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NEWS
January 10, 2012 | By Shan Li
In a bid to garner customer loyalty, luxury retailer Nordstrom Inc. is expanding its reward program to make it easier for shoppers to earn extra perks. The update halves the minimum purchases required to qualify for its four-tier loyalty program, with benefits that include early access to sales and up to $100 of free tailoring for every member. The more customers shop, the more fringe benefits they'll earn. Shoppers who want to climb to Level 3 of the rewards rung, which entitles them to 24-hour concierge service, will need to spend $5,000 annually on their Nordstrom credit or debit cards (they previously had to spend $10,000)
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BUSINESS
April 3, 2014 | Andrea Chang
Instacart is bringing its same-day grocery delivery service to Los Angeles, utilizing a crowdsourced model of personal shoppers who provide their own transportation and smartphones to shop for and deliver groceries to customers. Starting Thursday, customers can order groceries and other items from Whole Foods Market and have them delivered in as little as an hour. Additional stores will be added in the coming weeks; shoppers will be able to combine items from multiple stores into one order.
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BUSINESS
February 2, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu and Andrea Chang
Nordstrom is famously forgiving when shoppers change their minds about purchases. Customers love it - especially those whose motives may be questionable. The Seattle retailer has been known to take back well-worn clothing, shoes bought years earlier and jars of half-used moisturizer. When Elana Pruitt was a Nordstrom sales employee years ago, she recalled, shoppers would make purchases with gift cards and then quickly return the items for cash. Technically it's allowed, said Pruitt, 33, now a social media coordinator and fashion blogger in Eagle Rock.
BUSINESS
March 21, 2014 | By Yifan Zhu
As Chinese tourists spill from their tour bus into the Beverly Center, Charlie Gu hands each one a sleek black envelope. Inside: a Chinese-language map of the mall and a special discount card. Gu, the center's Mandarin-speaking Chinese specialist, asks shoppers about what they're looking for and circles relevant stores on the map. "L.K. Bennett is a favorite of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge," he advises one. "You should definitely take a look. " The personal touch is more than just the usual attempt to cozy up to well-heeled shoppers.
BUSINESS
December 2, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Machinery was purring gently. Boxes of Samsung televisions were stacked like blocks atop pallets on a glossy concrete floor. A shift supervisor waved jauntily as he zipped by on a red motorized chariot. At 10 a.m. at the Target.com fulfillment center in Ontario, all seemed peaceful - even though it was a record-setting Cyber Monday. And this year, the online world's answer to Black Friday was attracting nearly as many shoppers as the four-day retail frenzy that preceded it. "It never really feels like chaos," general manager Melissa Montgomery said of the annual online shopping event.
BUSINESS
January 6, 2011 | Reuters
Many top U.S. retailers missed Wall Street's expectations for December sales, hurt by a post-Christmas blizzard on the East Coast and shoppers returning to their cautious ways after flocking to stores after Thanksgiving. Retailers ranging from department store operator Macy's Inc and discounter Target Corp to teen clothing store American Eagle Outfitters were among those whose results fell far short of forecasts. "The turbulence is here to stay," said David Bassuk, a managing director at consulting firm AlixPartners.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2013 | By Maeve Reston
The evacuation announcement came over the loudspeaker at the Beverly Center in the early afternoon - a muffled voice telling shoppers that this was not a drill, everyone needed to leave the mall immediately. Christina Taylor, a high school junior from Florida, had been browsing the racks at Bloomingdale's with her mom - their first stop after arriving in L.A. - when her mom grabbed her arm to get her attention. The two women couldn't make out exactly what the announcer had said, but around them, workers in the store began panicking and running, Christina said.
BUSINESS
October 24, 2012 | By Adolfo Flores
Holiday shoppers will be spending a little more this year, but as in recent years they'll continue to be disciplined and go online for better deals. Consumers are expected to spend an average of $582 on holiday shopping, according to Accenture's annual consumer holiday shopping survey, and 23% plan to spend over $750. About half expect to increase their spending by $250 or more, with only 5% saying they would be “extravagant” in their shopping and 8% indicating they would “splurge.” About 51% of those surveyed said they have already set aside cash for their holiday shopping.
NEWS
May 17, 2012 | By Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
We're fat, in case you hadn't heard. And as we learned last week, 42% of American adults will be obese by 2030, according to researchers at the Weight of the Nation conference sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If that's a party you'd rather miss, the grocery store is a place to start. Nutritionists often advise us to buy fresh food and stick to the perimeters of the store (instead of the middle aisles that are stocked with Oreos, Doritos and Froot Loops)
BUSINESS
November 23, 2012 | By Christine Mai-Duc
Six-year-old twins Kaitlyn and Kristin Welch spent Friday morning at American Girl Place at the Grove, accompanied by their mother, their grandmother -- and two brand-new American Girl dolls. "They've been doing so well in school," said Linda Kettle, the girls' grandmother. "It's a special reward. " Crowds at the Grove seemed subdued Friday afternoon, with traffic comparable to a typical Saturday's at the popular shopping and dining area in Los Angeles' Fairfax district. Lines of cars hunting for a spot snaked around the eight-story parking garage.
BUSINESS
March 15, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch and David Undercoffler
General Motors Co. is mired in one of the biggest auto safety scandals in years. But if history is any guide, car shoppers will be more forgiving than regulators and safety advocates. Ford Motor Co. suffered through problems with Pintos burning up and Explorer sport utilities rolling over when their tires failed decades ago. More recently, Toyota Motor Corp. recalled millions of cars after incidents of sudden acceleration. In each case, the automakers spent billions of dollars to recall vehicles, fix problems and settle legal issues.
BUSINESS
March 4, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
Ever lust after a product displayed in a store that's closed for the day? Or struggle to find the item you saw in a magazine or YouTube advertisement? Maybe you're curious about something on a shelf but can't find a salesperson to offer more information. A British company called Powa Technologies said it has the solution to all of those consumer conundrums in the form of an e-commerce platform it calls a retail “evolution and revolution.” Powa, started by serial entrepreneur Dan Wagner and operating on the nearly $100 million it's raised in recent months, unveiled its closely held digital shopping tool PowaTag on Tuesday.
BUSINESS
February 28, 2014 | By James Barragán
Tia Smith clutched her new phone in one hand and a phone case in the other as she shopped at a West Hollywood Best Buy. She clicked away into her smartphone's tiny screen and searched for the case in other nearby stores. "I'm trying to buy this Otter phone case for my new phone," she said. "But I'm trying to see if Target or Wal-Mart has it for cheaper so they can honor the price match," she said, as she scrolled through Target's mobile site on her new phone. As more people turn to their smartphones and tablets when they're thinking about making a purchase, retailers and marketing companies are rushing to figure out ways to transform these mobile browsers into buyers.
BUSINESS
February 18, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Personal information collected from credit card shoppers would be better protected by upgrading the country's entire payment system to technology that has dramatically reduced fraud in Europe. That was the consensus of a group of retailers, bankers, credit card companies and consumer advocates at a legislative hearing Tuesday. Legislators delved into the causes of a recent hacking of about 70 million computerized customer records at Target Corp. and a smaller incident involving about 1.1 million customers at Neiman Marcus department stores.
BUSINESS
February 2, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu and Andrea Chang
Nordstrom is famously forgiving when shoppers change their minds about purchases. Customers love it - especially those whose motives may be questionable. The Seattle retailer has been known to take back well-worn clothing, shoes bought years earlier and jars of half-used moisturizer. When Elana Pruitt was a Nordstrom sales employee years ago, she recalled, shoppers would make purchases with gift cards and then quickly return the items for cash. Technically it's allowed, said Pruitt, 33, now a social media coordinator and fashion blogger in Eagle Rock.
BUSINESS
January 23, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
Google Inc. is wading into the morass of same-day delivery pilots and programs rapidly collecting in the Southland, competing with e-commerce giants such as Amazon.com Inc. In the first expansion of a test it launched in the Bay Area in the spring, Google is inviting its employees in the Santa Monica area to try out its Google Shopping Express service. Several hundred people work for the company in the Los Angeles area. Google hopes to eventually extend the service to the general public.
BUSINESS
November 24, 2012 | By Shan Li
After the Black Friday shopping madness, small boutiques in Silver Lake were anticipating customers who were less about giant malls and more about supporting local business. Dubbed Small Business Saturday , the shopping event was invented by American Express in 2010 to encourage consumers to spend some dollars at neighborhood shops and independent retailers. The day has high-profile supporters such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Obama, who took his two daughters to a bookstore in Arlington , Va., on Saturday.
BUSINESS
October 19, 2012 | By Shan Li
Department store chain Macy's Inc. is aggressively going after the millennial shopper. The retailer plans to add 13 brands to its lineup and expand 10 others in the next year to court those between the ages of 13 and 30. Apparently these young consumers control some $65 billion a year in spending power. The new brands -- which include Marilyn Monroe, Keds apparel and G-Star Raw -- will go into either Macy's mstylelab for 13-to-22-year-olds, or the Impulse section for those 19 to 30. Macy's Chief Executive Terry J. Lundgren already emphasized earlier this year that attracting young shoppers of the Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest generation is a key focus.
BUSINESS
January 16, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
It's not looking pretty for J.C. Penney. The Plano, Texas, company said this week that it plans to close 33 under-performing stores around the country by early May and shave 2,000 jobs off its books. Chief Executive Myron Ullman called the move - designed to save the company $65 million a year - a key step in J.C. Penney's "progress toward long-term profitable growth. " Several analysts, however, say it's a sign that the retailer's turnaround may be more like a turndown. "J.C.
BUSINESS
January 10, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Target customers whose information -- name, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses -- was stolen need not have shopped at the retailer's stores during the busy holiday shopping season, a spokeswoman confirmed Friday. The information, said Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder, was collected during the "course of normal business," and could include online shopping.  Friday's latest disclosure by the Minneapolis-based retailer that hackers made away with the data of 70 million additional Target customers shows that the data breach late last year was far larger and broader than previously thought.  Target initially said Dec. 19 that debit and credit card information for 40 million customers was pilfered during the busy holiday shopping season between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. About a week later, the retailer also reported that the hackers had accessed "strongly encrypted" personal identification numbers when they tapped into the retailer's systems.  The retailer said the theft of the information from up to 110 million customers was not a new breach but was uncovered as part of the ongoing investigation into the theft of millions of customers' credit and debit card information.
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