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Bits & Bytes: Thump This … To Each His Own … Paparazzi Scene …

<B>THUMP THIS</B> <BR><BR>Think the iPod is convenient? How about a pair of sunglasses that plays tunes? Oakley Inc.’s Thump incorporates a digital audio player and earphones, and the whole thing weighs less than 2 oz. The $395 version stores 60...

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THUMP THIS

Think the iPod is convenient? How about a pair of sunglasses that plays tunes? Oakley Inc.’s Thump incorporates a digital audio player and earphones, and the whole thing weighs less than 2 oz. The $395 version stores 60 songs; an extra $100 gets the wearer another 60 songs. It comes in six colors, including a tortoise print and a limited-edition red camouflage print (that’s the one worn by rapper Lil Jon in the company’s advertising). Perfect for skiing or blocking out the commotion at fashion shows.

TO EACH HIS OWN

JDA Software Group Inc. has inked a deal worth more than $1 million with Sears, Roebuck & Co. that calls for the retailer to use JDA’s suite of merchandising software to buy apparel and other goods for its 2,300 stores, including Orchard Supply Hardware and Sears Grand. Sears will use the suite to coordinate and manage product selection, quantities, allocation, replenishment and display for all its stores, and can adjust the plans and assortments for individual stores on a case-by-case basis, said Peter Charness, JDA chief product officer. “What you end up with is better-focused assortments by location,” he said. “Typically, that means you end up with better sell-throughs.” The software will replace a mix of homegrown and off-the-shelf programs, including Excel spreadsheets, and should be partly in place by the second quarter of 2005, he said.

PAPARAZZI SCENE

Meet a celebrity or just pretend to be one with the Swatch “Paparazzi” watch. Its data feed offers big-city hipsters the latest on new clubs, bars and free events, courtesy of international “what do we do now?” arbiters at Time Out. To keep all bases covered, Microsoft’s MSN Network will also deliver personalized news, horoscopes and stock quotes. The watch comes in orange, red, black and navy. Swatch is also running a sweepstakes whose winners will get a chance to meet celebrities. Prizes include a tour of the set of “The O.C.” with Mischa Barton and a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show with Bill Gates. The latter is a somewhat unexpected perk for budding young nightclub divas.

This story first appeared in the November 10, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

ONLINE CHEER

Forrester Research Inc. is predicting that online sales will reach $13.2 billion this holiday season, up from $11 billion in 2003. Interestingly, in 2002, online sales grew only to $8.4 billion, compared with $8.3 billion the year before. Forrester’s explanation? The 2002 selling season was six days shorter than in 2001.

WHERE WEB SHOPPERS FLOCK

Twenty percent of online shoppers have made a purchase at eBay in the PAST THREE MONTHS, according to Retail First Look from Forrester Research.

BEAUTY ATTRACTION

Amazon.com has added beauty to its list of retail conquests. As with its apparel shops, Amazon’s Beauty store offers shoppers access to beauty products from other online retailers, including Philosophy, L’Occitane, Lush, Laura Mercier, Avon, DDF and Sephora. From the consumer point of view, it’s similar in concept to an online mall, boutique or specialized search engine, except that Amazon is offering a lot of perks such as free shipping and gift-with-purchase promotions. Here’s how Beauty works: Participating retailers and brands send product information to Amazon, which displays the products on its site and completes transactions. The participating retailer ships the order, and pays Amazon a cut of sales. Nonetheless, Amazon still gets 75 percent of its revenue from sales of books, compact discs and DVDs, according to a financial presentation on its Web site.

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