Brands Go Overboard to Attract New Customers

In an effort to drive more customers into their stores, retailers are looking past additional bargains and have adopted new and more creative methods of marketing, from “hands-on” approaches, to multisensory branding, using all types of technology. Companies from Hot Topic to Chaser to Tween Brands Inc. have utilized technology in a different way, by recruiting brand ambassadors among well-known YouTube and Bloggersphere stars who hold a coveted position of influence among the teen set. Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour’s is doing her part to increase shopper morale and drive consumers to stores with her latest project, “Fashion’s Night Out.” 700-plus-retailers, designers and brands have joined the effort in New York City, which is slated for September 10.

Saks Loss Widens in 2nd Quarter

Saks Inc. is losing money, but plans to be a winner in the long term. That was the message Tuesday from the retailer’s management, which stressed its money-losing second-quarter performance was better than expected, aided by nimble expense and inventory reductions. In the three months ended Aug. 1, Saks had a net loss of $54.5 million, or 39 cents a diluted share, versus a net loss of $32.7 million, or 24 cents, in the year-ago quarter. The analysts’ consensus estimate was for a loss of 52 cents a diluted share. Meanwhile, the department store re-opened its Calvin Klein Collection Women’s shop in the store. Francisco Costa, Alexa Chung and Jessica Joffe feted the re-opening on Thursday.

Back In Time: John Malkovich Weirds Out WWD

“Malkovich: Too serious for ‘stardom’” is how WWD titled its 1984 profile of actor and future fashion designer (he’s the mind behind the Technobohemian and Uncle Kimono lines of men’s wear) John Malkovich. Indeed, Malkovich didn’t veer from the intense-actor script during the course of the interview, in which he discussed his involvement in Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company (he was an early member, along with Gary Sinise), working with Dustin Hoffman (they costarred in the 1984 theatrical revival and 1985 film version of “Death of a Salesman”), and offered his take on Hollywood stardom. He also posed with a signpost for an impromptu photo shoot in Greenwich Village.

Kohl’s Eyes Manhattan

Now that J.C. Penney has made inroads into New York City, Kohl’s may be the next middle-market retailer to take on Manhattan. Retail real estate sources said Tuesday that the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based retailer has been eagerly eyeing the Times Square and Columbus Circle neighborhoods, and is anxious to follow on the heels of J.C. Penney, one of its primary competitors. The company also was said to have explored the Herald Square vicinity, but seems to be focusing further uptown.

Contemporary Retailers Face Tight Credit

The pressure appears to be building on retailers in the sector, from Intermix to Barneys New York’s Co-op, from Calypso to Scoop. Barneys New York had problems with factors not approving credit in the past year, while Scoop is battling employee lawsuits. Joining the list of contemporary retailers said to be failing the credit check test is Intermix. Factors in the last month stopped approving orders to the roughly 24-store chain, according to financial sources, forcing vendors to ship to the stores at their own risk.

Kenny Chesney Apparel Line to Launch at MAGIC

Country legend Kenny Chesney is rolling out a new line of denim- and-knit-driven clothes called “Blue Chair Bay,” to be manufactured by Latitude 17 Degrees South. The items will be displayed in an Airstream bus at the MAGIC convention in Las Vegas this year. Chesney will also perform at the convention in an effort to introduce himself and his music to the fashion-savvy crowd.

Glorious Night at the ‘Inglourious Basterds’ Screening

Quentin Tarantino’s eagerly anticipated film “Ingluorious Basterds” was feted by a star-studded crowd, including Marc Jacobs, Catherine Keener, André Balazs, Gina Gershon, Chace Crawford and headliners Diane Kruger and Melanie Laurent. Tarantino welcomed the crowd with a rousing “Are you ready for some bastards?”

2010 Transition Trend: Moody Tales

If the transition collections before spring are any indication, designers are in a dark, romantic state of mind. Lace, chiffon, tiers and bows suggest a magical attitude.

L.A. Beauty Firm Launches ‘Twilight’ Line

ImaStar Corp., a company under Lambus Partners, also secured the license to produce makeup affiliated with the “Twilight” series of movies. Fellow Hollywood heavyweights, Desperate Housewives has collaborated with German direct sales company LR Health & Beauty Systems with a line of fragrances.
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