Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

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.

The juniors’ collection, called “Britney for Candie’s,” will be sold exclusively in Kohl’s stores starting July 1 to kick off the back-to-school shopping season. (Pencils, check. Backpack, check. Britney-designed little black dress, must have!)

“Designing was a really fun, new way for me to express my creativity and I really wanted to create something by me for my fans,” Spears said, adding the collection was inspired by her favorite music and movies.

Luxe CEOs bemoan encroachment of social media on privacy

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No one wants it broadcast to the world when one is submitting to the indignities of airport security screening.

But that’s just what happened to luxury designer Tory Burch awhile back, when a fan tweeted to thousands that Burch was barefoot at the airport.  The upside, Burch said, was that the tweet and subsequent discussion gave her the idea to create a travel sock for women.

This holiday’s shiny new toy: social media

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iphoneCompanies that cater to consumers are always chasing after the latest consumer technology trend (anyone remember Second Life?), and this holiday season that means following them into the world of social media.

Companies ranging from Wal-Mart and Panda Express to J.C. Penney and Target are experimenting with Facebook, TwitterYouTube or Flickr. Some are tweeting special coupons or limited-time deals, while others are doling out fashion advice or providing play-by-plays from product launch parties on Facebook. M.A.C. said it is using its Facebook page to feature artists, color collections, and what is happening backstage at fashion shows. 

Social Media for Business

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A new report by Inside Facebook discusses some best practices for retailers hoping to set up shop on the popular social networking site.

Some of the recommendations include letting users shop from within Facebook, including even the ability to share product information with friends.  Another suggestion is to have contests, giveaways and sweepstakes.

Cola truce? Coke and Pepsi trade niceties on Twitter

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Cola rivals Coke and Pepsi gave their long-standing feud a rest last week after a user-provoked experiment on Twitter prompted the two pop makers to trade friendly greetings on the popular social networking service.

Coca-Cola responded first to a clever user’s message suggesting that the two make nice on Twitter, offering “A gracious (yet competitive) hello” to Pepsi. In return, Pepsi extended a Twitter-style olive branch of sorts to its competitor: “Can rivals and tweeps coexist? We’re willing to find out. :)” Tweeps, for those unversed in the lingo, is a cutesy term for Twitter users.

Food sellers: I’m no Twit!

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grocerylist1Just when it seems like everyone is using Twitter, we learn that is not really the case. 

A panel discussion on Thursday at the CIES World Food Business Summit in New York featured four prominent industry leaders: Sara Lee CEO Brenda Barnes, Cargill CEO Greg Page, Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld and Jeff Noddle, executive chairman of grocery chain Supervalu. The conversation turned to how the panelists’ companies would stay relevant with the next generation of consumers.

Check Out Line: Signs of brighter days ahead?

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gaspumpCheck out hopeful signs that the recession may be abating.

While recent reports showed slumping sales at many big-box retailers, there are other signs that the economy may be bottoming.

U.S. retail sales rose in May and the number of workers who filed new applications for jobless benefits last week fell for the fourth straight week.

Live blog from the Wal-Mart investor meeting

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Reuters is filing live updates from the Wal-Mart annual meeting via Twitter. You can read the news inside the box below, or follow us on Twitter.

Check out video of Ben Stiller’s opening act, KISS star Gene Simmons, and more!

Slump means market share gains in E-commerce

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AMAZON/RESULTSWe know the U.S. recession is gloomy for retailers, online stores included, but at least a third of these e-commerce sellers say they’re taking greater market share amid the slump. 

That’s according to Shop.org and Forrester Research in a marketing study based on their annual State of Retailing Online report. Shop.org is a division of the National Retail Federation.

Check Out Line: Billions for bottlers

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PEPSIBOTTLING/Check out the multibillion bid for bottlers.

PepsiCo is offering about $6 billion to buy the shares it does not already own in its two largest bottlers, Pepsi Bottling Group and PepsiAmericas, to cut costs and secure control of its brands as growth switches to new noncarbonated drinks.

Pepsi‘s plan to consolidate its bottling business underlines an industry trend and would give it control of 80 percent of its North America beverage distribution volume.

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