Monthly Archives: February 2017

Sears Firing 130 from Corporate Headquarters in Hoffman Estates

Sears Tower in Chicago Skyline. Photo Courtesy of John G. Suhayda

In a major restructuring bid which will cost the company upwards of $1 billion, Sears Holdings Corp will be laying off 130 employees from their executive offices in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The company announced that the layoffs are due to a slowing of their traditional retail business.

The details of the firings were elaborated in an email sent by the Sears CEO, Eddie Lampert to the employees at headquarters, on Thursday.

Lampert stated in the memo that the layoffs are part of their cost-cutting plan which are

“necessary to create a more nimble operating structure capable of driving the company’s strategic transformation forward.”

Lampert has already announced earlier this month that Sears will be closing 150 stores over the next two months. Lowering overhead, especially at the corporate level, is also part of the plan.

Sears posted a 16 percent loss in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2016, about $6.1 billion. The hopeful holiday season proved flat for Sears, so cost-cutting seems the best choice to staying in business.

Two major trends have taken their toll on the iconic retail department store chain, which also owns Kmart stores: more on-line sales, and slower mall traffic. Over the past eight years the company has most likely lost about $9 billion as their traditional business model has come under increasing pressure.

Cosmetics Retailer Lush Moving to Mag Mile

Photo of Lush display by Olivier Bruchez

Although the move for Lush is only two blocks south to North Michigan Avenue, the new venue will be worlds away. The move is part of an overall facelift for all their branches to bigger, better, and more user-friendly spaces.

The new store just opened last week, and offers 2,200 square-feet of floor space where customers will be encouraged to touch and feel the merchandise. The experiential sales floor model will be coming to all Lush’s 250 North American stores over the next 3 years.
Brandi Halls, director of brand communications at Lush, explained that the past ten years saw a quick expansion of the number of Lush shops, leaving many too small for the company to give its customers the kind of experience they would like.

The new shops are more than doubling in floor space from the previous design, with plenty of room for rainbow colored bath bombs piled in displays, grocery store style; areas for cosmetic consultations; and even sinks for demonstrations of products.

“With a lot of our more innovative products, people aren’t always sure how to use them, so demos let customers get their hands in the water and feel it on their skin,” Halls said.

Not all the current locations will be abandoned. Any store already reaching 1,500 square feet will remain, but the interior design will be re-done so that it matches the ideal interior. The template for the new look is the company’s London flagship store, which has 10,000 square-feet of space. So far, the company has relocated or redesigned about 30 stores, including the one on Michigan Avenue.

Hooters Experimenting with Less Tight Tops for Waitresses

Hooters restaurant at 1001 Claren Circle in Morrisville, North Carolina. Photo by Ildar Sagdejev

Despite being known for its tightly topped waitresses, one member of the chain of Hooters Management Corp., a licensee of Hooters of America, has decided to loosen up its style. Hooters Management announced the opening of “Hoots” in Cicero, Illinois, right outside Chicago, where the waitresses will be dressed in less conspicuous uniforms.

Customers will order their meals at the counter, and not at tables. Both waiters and waitresses will be on staff to take orders. Since this is still in testing mode, only about a dozen or so items will be available on the menu. Of course one of those will still be chicken wings.

This experiment with less provocative dress for their waitresses comes at a moment when the restaurant industry has shown flat customer traffic. The NPD Group does predict, however, that fast-food restaurants will be growing in the coming months, while sit-down chains will suffer.

There were 337 Hooters branches in the United States in 2015, a loss of three restaurants from the previous year.

Disney Teams with Luxe Bloom to Promote ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with Long-Lasting Roses

 

Luxe Bloom Roses: Photo courtesy of
Kurman Communications, Inc.

Chicago’s Luxe Bloom, seller of unique preserved roses, is joining Disney as a marketing partner for their upcoming live-action re-make of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Disney reached out to Luxe Bloom through their global marketing department. Jan Coleman noted that:

“The roses will be adored by fans young and old and be a very stunning enhancement to the film’s marketing campaign.”

The film will star Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, and is scheduled to premiere on March 17. In the iconic Disney cartoon a rose is the symbol of the Beast’s chances of finding his previous human form again through the power of love.

The partnership will make Luxe Bloom part of Disney’s social media-focused promotion of the film. They will also participate in the staging of the Hollywood premier, helping to create a magical atmosphere so vital to a Disney movie launch. The premier will feature a Rose Wall created by Luxe Bloom, which will act as the backdrop where prominent celebrities will be photographed.

The deal with Disney will also allow Luxe Bloom to sell “Beauty and the Beast” rose arrangements on their website and on Amazon. They will offer a $55 single red rose in a glass cloche all the was up to a crimson rose box of 16 roses for $399.

Luxe Bloom roses are unique in their lasting power. They are specially treated to maintain their beauty for at least two months without water or refrigeration. The roses come from Ecuador, and the company uses an “ancient all-natural method” to keep the roses looking fresh for many weeks.

Other companies have become believers in the magic of Luxe Bloom roses: Langham Hotels in Chicago and New York buy their wares; and Saks Fifth Avenue and the Red Door salons are also clients. Former Fortune 500 executive Shelley Rosen founded Luxe Bloom in 2013.