• Retailers Rethink January In Response To Gift Cards
    Retailers are restocking shelves with fresh merchandise and selling early, early spring fashions as a response to consumers' growing penchant for giving gift cards during the holiday season. January--when the nation's retailers used to rake out the aisles, restack all of the unsold sweaters and throw the sheets on a big table for the biannual White Sale--is growing in importance. Retail sales rose 10.5% in January 2006 vs. 2005, when they rose 7.5%. "January is all about newness," says Deniz Anders, a spokeswoman for Nordstrom. She said the retailer is offering brightly colored handbags and stretchy ...
  • Pfizer Wins Trademark Infringement Case In China
    In a case seen as a test of China's willingness to protect patents, copyrights and trademarks, a Chinese court has ruled that two companies must stop marketing a knockoff of Pfizer's impotency drug Viagra. China is a potentially huge market for the drug, known as "weige," or "great brother," in the country. The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ordered Beijing Health New Concept Pharmacy Co. to stop sales of blue pills similar to Viagra. The court told Lianhuan Pharmaceutical Co., based in eastern China's Jiangsu province, to stop making the pills and to pay Pfizer 300,000 yuan, or ...
  • FDA: Food From Cloned Animals Safe To Eat
    A 678-page report released by the Food and Drug Administration yesterday went a long way toward clearing the way for a handful of biotechnology companies that intend to use cloning to mass-produce some of the nation's finest meat--and milk--producing animals. The FDA's analysis concludes that milk and meat from cloned animals pose no unique risks to consumers. The decision, subject to change after a period of public comment, stops short of approving the sale of food from clones and leaves in place, for now, a long-standing government request that farmers keep their clones off the market. Even ...
  • Yoga Stretches Into The Mainstream
    Americans spent $2.95 billion on yoga classes, retreats and vacations as well as yoga-related products, like clothing, books and mats in 2004, according to a survey of nearly 4,800 people conducted for Yoga Journal. And the market is growing: The number of Americans who practice yoga at least twice a week jumped 133%, to 3 million this year from 1.3 million in 2001, according to a survey conducted by Mediamark Research. Curve-hugging stylish clothing in Lycra, cotton and microfibers come from a variety of yoga-inspired brands, including Prana, Be Present, Inner Waves and Lululemon Athletica, as well ...
  • Verizon Sells Network Speed At Retail Outlet
    Verizon, which is spending $18 billion to turn its existing copper lines into a much faster fiber-optic network named Fios, has opened a store in a mall in Fairfax, Va., that demonstrates the features customers can expect from the super-high-capacity network. Shoppers at Verizon Experience lounge in front of high-def televisions, surf the Web and fiddle with the latest cell phones. Nearly 20 sales people roam the floor and help customers at different stations. Verizon opened the store--its second in the nation--in Fair Oaks Mall on Dec. 15 to market its television, phone and Internet service as ...
  • PetSmart's Hotels Offer Doggies The Lap Of Luxury
    PetSmart, the largest U.S. pet-store chain, plans to open 435 PetsHotels where furry creatures can lounge on hypoallergenic lambskin blankets, watch television and snack on lactose-free, fat-free ice cream. That's a seven-fold increase from its current 62 locations. Dog owners pay about $31 a night for a suite--a room with a window that measures 4 feet by 7 feet. The suites have raised dog beds and a television that plays videos, such as "Lady and the Tramp" and "101 Dalmatians." Standard accommodations include cages with blankets and padded beds and cost $21 a night. Sales at stores ...
  • Ford's Mulally Meets With Toyota Execs In Japan
    Ford CEO Alan Mulally traveled to Japan last week to meet with Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho and other top executives at the automaker. Industry analysts said it is much more likely that Ford and Toyota would work together on a specific issue--such as a powertrain technology--than explore a broad-ranging alliance or outright merger. Ford could benefit from Toyota's hybrid technology, says Erich Merkle, an analyst with IRN Inc. Toyota could profit from Ford's truck platform. It will begin selling its first full-size truck in February--the all-new Tundra--but it still does not have larger heavy-duty versions, such as the ...
  • Jeno Paulucci Still An Innovator At 88
    Jeno Paulucci--the 88-year-old frozen food mogul whose current lines include Michelina's and Budget Gourmet--recently began shipping to Russia. Now, he is poised to hit the Chinese market. He's also launching a line of appetizers called Bundinos, frozen buns filled with turkey or pizza ingredients. "I try to keep ahead of the timing," Paulucci says. "Wherever there's a microwave, I believe we should have our product." Paulucci has started about 70 companies all together--some more successful than others. He began his Chun King business in 1944 with a $2,500 loan and sold it to R.J. Reynolds less ...
  • Cheesecake Factory Depends On Word-Of-Mouth
    At least 50 people including the mayor showed up in the cold for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Cheesecake Factory in Boise, Idaho, earlier this month. All of them were drawn by word-of-mouth--the only advertising that Howard Gordon, The Cheesecake Factory's vice president of business development and marketing, has used in opening 120 stores over 28 years. The media is complicit in Gordon's viral-marketing plans. Complimentary cheesecakes accompany press releases announcing grand openings, and Gordon says he maintains a large list of media contacts. [Editor's note: No cheesecake was consumed in the preparation of this summary.] Gordon ...
  • Holiday Sales Hit Slump, Up Just 6.6%
    A seemingly insatiable demand for all things electronic--including high-definition TV sets and Nintendo hot Wii game console--weren't enough to offset the lackluster sales of cold weather apparel, jewelry and other items this holiday season. Spending between Thanksgiving and Christmas rose a disappointing 6.6% over last year, according to SpendingPulse, a retail-sales data service from MasterCard International's MasterCard Advisors Unit. Last holiday, sales climbed 8.7%. Shoppers did come out in full force this past weekend; they just didn't spend as much as last year. Saturday, followed by Friday, were the two strongest shopping days of the year, but spending was ...
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