URBN - Urban Outfitters Moves Into Space Ninety 8
- "With 37,000 square feet on four levels and a directive from chief executive officer Richard Hayne to come up with new ideas, the barriers in some ways were lifted."
- "The non-traditional retail experience, as the company refers to the space, features a strong food component. The Gorbals Restaurant and Bar, operated by Ilan Hall, 'Top Chef' and host of Esquire TV’s 'Knife Fight,' will be in residence on the third floor. Hauser said food will also play a role in the 57,000-square-foot Urban Outfitters flagship opening in Herald Square in June, which will have a coffee shop, hair salon and eyeglass shop. Urban Outfitters’ Fifth Avenue flagship recently added a coffee bar."
Takeaway: Not really sure we understand these new prototypes. A coffee shop could work, but restaurants and hair salons are a bit much, if not borderline alarming. Not sure how many tourists are going to be looking for a fresh trim when shopping for skinny jeans in Herald Square. URBN is looking at new categories as growth drivers, which we get, but it sounds like the brand is running out of things to put in these boxes that are 4X-5X bigger than the typical footprint. We'd rather they keep the boxes a bit smaller and put more focus on what's inside.
NKE - Nike, Brooks Running Get Entangled in Track Controversy
- "Top professional track and field athletes are preparing for collective action against the sport's governing body that could lead some athletes to boycott the U.S. national track and field championships in June."
- "The discord follows two disqualifications at indoor nationals in February. Both cases involved runners coached by Nike coach Alberto Salazar, which prompted opposing coaches, athletes and competing sponsors to question Nike's influence with the USATF and how the body applies its rules. USATF rejected claims that anyone received special treatment."
Takeaway: This one is dicey. Watch 'Prefontaine' or 'Without Limits' and see that from the very go-go (i.e. early 1970s), Nike was going head-to-head with amateur track & field organizations. It's no stranger to confrontation. Is it possible that the Brand has pulled a 180 and now has the USATF in its back pocket? We have a really hard time believing that one. Any erosion in it's authenticity as an independent brand would blow up Nike -- which is why they'd never let that happen. This should blow over.
UA - First Big Presence on MapMyRun
Takeaway: UA has taken it slow with MapMyRun. The training platform is still multi-branded and will most likely stay that way. The acquisition wasn't as much about marketing as it was about shopper data. NKE has years of insight through Nike+ and UA was pretty far behind the curve. So, instead of trying to develop its own device/software platform it decided to go the acquisition route. Right now - UA doesn't have the footwear product to service this channel - expect them to leverage the data as they try to make a more commercially viable product.
AMZN - Introducing Amazon Fire TV: The Easiest Way to Watch Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, and More on Your Big-Screen TV
- "All the content—instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, YouTube, and more, plus the largest selection of videos for rent and purchase—over 200,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video. Plus, listen to music with Amazon MP3, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more."
- "An exclusive new feature called ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you even hit play—instant start."
- "Voice search that actually works—simply speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director, or genre into the remote, and you’re done. No more hunting and pecking in an alphabet grid."
HBC - Saks Fifth Avenue Tweaks Flagship Renovation Plan
- "Saks Fifth Avenue is close to finalizing a $200 million to $250 million renovation program for the Manhattan flagship as it strives to catch up to the competition."
- "According to sources, Saks will transform the main level to a bigger and more powerful cosmetics presentation, extending the category further east through the bulk of the floor. Saks’ cosmetics floor is already among the most popular and productive in the city, with sources saying only the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’sflagships with larger cosmetic floors generate more volume."
- "Sources have speculated that the ground floor at Saks could be redone by sometime in 2015."