Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 1

EDITOR'S LETTER

Slump?
What Slump?

According to Commerce Department
figures released in early January, U.S. retail
sales dropped 0.9 percent last December.
This wasn't a great sign for retailers, as
it indicated consumers were tightening
their spending belts toward the tail end of
the holiday shopping season. This was in
spite of the fact that gas prices have been
so low, as well as signs that the economy
overall is improving.
From automotive, gas stations and
electronics stores to clothing stores and
general merchandise stores, declines
in December were a concerning sign.
However, retailers such as JCPenney and
Macy's reported increased sales during
the entire holiday shopping season. In
addition, the National Retail Federation
indicated that holiday sales rose 4 percent
to $616.1 billion in November and December, compared to last year.
The Commerce Department report also
said that total retail sales in December
rose 3.2 percent when compared to 2013,
while total retail sales for October-December were up 4.1 percent from 2013.
The mixed data gives an indication that
things could have gone better for retailers,
but the holiday season was by no means a
total disappointment.
Now the real challenge begins. Every
year after the holidays, the retail world
looks for ways to avoid what has been
dubbed as the annual post-holidays sales
slump. Well, guess what: According to
Adrian Diaconescu from thedroidguy.
com, there is no such thing.
In "The 10 best (and cheapest) Android
gadgets to buy post-holidays" from
mid-January, Diaconescu writes: "One of
the most irritating, debated, often-echoed
and outright bogus myths of the 21st century retail world is the so-called post-holidays slump. Slump, slip, decline, recession,
whatever, it's just not real."
Diaconescu continues to explain: "But
let's get one thing straight. Nobody in
the retail business, from Amazon to Best
Buy to Walmart, sells anything at a loss.
No matter how incredible a deal might
feel, they are always making money. In the

short term, the long haul or, most of the
times, both."
Diaconescu also touches on everything
from continued discounts from retailers,
the approach of Valentine's Day, the impact of the CES show, and the work that
retailers are doing to alter public perception of the January sales environment.
Working to alter perception and find
ways to get consumers back after the
holidays certainly has a long history. Take,
for example, the story of French retailer
Le Bon Marché, which bills itself as "the
oldest department store and the only one
of the Rive Gauche."
In 1873, Le Bon Marché hosted what it
called its first "White Month." The event
was created by store founder Aristide
Boucicault, inspired by the need to get
new items in stock after the annual flurry
of holiday activity. By creating an event
focused on special, themed "snow colored"
items, Le Bon Marché started a tradition.
Le Bon Marché has built on that
tradition this year, partnering with The
Webster, a Miami-based boutique. The
partnership has spawned a collection of
white-hued merchandise featuring labels
like Chanel and Valentino. The collection
will be available in-store at both retailers
from Jan. 12 through Feb. 21.
It appears that the retail world has a
choice to make. We can cry over smaller-than-expected gains in overall holiday
sales and fear the prospects of a cold New
Year's "slump." Or we can learn from
Le Bon Marché and appreciate that the
economy is on the upswing while finding
ways to entice consumers to buy, which is
something many consumers are still eager
to do.
Seems like an easy choice to me.

EDITORIAL -------------------------------------------------------------------EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
John Krukowski
john.krukowski@retail-merchandiser.com
(312) 676-1125
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
eric.slack@retail-merchandiser.com

Eric Slack
(978) 299-9807

EDITORS
Jeff Borgardt, Staci Davidson, Alan Dorich, Russ Gager, Jim Harris,
Janice Hoppe, Jamie Morgan, Chris Petersen
DESIGN ----------------------------------------------------------------------ART DIRECTOR
Erin Hein
erin.hein@retail-merchandiser.com
(312) 676-1136
DESIGNERS
Megan Green, Jonathan Lyzun, Vida Soriano
PRODUCTION ---------------------------------------------------------------PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Michelle DeCeault
michelle.deceault@retail-merchandiser.com
(312) 676-1178
SALES ------------------------------------------------------------------------VP OF SALES
Stephen Pastorello
stephen.pastorello@retail-merchandiser.com
(978) 299-9811
PROJECT COORDINATOR
jon.conroy@retail-merchandiser.com

Jon Conroy
(978) 299-9814

PROJECT COORDINATOR
adam.hays@pmcmg.com

Adam Hays
(978) 299-9817

PROJECT COORDINATOR
tony.pelonzi@retail-merchandiser.com

Tony Pelonzi
(978) 299-9815

PROJECT COORDINATOR
rocky.pisa@retail-merchandiser.com

Rocky Pisa
(978) 299-9810

PROJECT COORDINATOR
jay.purcell@pmcmg.com

Jay Purcell
(978) 299-9873

EDITORIAL RESEARCH -----------------------------------------------------SR. VICE PRESIDENT
Joy Francesconi
joy.francesconi@retail-merchandiser.com
(978) 299-9870
VP EDITORIAL RESEARCH
amy.ingoldsby@retail-merchandiser.com
EDITORIAL RESEARCHER
michelle.fontaine@retail-merchandiser.com

Amy Ingoldsby
(978) 299-9862
Michelle Fontaine
(978) 299-9875

EDITORIAL RESEARCHER
anne.gray@retail-merchandiser.com

Anne Gray
(978) 299-9872

EDITORIAL RESEARCHER
judy.kushner@retail-merchandiser.com

Judy Kushner
(978) 299-9866

@RMmagazine
Phoenix Media Corporation
100 Cummings Center, Suite 250C
Beverly, MA 01915

Eric Slack
Editor-in-Chief

January/February Volume 55, No. 1 is published by Phoenix Media
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January/February 2015

RETAIL-MERCHANDISER.COM

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 2
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 4
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 5
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 6
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 7
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 8
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Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - Cover3
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