Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Video – Luxury retail to take permanent hit

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Unlike other economic downturns luxury retailers are also taking a hit along with the trest of the industry.

Luxury retail consultant and president of Unity Marketing, Pam Danziger, says retailers have to be willing to make tough choices and clearly align themselves with the needs of the customer without just paying lip service.

Speaker: Pam Danziger President Unity Marketing Presenter: Jeanne Yurman New York

AT&T: Netbooks key to expansion beyond cellphones?

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AT&T says it sees a lot of promise for the netbook and the connection fees that come with the devices as a growing source of revenue as consumers look to take broadband connectivity on the road. But will consumers be as enthusiatic to sign another contract for the service? Click below to hear AT&T’s President of Mobile & Consumer Markets talk about what he sees as the future of the netbook.

AT&T: Netbook popularity on the rise from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

Mexican retailer Soriana bets for brighter 2010

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 High unemployment rates, declining remittances from Mexicans living abroad, an economic slowdown and contracting consumption is not boding well for Mexican retailers. This year is no exception as the country’s leading supermarket chains struggle to keep customers happy, offering anything from stamps to buy German cuttlery sets to cooking classes for housewives pulling their hair wondering what to prepare for lunch next. 
    Monterrey-based Soriana, Mexico’s No. 2 retailer, knows a thing or two about sailing in choppy waters. After an ambitious acquisition of 200 stores from a smaller rival in 2007, which boosted its presence across the country, the company faced tight liquidity to meet debt payments last year.
    But Soriana has moved fast to cut costs and lighten the weight to face more hard times in 2009. Chief Financial Officer Aurelio Adan told the Reuters Latin American Investment Summit that Soriana’s same-store sales will be flat this year but it will generate enough cash flow to cut its debt by over 20 percent.
    Adan expects to turn the page in 2010 and resume Soriana’s strong growth with the opening of 40 stores.

Audio – How bad? Bad.

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todman1.jpgThe state of the U.S. economy has been much on the minds of all our guests at this year’s Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit.

Most of them tried to put on a brave face about the current state of play, but Whirlpool’s North America President, Michael Todman, gave what to us sounded like a pretty accurate assessment of how stretched the U. S. consumer seems and when he sees a turnaround.

Audio – Bad Times? Good Times.

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schaye1.jpgJim Schaye comes across as a perfectly nice fellow, but if you happen to work for a retailer and you see him walking up and down your aisles, checking out your stuff … well, think about dusting off that resume.

Schaye is chief executive of Hudson Capital Partners, and he works with struggling or restructuring retailers if they have to start selling off stores and/or getting rid of inventory.

Audio – Coupon clipping out: Coupon clicking in

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team_dusing.jpgThe days of going through the Sunday papers and clipping all the double coupons you can find might be coming to an end.

While there are those few people out there (and we know some of them!), who actually enjoy a good session of clipping, Brent Dusing, co-founder and chief executive of Cellfire Inc, likes to see his coupons on his cell phone.

Audio – Retail just like the old days … the REALLY old days!

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storch1.jpgToys “R” Us Chief Executive Jerry Storch has expansion on his mind.

Storch, one of the featured guests at this year’s annual Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit, said on Tuesday he was trying to improve the mix and locations of its stores.

Adding new locations is a tricky proposition for any company, especially one that is so dependant on consumers having spare cash to buy discretionary goods like toys and games.

Reuters Summit-Broadening its horizons

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Perry Ellis International Inc is looking at getting a good bit more “international” — as befitting its full name.

Speaking at the annual Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit – held this year in New York and London — executives at the clothier said the company was exploring its options in China and India as part of a larger growth strategy.

Retailers facing an inflationary world

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card1.jpgThe costs of raw materials and of just getting things from manufacturer to store shelves continue to rise and Wesley Card, chief executive of Jones Apparel Group said on Monday that those costs will likely continue to be an issue for companies like his and will also be passed on to shoppers — especially looking ahead to 2009.

Card, kicking off the annual Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit, said on Monday that those costs are especially seen in the production of footwear and accessories.

Video – Investors look to gold and diamonds

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Investors are looking at precious metals and diamonds while the super rich are snapping up key pieces of jewellery.

The London Jewellery Week is the first of its kind in the British capital, and celebrates design and innovation. The current economic slowdown is prompting people to tighten their belts. But affluent investors are still going for expensive jewellery, along with gold and diamonds, to diversify their assets.

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