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Retail briefs

ShopKo wraps third remodel

ShopKo has completed the remodel on the third of its new prototype stores, this one in Eau Claire, WI. The company said it plans 10 remodels for 2004, with two conversions in Omaha and one in Coeur d'Alene, ID, to be completed by spring 2004.

In addition to new color schemes, the Eau Claire remodel includes a drive-through pharmacy, an expanded grocery section, a 24-foot dollar aisle, conveyor-belted checkout lanes and self-checkouts.

HSN leaps into holiday fray

Looking to divert traffic to its on-line and television channels from competitors' stores last week, Home Shopping Network kicked off a Price Buster shopping promotion at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving that continued for 18 hours.

"We looked at the success that traditional retailers have had getting people into their stores the day after Thanksgiving and decided to test our own new version of the pricing strategy on TV and online," said Marty Nealon, evp of merchandising. Part of the pitch to consumers: avoid the hassles associated with traditional brick-and-mortar shopping.

LVMH exec to Saks

Saks Inc. announced the appointment of Fred Wilson as president and ceo of Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, effective Jan. 1, 2004. He is currently chairman, president and ceo of the Donna Karan Company, a division of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), as well as chairman and ceo of Eluxury.com, the LVMH e-tailing arm based in San Francisco.

Wilson will be based in New York and report to Steve Sadove, vice chairman of the company. He will replace Christina Johnson, who resigned in October.

Co-founder reduces role at Bluefly

Bluefly co-founder Jonathan Morris has resigned his post as executive vp and corporate secretary, but will serve as a consultant to the company.

Morris was responsible for the company's business development, legal affairs, strategic marketing, and e-commerce initiatives. The company is conducting an external search for a successor.

"His decision to leave at this time was for personal reasons, and I am looking forward to having him as a consultant to the company following a brief absence," said Ken Seiff, ceo.

Gift cards poised to do big biz

Gift cards are expected to gain even more ground during holiday 2003, with some 69.9 percent of consumers planning to purchase at least one card this season, according to the National Retail Federation's inaugural Gift Card Survey.

The survey, conducted by BIG research in early November, polled 6,551 consumers. On average shoppers plan to spend about $34.24 per card. The average gift card purchaser will be buying more than three cards, spending a total of $114.44.

Gift cards "are no longer considered the lazy man's gift," said NRF president and ceo, Tracy Mullin. "People love to get them."

Nearly half (48.4 percent) of consumers in an earlier NRF holiday survey said they would like to receive gift cards.

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