U.S. retailers are looking hard for anything that can prevent them from going under. Focusing on in-store events and promotions that can’t be duplicated online is how many retailers are hoping to fight the e-commerce sales growth that has been gutting brick and mortar stores. The Financial Times’ Anna Nicolaou reports on the efforts of retailers to bring in foot traffic:
On the fourth floor of the Tiffany flagship store overlooking Central Park, Audrey Hepburn fans can now recreate her famed breakfast for $29. Since opening last month, tourists have flocked to the restaurant, snapping photos as they dine on truffle eggs and vegan avocado toast and sip locally sourced tea. The café is drenched in Tiffany’s trademark blue, making every angle look like Instagram brought to life.
The jeweller is seeking to lure people through its doors on the back of nostalgia for the 1961 film, after “post-election traffic disruptions” helped dissuade visitors from its flagship store on the world’s most expensive shopping street during the critical holiday shopping season last year. Sales at the Tiffany flagship store plunged 14 per cent last November and December, as heightened security and protests raged around the neighbouring Trump Tower….
Rival Saks this year unveiled a “wellness” spa at its flagship store, complete with a salt bath chamber and fitness classes at a “prison-style boot camp”. American Eagle is offering free laundry facilities to students at a new concept store. Urban Outfitters is selling pizza alongside Adidas hoodies in some shops.
Walmart is hosting 20,000 “holiday parties”, offering a Santa Claus and toy simulations, to lure people to its stores this holiday season. The stakes are high for the world’s largest retailer: Amazon’s sales may finally surpass those of Walmart’s brick-and-mortar stores this year, according to Second Measure, which tracks credit card data. Bringing people out to its 5,000 stores is still critical to Walmart’s bottom line: while the company says ecommerce sales will grow to $11.5bn for the fiscal year to January, this remains a small slice of its nearly $500bn in annual sales.
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Jeremy Jones, CFA
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