STORES Magazine - June 2008 - (Page 22)

fullprice/markdown Rite Aid Does the Right Thing RITE AID recently announced an extensive set of e-commerce and POS LL FU ICE changes to accommodate visuallyPR impaired consumers. The 5,000store chain joins a growing list of national retailers who have agreed to make such changes, including 7-Eleven, RadioShack, Safeway, Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart. The changes involve making all informational images readable by the devices used by those with visual impairments. Under the terms of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) put together by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), images must be tagged with meaningfully descriptive text that visually-challenged consumers can utilize. Changes are afoot inside Rite Aid stores, too. The retailer has agreed to purchase and install thousands of new POS units that allow PINs to be entered in such a way that the consumer can’t be watched typing in the digits. The keys on the specially-created POS units are designed to be easily recognized by visually-impaired consumers. Every store is to have at least one such unit. & RETAIL HITS MISSES Charging for Cash AT&T Wireless has begun charging RK a fee to customers who pay their MA N bills in the store. An administrative DOW charge of up to $5 is added to the balance for those who need or wish to pay in person. Spokesman Mark Siegel says the retailer wants its associates “to spend their time helping customers as they are thinking about their wireless plans or looking at phones,” and points out that there are kiosks in the stores where bill payments can be dropped off for free — assuming a check is enclosed. The policy appears to place a hardship on shoppers who can’t avail themselves of these “options” – and they are some of the nation’s poorest. Studies show that up to 12 million Americans don’t have bank accounts and have to pay their bills in cash. Some are undocumented workers; others are ineligible for checking accounts. Often referred to as the “unbanked,” it seems these consumers are least capable of absorbing additional fees. Window of Opportunity IN TODAY’S punishing economy, empty storefronts are far too common. Several retail chains LL FU ICE are closing underperforming units; others in ChapPR ter 11 will likely be forced to slash store counts – or worse. The International Council of Shopping Centers reports that there were 2,122 store closings among the 28 retail chains it tracks in the first quarter of 2008. One company has managed to find a silver lining among the clouds. WindowGain, a start-up based in Newton, Mass., is working with property managers to convert vacant store windows into high-tech digital advertising displays. The company currently has five displays running in Boston and eight in the U.K. WindowGain sells advertising time on the digital displays and compensates mall developers and/or real estate owners through a fixed monthly fee or revenue sharing. One Ohiobased commercial real estate company plans to bring window displays to about 75 properties in the next 15 months. The technology is especially appealing for marketers with creative that has plenty of movement (one Boston display for Verizon featured twirling cell phones). Among the benefits of digital displays are the ability to include real-time information like news and weather. 22 STORES / JUNE 2008 How Low Can They Go? JUST WHEN you thought you’d seen it all, along RK comes an ultra low-rise bikini jean — with a builtMA N DOW in thong. The jeans sit super low on a woman’s hip and have no zippers or buttons; they’re held up by a pair of strings. Sanna, a Brazilian clothing company, developed the new style. “We specialize in making low-rise trousers and our customers wanted them to get even lower,” says designer Sandra Tanimura. “I came up with the idea of using the bikini strings to let the trousers hang really low without falling.” Clearly, this is a design for the really thin and/or really brave woman. While these jeans might not look out of place among the bronzed bodies on Copacabana Beach, here’s hoping this tasteless “trend” goes belly up in the land of soccer moms. WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - June 2008

STORES Magazine - June 2008
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Tesco Tests Carbon Labels
What Shoppers Think
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story: Boom - or Bust
Green Retailing
Online Marketing
Building Traffic
Water Management
Digital Marketing
Loyalty Programs
Special Report: Taking on Teens
Supply Chain - Robo Crop
Human Resources
Supply Chain - Directory Assistance
Loeb Retail Letter
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
Last Laugh

STORES Magazine - June 2008