Retail Briefs

Lowe's Enters Venture with Woolworths in Australia

Home improvement retailer Lowe's Companies will enter the Australian market through a joint venture with the country's largest retailer, Woolworths Limited.

Lowe's own a one-third stake in a new home improvement chain that is slated to open 150 stores over the next five years, with the first opening in the 2011 fiscal year.

Woolworth's, with annual sales of US $41.5 billion, is a diversified retail company with more than 3,000 doors. It's formats include Woolworths supermarkets, Big W discount stores, Dick Smith consumer electronics stores and liquor stores in Australia as well as three supermarket nameplates in New Zealand.

Australia's home improvement market is estimated to be US $20 billion.

HSN Debuts iPhone App

Home Shopping Network has launched an app for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch, creating the e-commerce industry's first live-video "3-screen experience," according to the television and online retailer.

Those who download the app will be able to view HSN programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the U.S. and shop the network's 35,000-plus array of product. The devices collectively have 45 million subscribers. In addition, the HSN Shop App includes an interactive shake2shop feature, which, with a shake of the device, generates random product recommendations along with deals and promotions targeted at mobile customers.

"Our customer is fashionable and discerning, and thrives on information, ideas and discovery," said HSNi ceo Mindy Grossman.

Sears Holdings Launches Home Management Site

Sears Holdings has created a new site, Manage My Home, that supplies consumers with guides to several home improvement projects.

The site does no overt selling of merchandise. For example, the "Allergy-Proof a Bedroom" project suggests buying unbleached foam pillows and anti-allergy bedding, but provides no links to such merchandise from either of Sears Holdings' retail formats, Sears or Kmart. Similarly, the "Make Simple Curtains" project requires the purchase of fabric yardage, which neither chain sells.

The site also has an interactive component, allowing consumers to share their tips and experiences on each project. The "Unlock My Home" blog features posts from hands-on home owners. A group of "neighborhood helpers" is spreading the word about the site and its projects through Twitter.

"By offering everything people need to manage their home tasks and projects on one site, they don't have to worry about getting frustrating jobs completed around their homes. They'll be able to turn the 'to-do' into 'done' just like the pros," said Jim Hilt, chief home manager, Manage My Home, and divisional vp, Sears Holdings.

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

 Home Textiles Today is the market-leading brand covering the home and textiles markets, offering a comprehensive package of print and online products. Home & Textiles Today provides industry news, product trends and introductions, exclusive industry research, consumer data, store operations solutions, trade show news and much more.

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