Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

from MediaFile:

Hey Woot, its Amazon. You’re rich.

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You gotta figure that every web entrepreneur waits (prays!) for a call or email that goes like this: "Hey dinky but popular outfit with a loyal customer base -- super-huge company here. We want to buy you and make you rich. Have a nice day."

Woot.com got a call like that from Jeff Bezos's Amazon.com. They announced the deal on Wednesday. It's speculated that Amazon paid about $110 million for the company that sells only one item per day at discounted prices, until inventory runs out. The next day, it moves on to another item such as you know, a water gun or a home pedicure kit.

woot shortAlready, Woot is playing a part in the e-book reader price war between Amazon and its Kindle, and Barnes & Noble and its Nook, by selling Kindles cheap. (But sorry,  It sold out before many of you woke up.)

The deal opens up a monstrous growth opportunity for the suburban Dallas outfit. But it doesn't appear to have taken the starch out of the company's irreverant CEO Matt Rutledge, who told employees that they should continue doing what they do best -- whatever that is.

Pampers to create designer diapers

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Photo courtesy of PRNewswire

Photo courtesy of PRNewswire

Following a trend made popular by teen shops H&M and Forever21, a Procter & Gamble brand is making the leap to disposable fashion.

Literally.

Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley will create a line of Pampers diapers for Target that will include madras, stripes and ruffles, P&G said Wednesday. The collection “delivers the perfect blend of utility and aesthetics,” according to the company.

Check Out Line: Beware the ides of rising costs for food companies

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gis1Check out fears of rising costs for U.S. food companies.

Rising commodity costs and promotional discounts are pressuring profit margins for food companies and analysts said more may be on the horizon.

General Mills, whose brands include Cheerios, Green Giant and Haagen-Dasz, said on Tuesday that the gross margin in its most recent quarter was flat, excluding higher ad costs and other items.

Check Out Line: Oops, Britney designed her first clothing line

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spears1Check out the latest celebrity designed clothing line.

Pop princess Britney Spears is launching her own fashion collection that targets the schoolgirl crowd. (Editor’s note: Can I say I am relieved my daughter is only 5 and unaware of this development?)

Spears, whom Forbes magazine once ranked the most powerful celebrity in the world and still ranks No. 6, has designed her first collection of clothing and accessories for Iconix Brand Group’s Candie’s brand, for which she has been the face the past three seasons.

Check Out Line: US online retailers dialing up mobile apps

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phone1Check out the increasing appetite for mobile applications among U.S. online retailers.

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of online retailers either already have or are developing a mobile strategy and one out of every five has a fully implemented mobile strategy already in place, according to a study from Forrester Research and Shop.org, the National Retail Federation’s digital division.

Check Out Line: Retail analysts mixed on industry outlook

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ABERCROMBIE&FITCH/Check out Wall Street analysts having mixed views about different areas of retail.

Eric Beder of Brean Murray, Carret & Co raised his rating on long-suffering Abercrombie & Fitch to Hold from Sell, noting that the stock is currently trading 2 percent below his previous price target. With investors now assuming weak same-store sales and inventory overhang, and with international growth somewhat lower than expected, Beder said the risk/reward potential has improved enough for him to raise his rating.

Check Out Line: Ron Burkle invests in yet another challenged company

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AmericanApparelCheck out Ron Burkle’s continued affinity for companies in trouble.

The supermarket magnate has taken a 6 percent stake in American Apparel, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday. That’s the billionaire’s latest investment in iconic companies that just can’t seem to get back on track. 

The apparel maker and retailer, founded and run by the colorful, often scandalous Dov Charney, came close to tripping a loan covenant with its creditors but reached a deal yesterday, averting disaster.

from Summit Notebook:

Check Out Line: World Cup boost to Europe sales peetering out

SOCCERCheck out how European retailers are a little downcast now about the "World Cup" effect.

France had a spectacular flameout, and Germany, Spain and England have been struggling, leading experts to tell the Reuters Global Retail Summit that they were less optimistic about the boost sales could get from the World Cup mania sweeping the Old Continent.

from Summit Notebook:

Old media still works for advertising- Newell Rubbermaid marketing chief

newspaperWho says advertising spending is heading in only direction: the net? A bunch of retailers such as Zales Jewelers and VF (they own The North Face, among other brands) have said in recent months they would focus some more on TV advertising. They're not the only fans of traditional media among consumer product companies.

The marketing chief of Newell Rubbermaid, the maker of  of Sharpies pens among other products, told the Reuters Global Retail Summit that TV is still the best medium.

from Summit Notebook:

Paint It Black with Bluefly’s CEO

PaynerMelissa Payner, the chief executive of online clothing retailer Bluefly, visited the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit on Wednesday to talk some shop. I was more interested in talking about her predilection for wearing, despite the azure tint of her company's name, nothing but black clothes. Here's what she said about that.

Everything in my closet is black. Every single thing. They're organized by shades of black. There are many shades of black. People sort of kid about that all the time, but no one more than my husband, who can't understand whenever I buy something new.

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