubHub/Seamless and Eat24 generated $2.6 billion between them, but there is still a huge market. So, is the outlook rosy for this sector?

    Well, everybody has to eat, and for most, it’s a pleasurable pastime. U.K. households spend 20 percent of their disposable income on food, and the industry is worth £150 billion ($184 billion) a year.

    Ask any family, and they can explain why food delivery is such a godsend, but we’re not just talking about fast food. Consumers want to be able to order healthy food, too. Fast food in a carton or a bag is OK, but heathy food in a box, such as that delivered by HelloFresh and Blue Apron, which requires assembly, is still a product that removes the problem of how to cook something healthy for dinner and when to find time to shop.

    But the companies themselves face the challenges of managing the logistics of a perishable product and managing a fleet of drivers that must meet promised delivery times. These are two very separate concerns that have challenged even the industry’s best players. UberEATS is gouging its bottom line and giving customers money off for late delivery. The winners will have to deliver food on time and negotiate the delivery aspect, too, with all its associated management and personnel problems.

    But the industry leaders are not diving for the finish line yet, and it is still anyone’s race. There will be new entrants and consolidation, and more established players will have the resources to expand their offering to cater to niche audiences and different dietary requirements.

    At this rate, and with consumers’ and investors’ growing appetites, neither food deliveries nor funding are going to come to a screeching halt.


    Look At China, For Example

    B2B food delivery to offices is a common sight in cities such as Dalian in China, according to Nikkei Asian Review. Food delivery app revenues in China are projected to reach 165 billion yuan ($24.5 million) this year, tripling in size in three years. is the top food delivery app. One man in his 20s, interviewed by Nikkei Asian Review said: “At work, I’d rather not bother to go out for lunch … I just want food that will fill me up.” And he means that; he sometimes orders three meals in one day.

    The Chinese food delivery app market expanded by 45 percent in 2015 and reached 125 billion yuan, while the number of users rose by almost 30 percent to more than 200 million. The market is forecast to reach 234 billion yuan in 2018 and to serve 346 million.’s app allows consumers to choose from around 600,000 restaurants in over 1,000 municipalities. Over 70 million users place 5 million orders a day, on average.

    But competition is fierce. Three players currently control 90 percent of the food delivery app market. There are few ways for businesses to differentiate themselves other than pricing, and the big players can afford to outprice their smaller rivals.


    Delivery Manpower Could Be Hard To Come By

    The big companies are baking a bigger pie and are not the only ones taking a bite. Food deliverers are seeing their wages go up as they become more in demand. In Singapore, Paul Lim, founder and president of industry body Supply Chain Asia, estimates that food delivery rider earnings have gone up by an average of 50 percent over the past two years, and the number of riders is going up by 15 percent a year.

    According to Ministry of Manpower figures, the gross wage of a delivery rider averaged $1,914 in June last year. Companies are extending their staff to meet demand. What To Eat has 30 full-time delivery staff and 50 freelancers, and the numbers of both types of workers have grown by 25 percent a month over the past year.

    But the labor pool is quickly evaporating with the surge in orders; firms are struggling to find staff and to cope during peak periods, like Chinese New Year. UberEATS, which launched in May, trebled its pool of drivers over the last eight weeks.

    Ang Hin Kee, NTUC assistant secretary-general, said that technology might come to the rescue of food delivery suppliers in the form of autonomous vehicles, and delivery drivers might be able to run autonomous fleets if they have access to employer or independent training.


    Kayak For Food

    Now, consumers can search and order faster using Bootler, the Kayak for food delivery. This startup is based in Chicago, and its users can view menus and compare prices among available restaurants.

    Bootler — think “butler” and “bootstrapping” — is a food delivery service engine based in Chicago. Bootler helps you get your food delivery quickly and for a lower price, according to Forbes, by functioning a lot like Expedia and Kayak when searching for flights. Bootler lets users view menus and compare restaurants. The Bootler software searches and filters providers, such as, DoorDash, Eaststreet, GrubHub and Postmates. Bootler also works with an on-demand delivery service called Saucey that will add alcohol to an order.

    The founder, Michael DiBenedetto, was frustrated after a brainstorming session when he realized his team had not eaten, and he peeled through various food websites. “After visiting several different websites, I wondered whether it would have been faster to just run out of the building and grab a bite to eat. I literally said, ‘There should be a search engine for all this stuff like there is for travel.’”

    Bootler has exceeded expectations, and according to DiBenedetto, Bootler also just launched an iOS app to complement its website and will have an Android version soon. Revenues come from a commission from the delivery service when orders are placed through the website. Bootler has raised $2 million in funding so far, and there may be another round next year. DiBenedetto said that the company plans to expand to other cities in 2017.


    Domino’s Pizza On Indian Trains … Are Those Olives Or Cockroaches?

    And the beauty and convenience of food delivery apps are delighting passengers on Indian trains who have long suffered terrible meals on long-distance journeys of 19 hours or more. At least now they can be a little more sure it’s olives they are eating.

    CTV News reported on new fast food services that passengers can order from a smartphone app. Domino’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken are replacing the former cuisine that the AFP reported had “cockroaches being found in dishes, and a leaked internal report said food was cooked in ‘dirty, smelly and waterlogged pantry cars.’”

    India is modernizing its national railways, which transport 23 million passengers a day. KFC and other major chains were asked to provide eCatering services that bring food to passengers at major stations if they have pre-ordered online or by phone.

    Next, base kitchens will be established in major stations where the food companies can prepare freshly cooked food for delivery on trains. Entrepreneurs are also trying to get in on the action. For example, Pushpinder Singh, who founded TravelKhana (Travel Food) with his wife in 2012, signs up individual restaurants close to stations on busy routes and provides a free delivery service.

    “There are around 5,000 long-distance trains with an average journey of around 770 kilometers [480 miles], but only 6 percent of them have a proper food service,” Singh told AFP. “This is the section we are targeting.”

    “On time” and “fast” have a whole different meaning for food deliverers on the Indian rail network because there are only a few minutes to locate customers before the train leaves the station.

    Well, for the driver who gets stuck in a congested carriage … at least there’s pizza.

  • Amazon, Flipkart are scouting for 600,00 sq.ft of warehousing space in Mumbai
  • The flash sale retailer is using Pitney Bowes’ Borderfree Retail platform to expand its international reach.
  • The online retailer is offering deals of up to 70% off for a Black Friday sneak peek before November even starts.
  • According to an annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, total Halloween spending is expected to grow by $1.5 billion to $8.4 billion in 2016, up from $6.9 billion in 2015, a record… Continue Reading
  • The French company SoCloz, which provides digitalization services to retailers through its SaaS software, today announced it launched a dedicated commercial team based in the United Kingdom. The solution is now available to British retailers looking to offer services such as click & collect and click & reserve.

  • Well, whether Macy’s decision to open its doors at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving this year is “in” or “out” depends on your plans for Thanksgiving day. More turkey or shopping? Mall with mobile or another glass of wine and the desktop? Suffice to say that the retailer is hoping shoppers will choose the mall with a mobile and wants to get ahead of the game. While many retailers plan to keep their doors firmly closed on Thanksgiving, Macy’s is opening them one hour earlier than last year, according to USA Today.

    In early October, the Mall of America, the nation’s largest shopping mall, announced it would close on Thanksgiving. But this deliberation is an ancient one. Last month, Staples announced that it would close on Thanksgiving day for the second year, while, last year, REI touted its decision to close on both Thanksgiving day and Black Friday.

    “We’re a different kind of company, and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently,” REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke said in a YouTube post. “We’re choosing to opt outside and want you to come with us.” The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Nordstrom and GameStop have all announced plans to close on Thanksgiving day this year, as have other big names, such as Costco, Sam’s Club and Petco — to name but a few.

    In 2014, according to a Time report, Macy’s planned to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, two hours earlier than the previous year, and Kohl’s and Sears quickly announced that they, too, would open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. When Macy’s announced that year that it would open at 6 p.m., JCPenney announced it would open its doors at 5 p.m.

    On Monday, Macy’s told Associated Press that Macy’s stores would open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and most locations would close at 2 a.m. and then reopen at 5 a.m. on Friday.

    A retail analyst for The NPD Group, Marshal Cohen, doubts that there will be a surfeit of stores closed on Thanksgiving and that many will follow Macy’s lead. “I think some stores may realize that it may be an expense they may not want to have, but they’re also afraid to not do it.”

    So, because there can be no agreement on Macy’s decision and whether or not stores should open or close, let’s turn to the “outs” first.


    Pier 1’s Board Given 12 Lashings

    First, Pier 1’s biggest investor is cheesed off, to say the least, and is demanding changes on the company’s board. Pier 1 has seen earnings dive by 45 percent between fiscal years 2013 and 2014, although there was a small increase in the retailer’s revenues. In a letter to Terry London, chairman of Pier 1’s board, Alden Global Capital had harsh words, saying that London and the board “cannot be trusted to protect the best interest of Pier 1 shareholders.”

    The letter went on to state: “The board has not only destroyed significant shareholder value but has presided over an extended period of poor stock price performance, poor operating performance and a substantial deterioration in EBITDA margins.”

    Alden directly blamed London and Alex W. Smith, president and CEO, claiming that, since London’s appointment as Pier 1’s chairman in 2013, the company’s stock has dropped by 75 percent from around $16 to $4, while London has amassed $1 million in board fees. “Under your leadership, the board has failed to protect the best interests of shareholders and, instead, has demonstrated a clear inability to make intelligent compensation decisions and work with management to implement effective capital allocation strategies,” wrote Alden.

    According to Alden, Smith has been paid over $70 million since he took over as CEO in 2006, and he stands to receive 741,000 shares when he steps down at the end of the year based on performance targets that were not achieved. Let’s just say that his holiday celebrations came and went early, and he is definitely on the “out.”


    McDonald’s And Chipotle Old News?

    McDonald’s, too, is on the outs this week. Despite the company’s All Day Breakfast and McPick 2 promotions, a survey by Nomura estimated that growth in same-store sales was less than a half of a percent in the third quarter. Last quarter, McDonald’s shares dropped after same-stores sales growth in the U.S. fell short of estimates. Franchisees expect same-store sales to decline by 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, according to CNBC.

    And the outs also apply to Chipotle Mexican Grill. According to Nomura Analyst Mark Kalinowski: “The company’s third-quarter promotions do not appear to have had the fully desired effects from the company’s perspective,” Kalinowski said, lowering his forecasts for the company and estimating same-store sales to be down 19.5 percent for the quarter.

    Chipotle’s same-store sales took a nosedive by almost 30 percent in the first quarter, Chipotle’s first quarterly loss as a public company. Chipotle realized a profit in the second quarter, but same-store sales declined over 26 percent. Third-quarter earnings will be released on Oct. 25.

    Chipotle had introduced a temporary loyalty program and free food and last week announced $3 burritos, bowls, salads and tacos on Halloween to costume-bedecked customers in efforts to attract foot traffic, but all in vain it seems.


    Shake Shack Thinks Of Everything

    Now, for the more positive news. Decidedly “in” this week is Shake Shack. The firm is eagerly embracing the mobile movement and has introduced a mobile app ordering platform, according to Chain Store Age. Using Apple’s iOS platform, guests place orders through their smartphones and pick up at its “Midtown East Shack” in New York City. So far, only one pickup location is active. The chain is spacing pickup times 15 minutes apart — a smart move that should speed things up for consumers who won’t have to wait in frustratingly slow-moving lines.

    “We’re meeting people where they are and giving our guests a whole new way to experience Shake Shack,” said Randy Garutti, Shake Shack’s CEO. “We’ve got a lot to learn. We intend to take our time listening to our guests and tweaking the app before launching it in additional markets.”

    The app shows menu favorites, a location finder, nutritional information and previous orders. But perhaps the best part is it tells consumers when traffic might be heavy so that they can choose the best pickup time. Did it really think of everything?


    Supply Chain Canny

    Walgreens, too, is definitely “in” … and up. Upping its supply chain logistics, that is, according to MarketWatch. The company is working to get products into the hands of customers faster and has initiated a ship-to-store program that will ship goods ordered on its website and mobile app, for free, to a Walgreens or Duane Reade store with no minimum purchase.

    Joe Hartsig, Walgreens’ senior VP of merchandising, explained that goods not typically found in stores can be ordered online and shipped to a consumer’s local store. “With ship-to-store, customers have the ability to ship orders to their preferred Walgreens store if their residence or workplace isn’t a secure option.” Delivery time is three business days, and customers are notified by email once an order is ready for pickup. Not only that, but Walgreens digital coupons, Balance Rewards and digital promotions can be applied to online orders before checking out. Shipping of over $35 will continue to be free.

    According to MarketWatch, shares were down Monday (Oct. 17) 0.3 percent and down 8.4 percent for the year so far.


    Rewards, Rewards, My Kingdom For Rewards

    TJX, too, is “in” and is upping its loyalty programs, a powerful incentive for shoppers, according to Chain Store Age. TJX Companies is renewing its existing program and has announced a multi-year renewal of its partnership with Synchrony. This will give the firm financing for its five-year-old Rewards Credit Card program.

    Currently, cardholders earn rewards at any of TJX’s four U.S. retail chains — T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post — and online. Meanwhile, TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard users also earn points on purchases made anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Loyalty rewards can be accessed on smart devices using an app.


    And The Winner Is…

    But the “in of the week” is Vera Bradley, the stalwart handbag maker. The company had the mettle to come clean and announce last Wednesday (Oct. 12) that it had been breached and hackers may have accessed customer data from payment processing systems.

    That’s a breath of fresh air at a time when many businesses — Yahoo, for example — are delaying or not reporting announcements of data breaches.

    Between July 25 and Sept. 23 of this year, hackers may have obtained cardholders’ names, card numbers, expiration dates and internal verifications. “Findings from the investigation show unauthorized access to Vera Bradley’s payment processing system and the installation of a program that looked for payment card data,” wrote the company in a statement.

    Although the timing just ahead of the holiday season could have been better, the company has time to recover, and the public will appreciate its transparent approach. The company assured shoppers, saying that it had stopped the incident and that it continues “to work with [a] computer security firm to further strengthen the security of our systems to help prevent this from happening again.”


  • The Romanian online fashion retailer FashionUP has taken over Click4Fashion, which is active in Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Hungary. With the acquisition, FashionUP wants to further expand its business operations in the region. The value of the transaction wasn’t disclosed.

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They just don’t focus on the right things. Global RFPs are successful when they shine a bright light on the strategic vision and local knowledge of the vendor. The GRIN will help you perfect your RFP process.

Business Plans

Throw them out right now. Develop an iterative business model when first going global. It’s the only way to stay in the game. At the GRIN we create programs to make your business part of a useful, living plan – not a dead and irrelevant piece of paper.


The best vendor knowledge is often locked in a vault. The GRIN lets vendors showcase their unique strengths and expertise. Retailers have the opportunity to engage directly with those experts which accelerates the path towards true partnership.


All successful cross-border retailers have a culture of open collaboration and innovation. The GRIN will help you grow the massive global engine of creativity at your company.


Top retailers we have met with identify localization as their greatest global challenge. The GRIN has an easy fix - learn from others how they tackle this issue and then develop your own process around localization.