Superstore Toys 'R' Us announced plans to open a new e-commerce distribution center outside Reno, NV, to help streamline the company's growing online business. The new fulfillment center will open in July, and once fully operational, the site will help quicken deliveries to customers in the western half of the United States.
Some of the largest gaming brands in the world have confirmed their planned presence June 14-16 at the Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas. More than 17 interactive companies, including Activision, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Sony and the representatives from Angry Birds are slated to attend, said Liz Crawford, the show's director.
The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) announced 69 nominees for the annual LIMA International Licensing Excellence Awards. The winners will be announced opening night of the Licensing Expo on June 14 in Las Vegas.
Mary Winters has been named Sales Executive for Zutano. Winters will be responsible for sales, merchandising, trade shows, territory showroom support and maintaining market weeks in the New York City showroom. She will be working closely with new and existing retail accounts to optimize product strategy and sales.
Prior to joining Zutano, Winters was the U.S. marketing and sales coordinator for women's clothing brand Lole, where she implemented the Canadian-based company's marketing plans and strategies in the States. She is a graduate of State University of New York at Albany.
Children's footwear brand Pediped announced plans to open its first retail location. Located near the company's Henderson, NV, headquarters, the store will offer Pediped's full range of footwear and accessories, including some styles from previous seasons. The grand opening celebration will take place on May 21.
National Geographic and Pottery Barn Kids are linking up to create an educational merchandising program designed to engage kids in the fields of science, nature and exploration. Starting April 21, Pottery Barn Kids will offer National Geographic-inspired products, including plush toys. Proceeds will go to supporting ocean conservation and research, and merchandise will be available in-store, online and through Pottery Barn's catalog.
Just in time for Earth Day, Old Navy and TerraCycle Inc. will launch Flip-Flop Replay—a call for parents to drop off their children's worn flip-flops at any Old Navy store. TerraCycle, a leader in recycling programs, will reuse the flip-flops in four public playgrounds across the country. The campaign will run from April 22 to May 21.
Specialty stores helped bump overall retail apparel sales this March while department store sales fell, the Commerce Department reported. Overall retail sales rose by 0.4-percent in March for the ninth consecutive month. Chris G. Christopher Jr., senior principal economist at IHS Global Insight, said, "The improving job market and increased household income are helping retailers considerably."
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will launch StyleMint.com, a personalized e-commerce and social media platform, this July. The sisters and designers of The Row are in business with Josh Berman of BeachMint Inc., one of the original MySpace founders, and will help design and merchandise the site's offerings.
New England children's chain Rugged Bear may relaunch in 2012, after the brand's logo, trademarks and website were purchased for $138,000 in bankruptcy court by Diana Lannon, a former children's apparel buyer at BJ's Wholesale Club, and Eli Yedid of New York-based Cutie Pie Baby Inc. Rugged Bear shuttered its 29 locations earlier this year after declaring bankruptcy. Lannon said she plans to bring back the Rugged Bear brand by selling Rugged Bear merchandise into department stores and other clothing outlets rather than the current Rugged Bear locations.