Seasoned toy executive Neil Friedman has been named president of Toys "R" Us. The former president of Mattel brands will oversee Toys "R" US' merchandising, marketing and store operations for 866 U.S. stores and its online business.
A report released by the MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse indicated that online shopping accelerated more than 16 percent in March, while spending at brick-and-mortar stores slowed. Along with a late Easter and rising gas prices, experts suggest cold temperatures may have kept consumers indoors. Still, the report notes that consumers spent more than they did in March 2010, especially on clothing, luxury goods and electronics.
Today, footwear charity Soles4Souls is launching Hope4Souls. The latest division will collect general products, medical supplies, toys and non-perishable food for those in need. CFO and COO for Soles4Souls, Kevin Goughary, has been named the GM of the new branch.
Wayne Elsey, founder and CEO of Soles4Souls, says the expansion will allow the organization to leverage proven distribution channels and diverse partnerships and give individuals and communities suffering from extreme poverty and the aftermath of natural disasters access to the essentials needed to rebuild.
OshKosh B'Gosh announced Cranes for Kids, an initiative to help families in Japan and raise awareness of children affected by the recent tragedy. For every paper crane the brand collects by April 25th, the company will donate an article of children's clothing to earthquake and tsunami victims. OshKosh B'Gosh hopes to donate up to 50,000 pieces.
Teen retail chain Hot Topic announced several changes last week as part of its turnaround plan, in the face of lagging sales and stock losses. The company reported that Chief Merchandising Officer Amy Kocourek has left the company, and that board member Lisa Harper, who took over as chief executive last week after Betsy McLaughlin resigned, will now also oversee merchandising. Harper is credited with improving the clothing and sales of children's apparel retailer Gymboree while chief executive from 2001 to 2006.
Consumer spending exceeded estimates for February, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Commerce Department. Although Bloomberg News estimated spending would advance by 0.5%, purchases actually increased by 0.7%, the most since October. The report also showed that the U.S. added jobs for the sixth consecutive month in February and that the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since April 2009. "The economic recovery is on a firmer footing," Fed officials said in response.
Interbrand, a global branding consultancy, recently named Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Best Buy and CVS as the top five retail brands in the United States. Technology, including iPad applications and microsites, played a part in the evolution of brands in 2010.
The recession has permanently altered the shopping methods of many moms, according to a survey conducted by the online shopping site Totsy. Almost 80 percent of respondents say they've changed the way they shop, including cutting overall spending and purchasing items on sale and using coupons.
On March 30 new 77kids by American Eagle stores will open at the Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, MI, the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, MA and the Burlington Mall in Burlington, MA.
Light-up Disney and Marvel sunglasses from PS Brand will hit stores worldwide this spring. Intended for children ages 4 to 14, the collection includes characters from Cars, Toy Story, Mickey Mouse and Disney Princesses. Coming this fall, PS Brands will release more sunglasses, including Spiderman and Captain America.