Retail roundup: Madewell road trip, Kohl's, Macy's mercado

May 12, 2012|By Shan Li
  • The Madewell Airstream trailer will be traversing the country this summer.
The Madewell Airstream trailer will be traversing the country this summer. (Maegan Tintari via Flickr )

--Madewell, the younger, more relaxed division of retailer J. Crew Group Inc., is going mobile this spring.

Think less smartphone and more road trip. The brand, formally a work wear manufacturer in Massachusetts before getting rescued by J. Crew, is taking its denim line on a cross-country summer journey with a retro Airstream trailer.

Retailers have been trying to shake up brick-and-mortar stores with more creative spaces such as pop-up shops, specialty stores and now stores on the go. Madewell's Airstream is rolling into Santa Monica Place this Saturday, loaded with stylists, discounts on jeans and a hair-braiding station.

--Kohl's Corp. reported higher sales but a smaller profit in its first quarter after dropping prices on its merchandise.

For the three months ended April 28, the department store chain reported a profit of $154 million, down from $201 million in the same period a year earlier. Total sales jumped 1.9% to $4.2 billion, however, while same-store sales rose 0.2%.

Kohl's  Chief Executive Kevin Mansell said that lowering prices "led to significantly lower gross margins for the quarter," although controlling costs allowed the company to achieve its quarterly earnings goals.

"We are well positioned from an inventory perspective for the back-to-school season," Mansell said. "The combination of these two actions should allow us to greatly improve our sales for the fall season."

--As part of a campaign celebrating the Brazil, Macy's Inc. has rolled out curated shops within its department stores featuring items inspired by or made in the South American country.

Dubbed "O Mercado," the store-within-a-store concept has rolled out online and in about 300 Macy's locations around the country. The mercados will offer about 100 fashion, home, beauty and accessory items.

"Brazil’s burgeoning international appeal and enchanting culture inspired us to create a unique shopping environment that will bring even more newness, color and excitement to our stores," Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement.


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