Retail Refugees


J. Crew Sold for $3billion
November 24, 2010, 1:15 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info | Tags:

J.Crew will be acquired by two investment firms for $3 billion, according to a document released moments ago by the preppy-chic retailer. (We first reported on this Monday night–click here for some background.)

This will allow CEO Mickey Drexler and co. to fix what’s wrong with the business–and build on what’s right–without having to deal with public shareholders.

“It is a clear endorsement of J.Crew and of the hard work and commitment of each and every one of our associates,” Drexler said of the agreement. “As I have always said, we are in this for the long term and we do what we do day in and day out so we can deliver the best possible products to our customers.”

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(via Fashionista)



Gap Milan and Valentino Collab
November 23, 2010, 1:07 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info, Stores | Tags: , ,

The official news is that Italy’s fashion capital Milan opened its arms to mass Americana over the weekend with the grand opening of adjoining Gap and Banana Republic flagships. The big news for us though is the opening hails the launch of an exclusive limited-edition Valentino x Gap collaboration. Don’t get too excited though. The collab is only available in Europe: select Gaps in Rome and Milan, plus Paris’ Colette and London’s Gap flagship and designer emporium Dover Street Market. (via Racked)

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Valentino x Gap via Fashionista



I.T. Beijing Market
November 16, 2010, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Market Info, Retail Events | Tags: , ,

Looks like Comme des Garcons genius Rei Kawakubo is setting her sights on China…

Is this Dover Street Market 2.0? WWD reports that Rei Kawakubo is set to open a 19,000 square foot multi-brand emporium called I.T. Beijing Market in, um, Beijing, China, on December 29th. The four-story space will stock Comme as well as other labels including Alaia, YSL, Ann Demeulemeester, and A Bathing Ape.

And that’s not the end of CDG’s retail expansion in Asia. Kawakubo plans on opening a 32,000 square foot store called Ginza Komatsu Market in Tokyo next year. WWD reports that “the product mix will be half Comme des Garcons brands, the rest invited and curated by Kawakubo in collaboration with Komatsu.”

A new Comme des Garcons flagship will also bow in Tokyo in January. The brand will open a 4,500 square foot store in the Marunouchi district. Early reports say the location will include a 2,000 square foot branch of Paris’ Rose Bakery. (via Racked)

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Marais, Paris
October 7, 2010, 12:43 pm
Filed under: Art/Design, Fashion, Market Info, Retail Events, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

T Magazine’s The Moment blog had an interesting look at Paris’s Marais district today exploring some of the interesting shops, restaurants, and other sites.  Take a look if you have any plans to visit the city of lights anytime in the near future.  Definitely a must see for shopping and eating, the retail scene seems to be among the most innovative in the city.

For a long time now, the Haut Marais has attracted indie boutiques and avant-garde designers. More and more, they’re foreign-born. The American modernist Jack Henry made his home at 25, rue Charlot, which is just down the street from Plagg, Barbara Kurdziel’s shop devoted to Scandinavian fashion, which is just down the street from the Korean designer Moon Young Hee’s whimsical atelier. And just around the corner on rue de Vielle du Temple, the New York design collective Surface to Air opened its new flagship featuring edgy-urbane men’s and women’s fashion. Foreign flair is suddenly everywhere, and for a city that’s infamous for resisting change, it’s a welcome infusion.

The latest international arrival is Koko. After years of talking about it, and then a year of red tape and on-the-ground planning, the New Zealand expat Catherine McMahon is opening Paris’s first and only store devoted to Kiwi goods. McMahon was often complimented when she wore clothes designed by her compatriots, but, she says, “I realized not many people know anything about Kiwi fashion.” When her boutique opens on Sept. 17, it will be her mission to familiarize the locals with names like Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester and Trelise Cooper.

The neighborhood’s worldliness isn’t only the result of boutiques and designers. Merce and the Muse delighted French coffee snobs this summer with its in-house brew, which the American owner went all the way to Denmark’s Coffee Collective to learn. And then there’s Mary Quarta — next door to Merce, both a bread-crumb trail from Koko — an Italian who started scooping up divine cones of Nutella and stracciatella gelato this past season. The French will never lose their taste for espresso at zinc counters and macarons at the salon de thé, but global flavors go down easy, too.

DESCRIPTIONCyrille Weiner The Surface to Air store in Marais.


Test Restaurant Locations
September 30, 2010, 10:47 am
Filed under: Market Info | Tags:

Restaurants try out new menu items all of the time, but for diners who want to try the latest hamburger, latte or whatever new concoction that is being sold at their favorite place, finding a restaurant test location can be like going on a treasure hunt.

Many fast-food restaurants often change the locations where they’re testing new products in order to keep the item a secret or target customers from a specific demographic, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food industry consultancy. Restaurant chains also try to find out what consumers would be willing to pay for the new items. There are 14 tiers of pricing in the industry, says Tristano, and companies may want to test a product in all of them — from the priciest market in New York City to the least pricey in Salt Lake City.

Finding New Products Near You

To determine whether a restaurant near you is testing a new product, keep your eyes open for “specials” and other signs that new products are available. Here are some current market tests:

  • Coca-Cola started testing the Freestyle 100-drink soda bar, a touchscreen soda fountain offering ten times as many drink offerings as your typical soda fountain, in Orange County, California in 2009. There are now machines in Georgia, Illinois, Texas and Utah. Check out the Coca-Cola’s Freestyle Facebook page to see where the company will be rolling the machines out next.
  • Starbucks is currently testing Refreshers (cold drinks made from green coffee) in San Diego for a limited time. Also, its Starbucks Reserve coffee, made from “single-origin” coffee beans, is being sold in test markets in metro areas across the country.
  • P.F. Chang’s is testing a new happy hour menu in Kansas City, Mo. If all goes well, the Yum Cha Menu, which includes sushi-style rolls and flatbreads, will also be tested in Scottsdale, Ariz. and other locations.
  • If you’ve seen fish tacos everywhere, you haven’t lost your mind. Many restaurants are adding the popular item and Taco Bell will be testing its own fish taco next year in stores nationwide.
  • McDonald’s and Burger King are both offering more premium-priced products, hoping to attract diners that are willing to spend a little more. McDonald’s is testing a $5 Smokehouse Deluxe hamburger in Ontario, and Burger King has installed higher-end Whopper Bars at locations in Orlando and Miami, Florida, as well as Memphis and New York.
  • Wendy’s is testing Natural Fries with the potato skins still on in several test markets. A manager at a Florida restaurant told Consumerist they’re getting rave reviews.
  • California Pizza Kitchen is testing touchscreen menus that let customers pay at the table. El Pollo Loco is also testing self-serve cash registers in Orange County, Calif.
  • Chipotle is testing a few things in a handful of locations around the country, including a roasted tomato salsa and a “garden blend” of vegan protein in New York, Washington, D.C., Denver, Sacramento and Los Angeles, says Chris Arnold, a spokesman for the Denver-based chain. Chipotle hasn’t changed its menu much in its 17 years of business. The last major menu change, says Arnold, was the addition of a salad, and a meal in a bowl instead of wrapped in a burrito.
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See full article from WalletPop: http://srph.it/bagDpY


Digital Retail Roundup
September 29, 2010, 12:48 pm
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info, Retail Events | Tags: , , , ,

Donna Karan has just launched e-commerce on donnakaran.com and DKNY.com relaunches after a total overhaul. “”Donna Karan New York and DKNY have always embraced the two sides of New York City—a limousine and a taxi, caviar and pizza,” Karan said in a statement. “This e-commerce site brings you both in one place. More than a place to shop, it’s a
complete brand experience, where commerce meets content with the style and
energy of New York City.” (Racked)

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Gucci Goes Virtual: Suzy Menkes discusses the ways Gucci is using technology with Frida Giannini, the label’s creative director. (NYTimes)

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Uniqlo releases video teasers on YouTube for their new collections featuring Charlize Theron and Orlando Bloom.



Mario Batali’s Eataly is Awesome
September 29, 2010, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , ,

Ahh yes… food retail… the prize winning combination of two sources of experience and innovation have joined forces for one of the most impressive new “shops” in the world.
(via Eater) Mario Batali recently described his imported food hall Eataly as a “temple,” as a place where “food is more sacred than commerce.” And while a preview of the place last night revealed there will be a heck of a lot of commerce in this place, he may be right. When it comes down to it, Eataly is nothing short of epic, a giant Slow Food mecca of all things Italy. At its core, it’s a fancy Italian grocery store with individual retail departments offering the best of everything (pastry, bread, a butcher, a fishmonger, pasta, cured meats, cheese, hand-made mozzarella, etc.), some of which are directly connected to their own sit-down restaurants with waiter service.

Check out full details at Eater

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