August 15, 2019

In 2017 Ricky Lopez opened a Top Round franchise in San Francisco’s Mission District. With all sorts of well-established competition in the area already, the chef and entrepreneur says that his roast beef business lost tens of thousands of dollars in its first eight months. Then last year a representative from Uber Eats informed Lopez that his area had a high demand for burgers and ice cream that was going unmet. To take advantage of this opportunity, the food delivery Continue reading

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August 6, 2019

Last week, we took a look at how online shopping and rising rents are causing many retailers to reassess the worth of their flagship stores. Among the companies mentioned was Barneys, a Manhattan mainstay that used the success of its nine-story flagship to expand across the world. The retailer first became famous for its flashy Madison Avenue window displays that drew countless people inside over the years. By the late 1990s, Barneys became an almost sacred destination for shoppers Continue reading

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August 1, 2019

For many years, shoppers flocked to destinations like Madison Avenue in Manhattan and Chicago’s Magnificent Mile to experience the best that American retail had to offer. Home to flagship locations from Macy’s, Barneys and many others, these enormous stores acted as potent marketing tools as much as places to buy products. The rise of online shopping changed all that, however, causing multi-floor department stores to lose their appeal. 

As a result, many top retailers are closing the doors on Continue reading

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July 30, 2019

From free finger food at Costo to complimentary mini-sized makeup at Sephora, companies have long depended on free samples as a powerful promotional tool. But as the clothing retailer Forever 21 recently learned, this time-tested strategy can backfire when paired with the wrong type of product. 

Forever 21 routinely includes sample items when shipping out orders to its customer base of young women. Last week one of those products was a free Atkins-branded lemon granola bar that encouraged customers Continue reading

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July 26, 2019

For major online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, few matters are more important than quickly shipping products out to customers. But while free two-day shipping has largely become the norm in e-commerce, all those packages moving across the country can have a major impact on the environment. This video looks at the ecological effects of rush shipping and how retailers could seek to limit its use in the future. 

Questions:

  1. In what ways does rush shipping harm the environment? Continue reading
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In the years before the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and heightened security measures, airports opened their doors to pretty much anybody who wanted to come in. Of course, most of the non-travelers who spent time in terminals were people waiting for passengers to disembark. After all, 20th century airports didn’t have much else besides a few newsstands and small restaurants. 

Nowadays, though, many airport concourses are starting to look more like resorts than travel hubs. For instance, Tampa International Continue reading

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June 25, 2019

For decades, the New Jersey-based party supply retailer Party City has relied on balloon sales to keep it afloat. Doing so requires a plentiful supply of helium, the second-most abundant element in the universe that is nevertheless increasingly difficult to find on Earth. Due to both supply chain and production problems, companies are currently using up helium at a quicker rate than it can be produced. As a result, the skyrocketing price of helium has begun to spoil the fun Continue reading

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June 21, 2019

Last weekend, Target shoppers around the country received some unwelcome news when they reached the checkout counter. Due to an “internal technology issue,” the retailer’s registers crashed for about two hours on Saturday afternoon. Soon social media became filled with footage of long lines at Target stores as employees completed cash transactions by hand. Of course, many customers abandoned their carts and went home after they learned about the problem.

Eventually Target announced that the registers had come back online, Continue reading

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June 18, 2019

For most of the 20th century, American consumers relied on small local shoe stores to fulfill all of their footwear needs. Then big sporting goods retailers arrived on the scene followed by sophisticated online operations like Zappos. Although this increased competition forced some independent outlets to close, many others managed to survive thanks to their high level of service. At Colburn Shoe Store in Maine, for example, employees remember exactly what size shoe their customers wear as well as their Continue reading

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June 13, 2019

The last few years have not been good for Claire’s, the mall-based retailer known for its adolescent-focused cosmetics and accessories. In early 2018 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after it accrued more than $2 billion in debt. Although Claire’s eventually emerged from bankruptcy, the end of the year also brought an unwelcome announcement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the federal agency, Claire’s had been under investigation since 2017 for “high levels of asbestos” Continue reading

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