Flash site Mertado expands into home textiles
Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, August 19, 2011
Redwood City, Calif. - Mertado, a flash sale site launched in April 2010 with a focus on kitchenwares, is rapidly expanding its product assortment to become a home furnishings resource.
Built on the Facebook platform by three Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Mertado encourages a high degree of interactivity - demonstration videos by suppliers (products accompanied by a video have a higher sell-through rate by two to three times) and recommendations product reviews by members (which also drives up conversions).
"The more comments a product gets, the more demand," said Kathy Aronson, director of merchandising and a former buyer for Gap Body. "It's like you're in a shop and suddenly everybody is gathered around one table."
There are currently about 150,000 members on the relatively young site, according to president and co-founder Vijay Chittoor. Members are rewarded for introducing others to the site and receive rewards in the form of "Mertado bucks" to spend.
"If your friend makes a purchase, both of you get $15 in Mertado bucks," he said.
The target customer is a woman age 30-50. "The profile is similar to the online Facebook gamer," said Aronson. "She's more willing to watch video in the Facebook environment, and she will spend about 30 seconds watching video."
Vendors who sell on Mertado may be test-driving a new product before they take it out to retail or clearing through inventory.
"For the trade, what's nice is we're members-only, so that item doesn't pull up on a [Google] search," she added.
Mertado has already begun selling home textiles but is looking to add suppliers, said Dusty Eber, senior vp of merchandising and creative alliances and former president of KN, the Karen Nuberger brand management company.
"More vendors are more equipped for this than we thought," said Eber. "They've got great art. Most are set up to drop ship."
The retailer is not interested in basics, said Aronson.
"Because it's impulse, we're staying away from basic, boring stuff," she added. "If we would do a basic, it would have to have a twist."
Trident promotes Ghorse, Sheerish
Ludhiana, India - As part of its major expansion in capacity, Trident has promoted Kapil Ghorse to head the manufacturer's products team.
Ghorse had been head of home textiles sales and marketing. That position will now be take by Sheerish (he has no last name), who was previously head of the yarn sales and marketing team.
PK Markandy, joint managing director, said of Ghorse: "His valuable experience both in operational excellence and market knowledge will surely add value to him personally and the organization in executing the new role."
Markandy noted that before Sheerish moved to the yarn group four years ago he spent more than six years handling the U.S. market for home textiles sales. "For him, I am sure, [the new position] is more of a home coming!" said Markandy.
Trident is spending more than US $550 million over the next two years on expansion.
Pacific Coast Feather Company creates ‘new generation' mattress pads
Seattle - Pacific Coast Feather Company (PCFC) has significantly expanded its mattress pad line with the creation of a portfolio of new, state-of-the-art mattress pads featuring new designs, leading edge materials and proprietary, added-value features.
The innovations will be unveiled at the New York Home Fashions Market next month.
PCFC's ultra lofty, silky soft LunaLuxe Mattress Pad uses bonded fiber fill, which delivers the feel and performance of an ultra lofty, highly slickened down alternative fiber, the company said.
Inspired by mattress fabrications, the company is adding a new classification of mattress pads. PCFC's circular knit mattress pads feature three interlocking layers of circular knit fabric, which work together to conform to the mattress for a snug fit without interfering with the feel and performance of the mattress. The company said the pad is ideal for use on memory foam and latex mattresses.
PCFC's new Sealy Choice Density Mattress Pad line allows retailers to offer two or three densities while keeping all of the other specifications the same.
Sears Canada posts loss as sales fall 5.3% in quarter
CEO says retailer working to ‘reenergize and transform' itself
Michael J. Knell -- Furniture Today, August 18, 2011
TORONTO - Sears Canada's sales declined 5.3% in its second quarter and posted a loss of C$2.7 million or three cents per share, a reflection of an increasingly challenged retail marketplace in Canada.
For the 13 weeks ended July30, Sears Canada had revenues of C$1.14 billion, down from the C$1.21 billion reported in the comparable quarter last year. Same-store sales were off 5.8%.
The multi-channel retailer's net loss for the latest period was a reversal from a year earlier, when the company had a profit of C$20.5 million or 19 cents per share. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) fell to C$26.7 million from C$68.5 million for the same period of 2010.
Revenue for the first half of the fiscal year was C$2.14 billion, down 6.2% from a year earlier, with same-store sales falling 7.4%.
The net loss for the first half was C$52.2 million or 50 cents per share, compared with net earnings of C$11.7 million or 11 cents per share a year ago. EBITDA for the first half was C$1.1 million versus C$103.5 million for the same period last year.
Calvin McDonald, who was named president and CEO of Sears Canada in late June, said in a note to shareholders that the company has to turn things around.
"We are disappointed with our performance and know we have enormous potential to improve and deliver value to Canadians by delivering a more compelling customer-driven proposition," he said. "The leadership team and I are working on longer-term initiatives planned to bring out the potential in Sears Canada to reenergize and transform the company into a more meaningful shopping choice for Canadians coast to coast."
Earlier this year, former CEO Dene Rogers indicated Sears was pursuing a number of new initiatives to capitalize on its position as one of Canada's leading furniture, mattress and appliance merchants, including the rollout of Thomasville furniture brand, the addition of a luxury sleep shop and a renewed focus on its appliance brand, Kenmore.
At the end of its fiscal half, Sears Canada's network included 196 corporate stores, 280 dealer stores, 32 home showrooms, over 1,700 catalogue pick-up locations, 108 travel offices and a nationwide home maintenance network. It also publishes this country's most widely circulated general merchandise catalogue and offers shopping online at www.sears.ca. It is also the owner of Cantrex, one of Canada's largest retail buying groups.
Chicago-based Sears Holdings, owners of the Sears and Kmart store chains in the U.S., owns approximately 93% of the outstanding shares of Sears Canada.
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