COUNTER PUNCH

SHOPPING EARLY: A survey by the National Retail Federation draws a surprising conclusion: most consumers won’t procrastinate with their Christmas shopping this year.
For the last decade, shoppers have been shopping for gifts later and later, creating a big late rush and crunch in the stores in the last few days before the holiday.
But according to the consumer survey, which was conducted for NRF by Virginia-based Market Facts Inc., 53 percent of consumers polled plan to have most of their holiday shopping completed by Wednesday. Nearly 37 percent of consumers indicated they would do most of their shopping between Wednesday and Dec. 24.
The survey also concludes that, as expected, post-holiday shopping will again contribute significantly to retailers’ overall holiday bottom line. The NRF poll found that nearly one in every five consumers, or 18.6 percent, plan to postpone some shopping to take advantage of after-Christmas bargains. More and more consumers have been doing that for the past several years.
“It’s music to retailers’ ears that they won’t have to play the waiting game with consumers this year,” said NRF president Tracy Mullin.

TOD’S OPENING: Diego Della Valle, owner and creator of Tod’s, came to Chicago from Milan to celebrate the opening of his new Tod’s boutique with a donation to the Museum of Contemporary Art last month.
The evening began at the 2,000-square-foot boutique at 121 East Oak Street, with champagne, white wine and hors d’oeuvres served by Wolfgang Puck. Then the 100 guests were transported by Lincoln LS’s to the museum for a private dinner. Puck has a restaurant at the museum.
The boutique has Tod’s complete footwear collection for men, women and children and carries an expanded assortment of handbags and a new collection of small leather goods. It’s Tod’s 37th boutique worldwide and fifth in the U.S.

MARTINEZ GETS HONOR: Arthur Martinez, chairman and chief executive officer of Sears, Roebuck & Co., will be honored at the Parsons School of Design annual Fashion Critics Awards Benefit, April 25 at the Marriott Marquis.
The benefit supports scholarships and programs at the school and features a fashion runway show spotlighting the best student designs. Designers, who serve as “fashion critics,” present Gold Thimble Awards to the best students. Many of the designers teach at the school.
Parsons is honoring Sears and Martinez for their “strong support” of education. Sears is active on campuses around the country tapping emerging talent.

DEVELOPING STORES: DFS Group Limited has named Bill Feast senior vice president of store development, responsible for store design and planning, construction and real estate on a worldwide basis.
Feast was vice president for retail stores in the mid-Pacific region. He will be based in San Francisco and report to Edward Brennan, president and chief executive officer.
Feast joined DFS in 1985 and has held jobs as buyer, assistant manager of the Waikiki flagship, vice president and merchandise manager, vice president of retail stores. Before joining DFS, he held positions at Six Flags Corp.

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