April 5, 2022

After the invasion of Ukraine last month, thousands of companies around the world either ceased operations in Russia or started divesting from the aggressor nation. This corporate response to the invasion followed a string of sanctions by governments around the world who intended to deal an economic blow to Russia. But cutting financial ties with the country has also led to some unexpected ripple effects on small businesses as well as multinational companies who must adjust to this complicated situation. Continue reading

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March 4, 2022

The appalling invasion of Ukraine has convinced many companies to halt their operations in Russia during this catastrophic event. Last week, for instance, the clothing company H&M announced that it would close its 170 Russian stores while Nike shuttered its 116 retailers in the country. Other big brands like Apple, T.J. Maxx, and Ikea followed with announcements that laid out similar plans to close stores during this frightening time.

“The devastating war in Ukraine is a human tragedy, and our Continue reading

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December 14, 2021

In holiday seasons past, retailers would commonly slash prices by 50 to 90 percent on Black Friday in an effort to entice shoppers into stores. But that was not the case in 2021 as companies reduced prices by “10, maybe 20 percent” according to Zarah Reeves, who usually waits until the Thanksgiving shopping weekend to buy her clothes, appliances, and home goods. “The deals are just horrible [this year],” said Reeves. “I’m looking at these discounts, thinking: That’s it? Never Continue reading

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December 2, 2021

In years past, the day after Thanksgiving marked a singular bonanza of sales as retailers held literal “door-buster” events that attracted crowds of determined customers desperate for deals. The rise of e-commerce gradually changed the holiday sales game, however, with companies now largely opting to spread sales throughout the season rather than concentrating on one day or weekend. As a result, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales slowed down for the first time in history while overall retail Continue reading

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November 23, 2021

The 2020 edition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was unlike any in the event’s 97-year history: limited to just one block, no marching bands, and no crowds of cheering spectators. This Thursday, though, the big balloons and bands will largely be back as Macy’s continues one of the longest running promotional efforts in business. The brief video below from 2019 looks at the history of the parade and the various ways it has both evolved and stayed the same Continue reading

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October 29, 2021

While supply chain problems are bringing uncertainty to the upcoming Christmas season, retail analysts are optimistic that Halloween will be a vast improvement over 2020. Last year, the pandemic largely prevented kids from trick or treating and discouraged many adults from having costume parties, leading to a multi-billion dollar drop in retail sales during the spooky season. With an increasingly vaccinated population and lifted restrictions across the country, though, sales from 2021’s Halloween festivities are expected to increase by 20 Continue reading

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September 1, 2021

Over the course of the pandemic, problems with global supply chains have affected companies both large and small, leading some to reconsider their relationships with international manufacturers. Many other businesses are waiting for their products to arrive after weeks or even months of delays. For instance, the toy maker MGA Entertainment said its stock of Rainbow High dolls has been held up overseas due to a shortage of shipping containers. As a result, the company will likely not Continue reading

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The Swedish company IKEA is famous across the globe for its meatballs and its wide array of furniture that customers must assemble at home. This video looks at how the retailer encourages sales by creating the “IKEA effect” with its winding floor plan that causes customers to snake through a series of product showrooms. 

Questions:

  1. What sort of strategies does IKEA use to keep costs low?
  2. How does the “IKEA effect” encourage customers to purchase furniture and home goods?
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March 5, 2021

The wholesaler Costco is one of the most successful retailers in the country due in large part to its unique approach to doing business. This video looks at the strategies that Costco uses to keep prices low while still offering many items in bulk.

Questions:

  1. How does Costco’s membership plan drive its business? 
  2. Why are items at Costco kept on pallets rather than laid out neatly on shelves like in supermarkets?
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December 3, 2020

Black Friday began years ago as a one-day event where retailers across the country slashed prices to attract holiday shoppers into stores. Then the deals began to stretch into the weekend, then into Thanksgiving itself, and finally this year holiday sales spilled online into more than a weeklong extravaganza. With many retailers either remaining closed for indoor customers or open at limited capacity, experts expect that e-commerce will drive sales for many companies this holiday season.

Although foot traffic at Continue reading

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