Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Using the recession to teach kids key life lessons

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Nina Kampler said yes to a pair of sneakers, but no to a new prom dress.

Kampler, executive vice president of strategic retail and corporate solutions at Hilco, said she has cut back on some spending during the recession, but hasn’t skimped on items that her four children really need or experiences that educate or enrich their lives.

While the other members of her family nixed the annual Spring vacation to a resort, they will be taking a trip to Africa this summer. “One is an educational and growing experience, the other is sitting in the sun. It’s very different,” Kampler said during the Reuters Global Retail Summit in New York.

When asked about ways she or her family have changed their spending habits during the recession, Kampler said she has bought less clothing and did not buy an extra car for her kids who were coming home from college.

Although they may be able to afford the extra car, Kampler said she felt it was important to teach her kids to understand they can’t buy everything they want all the time.  Plus, they needed to learn to communicate with each other and coordinate who shares the existing cars. 

from Shop Talk:

Saks CEO ‘staycation’ing in slump

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stephen-sadove1Many U.S. consumers are not really in the mood to go on vacation. That's understandable, with all that's happening in the economy right now.
 
Guess who else is staying home this summer? 
"As a family -- my wife, my kids and I -- are making sure we're doing more in the way of 'staycations' as opposed to traveling as much," Stephen Sadove, chief executive of upscale retailer Saks, said at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit in New York on Tuesday.
 
The retailer's top executive said he was paring back expenses and planning to forgo his annual ritual of getting himself a new watch in the light of the economy. 
 
Sadove, who has personally paid to take his wife along in the past on a few of his European buying trips, said, "I didn't think that sent the right signal … We decided that wasn't the right thing to be doing."
 
One can only hope the struggling retailer's sales figures start sending the right signals soon.

(Reuters photo)

Adler’s “happy chic” in gloomy times

Interior designer Jonathan Adler points to his quirky and irreverent housewares as part of his success during the current economic environment. Click here to listen to what he has to say about his design aesthetic and how gloomy times might be driving people to bring home a little “happy chic.”

Adler: "Happy Chic" in gloomy times from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

Where are you spending?

This week we’re getting inside views from some of the biggest names in retail…from high-end fashion houses like Hermes to department store chain J.C. Penney. Optimism among those in the industry about a turnaround toward the end of 2009 springs eternal…but what are you seeing? Where are you spending? Or, are you trading down? Ditching Saks and heading to Target? Barclays retail analyst Bob Drbul says the key for consumers in the current economic environment, no matter where they shop, is “value.” Click here to hear his thoughts:

Are you changing your buying behavior? from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

Jonathan Adler’s big banana hit

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Want to know what quirky housewares are selling during the recession?  Designer Jonathan Adler talks about one item that has taken off here.

(Photo by Dan Wilby, for Jonathan Adler)

Gay rights a key concern for Jonathan Adler

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As a designer, Jonathan Adler is not too worried about the recession crimping sales of his home goods.  As a newlywed, one issue that does concern him is the rights of gay couples.
 
Adler married Simon Doonan, the creative director at Barneys, in San Francisco last September.

As Adler told the Reuters Global Luxury Summit, he is “just trying to get my civil rights.”  He said most people do not understand rights that gay couples – even those married under state law – do not have.

AT&T: Netbooks key to expansion beyond cellphones?

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.

from Shop Talk:

Food shortage + financial crisis = bleak outlook

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The global economic meltdown has the World Bank on high alert.
 
As the financial crisis deepens, the World Bank is issuing even bleaker warnings about rising poverty and hunger in the developing world.  Initially, it estimated that 46 million people in developing countries could be pushed into poverty.  Now, that level is up another 7 million.

FOOD-WORLDBANK/"We estimate that about 130 million people were pushed into poverty from the food crisis and if you add the financial crisis on top of that we are estimating that about 53 million more people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the financial crisis," World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit
 
NEPAL/Children and women are being hardest hit, she said.  The World Bank estimated that the current financial downturn may add between 200,000 and 400,000 additional infant deaths per year on average in the 2009 to 2015 period.  That means a total of 1.4 million to 2.8 million more infant deaths, if the financial strain continues. 
 
"The one big piece we need to look at in this financial crisis and its translation into the food crisis is that we're talking about human beings," said Okonjo-Iweala.  "Remember that 923 million people are malnourished the world over.  When you talk about the financial crisis becoming an unemployment crisis in the developed world, in the developing world for many poor people it's not an issue of unemployment, it's an issue of life and death."
 
(Reuters photos of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Jan. 2009/Girls waiting for drinking water in Kathmandu, March 2009)

from Shop Talk:

Food safety worries? Join the club

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peanutcorpAre you worried about the rash of high-profile and often deadly tainted-food scandals involving everything from peanut butter and chili peppers to spinach and baby formula?

You are not alone.

"When I heard peanut products were being contaminated earlier this year, I immediately thought of my 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, who has peanut butter sandwiches for lunch probably three times a week," U.S. President Barack Obama said recently, referring to a salmonella outbreak that has made 683 people in 46 states sick, killed as many as nine and forced the recall of more than 3,000 products. 

Food exec’s biggest cravings?

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At the Reuters Food & Agriculture Summit, executives shared with the outlooks for their companies, their expansion plans and their views on the economy.

Most importantly,  they shared with us their favorite foods.

David Stark, Monsanto’s Vice President,  Consumer Traits:

“Barbecue potato chips. My dream is how can I make those healthy, because I don’t eat as many as I want. … If I have my way, someday … your doctor will say ‘you can’t eat just one.’”

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