• Rocky Seas For Old Navy
    Susan Berfield writes that "internal disagreements, management turmoil, and tanking sales" were responsible for Old Navy's early termination of its much-touted relationship with celebrity designer Todd Oldham. It has opted instead to execute a back-to-basics strategy that it feels is easier to execute in hard times. Sales are up, in fact, but that doesn't necessarily mean the retailer did the right thing, according to some observers. "Old Navy lacks an identity now," says consultant Robert Burke. "A retailer needs buzz. Saying you're basic puts people to sleep." Berfield deftly reconstructs some of the behind-the scenes drama behind Oldham's ...
  • Black Friday Dawns Across The Consumer Republic
    Today is Black Friday, the day when business reporters roll out of bed in the wee hours to keeps tabs on the looniness of the shopping public and provide grist for the mills of analysts who later today will wax eloquent about the near-term viability of the Consumer Republic. As The New York Times headline tells us, in true fairytale fashion, "At the Stroke Of Midnight, The Shopping Began." It began even earlier at Wal-Mart, which was among a handful of chains that opened on Thanksgiving Day to relieve the pressure of the bargain-crazed masses. ...
  • Report: Women Are Starting To Buy New Clothes Again
  • American Family Association 'Suspends' Christmas Boycott Of Gap
  • As Holiday Shopping Officially Begins, Zhu Zhu Hamsters Rule
    Fuzzy, electronic toy hamsters with names like Mr. Squiggles, Pipsqueak and Num Nums that coo, drive cars and ride skateboards are emerging as the hit, must-have toys of the holiday shopping season, Sean Gregory reports. Zhu Zhu Pets are only $8 a pop at Walmart if you can find one, but are going for as much as $60 on secondary-market sites like Amazon.com and eBay.com. "This is the hottest toy of the year," says Gerald Storch, chairman and CEO of Toys "R" Us. "There's absolutely no doubt about it." Needham & Co. analyst Sean McGowan thinks they'll be ...
  • Audi's Counterintuitive Spending, New Models Lure The Affluent
    Audi is taking the counterintuitive tack of investing heavily in the U.S. market this year, with a 20% bump in its marketing spend, eight new models and a decision to get into the Super Bowl ad game, Vanessa Fuhrmans reports. "When you have a marketplace hitting the reset button," Audi's U.S. marketing chief Scott Keogh tells her, it's "the perfect time to get ourselves into the conversation." The hunch -- and investment -- appears to be working so far. Three years ago, Audi was losing many more car owners to Lexus than it was luring from ...
  • 'The Card Game' Examines Credit, Debit Industry
    Correspondent Lowell Bergman took a hard look at the consumer loan industry, and particularly how the powerful banking industry is adapting to new regulations on credit cards, in a Frontline co-production with The New York Times that aired on PBS last night. If you're in financial services marketing, you'll marvel at just how clever your colleagues have been in enticing people to borrow money over the years, and at the genius of subsidizing free floats for the affluent on the monthly minimum payments of the working poor. If you're not, however, you may feel your blood ...
  • Diamond Foods Is (Emerald) Nuts About Super Bowl XLIV
  • Borders Appoints Bill Dandy SVP Marketing
  • Report: 7-Eleven To Add 550 Stores During Next Three Years
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