retail news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary...

• The New York Times reports that L’Oréal is testing a project in the 42nd Street-Bryant Park subway station in New York City that essentially is a vending machine that makes cosmetics recommendations and then sells them to waiting riders.

"The project, called the L’Oréal Paris Intelligent Color Experience, is being described by the participants as an entry in the realm of interactive shopping outside of traditional stores," the Times writes. "It is another example of a trend known as experiential marketing, which seeks to give brands more tangible form beyond retail shelves … The installation, 7 feet tall by 14 feet wide, can be stocked with up to 700 items; plans call for 27 types of L’Oréal Paris mascara, eye shadow, lipstick and nail polish. The items will be priced at $5.99 to $9.99 each, and purchases will be made with credit cards."

I think L’Oréal was demonstrating technology like this at a CIES event years ago … I thought then, and think now, that it is an interesting concept. Not sure that this particular subway station is ideal positioning, but I suppose that they know better than I do about this.

• The New York Business Journal reports that "Campbell Soup Co. said it has completed the sale of its European simple meals business to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners for 400 million euros, or about $552 million … The agreement does not include Campbell’s recently acquired Kelsen Group, which will continue its operations in Denmark and the export of its products to countries in Europe and throughout the world. Campbell said it will continue to export Pepperidge Farm products throughout Europe and Campbell’s products in the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Africa."

Retailing Today reports that shopper analytics firm ShopperTrak is predicting that "the busiest holiday shopping days will occur between Dec. 20 and Dec. 24, and retailers should prepare accordingly. Additionally, with a shortened shopping season and only four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas — down from five last year — retailers must be ready to capture holiday spending during a narrower window of time.

"ShopperTrak expects consumers will make slightly fewer store visits in November and December this year (1.4% fewer than in 2012), but this trend will not translate into a decline in spending. The company predicts national retail sales this season will rise 2.4%, compared to the same holiday months last year."

• McDonald's said yesterday that it will join with Kraft Food next year to test the sale of McDonald's-brand packaged coffee in US supermarkets. Whole bean, ground and single cub coffee will be among the options.

McDonald's being a major competitor to supermarkets for share of stomach, I have to wonder why supermarkets would want to carry such a product and give it visibility, credibility and sales dollars. After all, for what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

• The Los Angeles Times reports that "the world is facing a shortage of wine.

"Global production has dipped to its lowest level in over 40 years, largely after poor weather ravaged European vineyards, according to a report by Morgan Stanley released this week."

Not only are global supplies likely to be smaller, but prices ares almost certainly going to get higher.
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