The mother-daughter wedding-gown company Ines Di Santo Inc. wants to expand but doesn't want to sacrifice the handmade quality of its work. Problems lie in finding qualified designers and pattern makers, and in cost cutting. Experts advise the owners to outsource back-end functions and to consider the introduction of a separate, lower-priced line of mass-produced evening wear.
Starting this month, only 22 national retailers are still reporting monthly sales results. As merchants from Wal-Mart to Abercrombie & Fitch opt out of monthly reporting, experts wonder whether the numbers, which represent just 10% of overall retail sales and are skewed toward apparel, provide any useful clues to the health of the retail industry.
Foreign retailers are aggressively expanding in China, sparking an intense rivalry to hire from a relatively small group of experienced and talented executives. Retention is a hot issue, and company loyalty is scarce as top executives frequently jump ship when competitors offer better deals, experts say.
A three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday that starts in Tennessee today may bring out more shoppers, but it likely won't yield the sales surge merchants are hoping for, analysts say, as budget-conscious parents hold the line on spending. "Families aren't opposed to spending on what they need, but parents want their children to take a good look around at what they already have," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
Best Buy announced plans Thursday to add 100 Best Buy Express kiosks in the next year, including machines at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. College campuses will also get more of the self-serve vending machines, which offer small consumer electronics gadgets at the same prices charged in Best Buy stores.