Archive for the ‘Merchandising’ Category

Kmart selling product obtained from Bankrupt retailers.

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 1.48.34 PMWhat a sad state of affairs for retail. Considered once as a leading retailer has now become a vulture circling dying retailers. Good for the customer? Hardly. If it did not sell and keep another retail alive what is going to make if more successful at Kmart? Price, but the consumer will be purchasing faulty, inferior, out of fashion items and to those who hard press to buy family essentials, I get it. But now think about the impact this has on the Vendors that supply Kmart with product. Their orders are not cut to zero which will put that level of retail into a need to sell off manufactured goods. So Mr., Vendor, we know Walmart was built on Vendor relations and that is why they were and remain great. Vendors need to give TJX, Marshalls, Family Dollar and those retailers their deliveries first, their best items and focus on a partner retailer not a retailer that is desperate to stay alive.

I am happy that Macy’s will follow my advice and keep off price within the main store.

Monday, November 16th, 2015

I am glad that Macy’s took my advice in my blog and linkedin post. Stay true to your core customer and moving off price to a remote locations is not a good idea for a multitude of reasons.
The thought to lead your core customer out the door and down the street to an off price location was against all retail principles.
Now to provide an area in the store where price driven shoppers who want branded items ( Marshal’s customer and TJX ) will appreciate this option. And most probably while in the store will pick up a few full price items as well.
The logistics to get vendors to buy into selling Macy’s closeout items over the Marshall’s volume potential due to the bulk of their locations would have been interesting.
Now Macy’s does not need to worry about filling an off price store off location with product similar to Target or Walmart due to price point restrictions. Another battle Macy’s would not win nor set up to wage.
I like this new reversal and believe it will be a winner.

The Benefits of a Store Audit

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

111It is common practice for all of us to visit a doctor once a year to validate how we feel, any new issues to concern ourselves with and should something suspicious appear, that it is investigated.
Retail is no different but all too often the retailer is concerned about the product cost and sell pricing and spends little time looking at the store through a customers eye.
The practice of Retail Audit goes beyond the product only. America loves the words: new, just arrived, special, updated, and essential. When the store takes on the spirit of these words you provide change and interest to the customers shopping experience. Beyond the words are the actions you take. Product change over time and a display that properly showed the item a year ago may need an adjustment to accommodate the update version of that item. If you allow time to pass without addressing this issue you wind up with a square trying to fit a round hole.
For the bottom line the yearly audit should review the lighting and determine if an investment into new LED efficient lighting will over time pay itself back with energy savings on your monthly bill. Electric is often one of the biggest monthly line numbers in your expenses and a reduction in cost equates to an increase of profit.
In conclusion, retailers you owe it to your store to provide a yearly physical to insure it is healthy, you remain wealth and wise.

There is a big elephant walking the sidewalks and shopping for new items

Friday, March 30th, 2012

RDD Associates has recently designed a store in Kingsburg, CA for a drug store that has reinvented itself. The new 6000 s.f. store is selling everything to assist the aging baby boomers with mobile items. Scooters, lift chairs, walkers, are some of the items on display in a big box format. The breath of assortment is telling their customer that they know what the customer wants, what they stand for and instilling a sense that A-Z Home is the leader in this category. The store opened and sales are through the roof.

At this point, I wonder how many retailers have stopped reading this article as it does not relate to their product in the store. As a guest lecturer at Retail design seminars, I often point out that the average person looks but does not see. The example above should ring loud and true for you. The message is what can I be selling to this affluent, large body of mass, to improve my business and their quality of life. Whether the customer you are not selling is a baby boomers, gen x , or milleniums they all have common likes and needs which you can be providing product for.

The answer is simple but the execution is not always easy. As a Store Planner our skill is to get more items out in the same space and not have the customer feel they are trapped in a sea of displays. Most retailers have a hard time giving up product to just trade off volume with a new item. That is not what I suggest. As a merchant your responsibilty is to find the next great item before your competition does. Intrench the item with assortment into your store all of which will prevent your customer from seeking alternate retailers to shop for these items. As a Store Planner, our goal is to blend the new product into the store by making the customer aware of the new offering. 

For those retailers that do not want to see this train coming, you can stand next to Sears and JCP, Kmart, and so many other retailers who are standing on the platform while the train has left the station with their customers on board.

Designing Stores of the Future

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Trying to reinvent the wheel has been an age old challenge often met with disappointment. As Store Designers set their sights on creating the next great retail environment it is essential not to forget the basic principles of retail. Introducing the newest materials or technological advances into a new store design is only part of what will make that store design succeed.

Dollars per square feet still rule the retail universe and anyone that doesn’t think so can ask all the Award winning Store Designs that are no longer in business. As a retailer you must formulate the business plan to generate profit and then follow the plan to stay in business. Yep, it is that simple. Where many retailers run into trouble is not recognizing that the store plan, display methods need to be tested to see they can meet the business plans bench marks.

The math is easy, just take the product, the turns, the gpm, the units on hand and extend it out for a years worth of sales. If the number meets or exceeds your business plan volume or sales figures, you will live to see another year of retailing. I have found in my years of designing prototypes for start up retailers that they were doomed from the beginning as a result of not completing the exercise stated above.

We have made it part of our design process to prove out the capacity issues and inventory levels throughout the year before we pick colors, new technology or lighting. Our stores stay in business as a result of this review and we urge everyone to insist on having the figures proven before nails are placed into the walls.

Recently, a wedding gown store in Monsey, NY required the above scruiteny as the owner was working out of her home for years. She conviction to make the business thrive was obvious, but in planning the new store, it became apparent that they capacity to generate the profit to run the business could not be met based on the first design firm asked to assist her with the project.

Once we determined the sales performance and linear feet to make the profit levels a reality the design effort became much easier. We we able to concentrate on innovative design ideas which turned the basic landlord vanilla shell into a radient Euro Design Couture store. Every gown had a home and every piece was able to be displayed in the best possible way. We are proud to say the store has out performed expectations and the future looks bright.

A simple twist to a better rate of sales

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

From Fixtures Close Up Blog


Firstly, I do take exception to the term “Jerry rig” followed by “Jerry built” however, I have become use to it.

The concept of presenting product to the flow of traffic is a sound merchandising idea. With the 45 degree angle, the product takes on a new viewing vista to the customer coming down the aisle.

The problem here is that the product needs to face in one direction because of the dynamics of the package are such that if you alternate the direction, you reduce the actual dimension of available loading space as you go back. That is not good, because the capacity is the most critical issue with product presentation. You can see from the photo that the product went back only two rows and stops. The other consideration is that if the right product is shopped and removed, there is no longer a visual image showing to the other direction.

This design is a left hand, right hand solution meaning it is intended to fit in either side of the aisle but only showing product in one direction. The proof is that the right side of the display in the photo is blocked visually by another product shelf therefore, the 45 degree view serves no purpose in stopping traffic.

The direction of traffic usually puts the direction from the front of the store going back as the primary direction to show the goods on a 45 degree angle.

I agree the pricing could have been handled better by the store, that is why it is to the vendors best interest to design the unit with minimal store participation. Assuming the store would load the product into the unit correctly apparently was too much of an assumption. Lastly, the store and the vendor better figure out why an entire bin of product is empty? That did not happen in one days worth of sales. In today’s difficult retail environment, this void of product is costing both partners dearly in lost sales which cannot be made up easily.

Kmart and Selena Gomez Announce Apparel Collection — HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., March 30 /PRNewswire/ —

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Kmart and Selena Gomez Announce Apparel Collection — HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., March 30 /PRNewswire/ —

KMART Looks to build Fashion Cred

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I have been following the progress of KMART since 1980 and they have never gotten it right in all these years. During hard times for KMart there was no money to revamp the stores and bring them up to par with Target or Walmart. Unfortunately, they do not have a model in Sears as to how ready-to- wear should be presented as “the other side of Sears” has not gained traction in ten years.The answer is either bite the bullet and believe that a REAL Change will make a significant difference in the all so important category to the bottom line.. Apparel.The answer is simple. As Store Planner for over thirty years I have looked to exclusive solutions to secure brand recognition. KMart needs to invest in unique display systems, stay away from stock solutions and create a look that is right for them. The formula is not difficult but it is very hard to accomplish from the inside as politics often cramps the creative process. Dollars will always play a factor but you do not have to spend a lot to look new and fresh. My intuition tells me that KMart has used up at least seven lives and running out of chances to finally do it right and build customer CRED.Jerry Birnbach F.I.S.P.Partner RDD Associates Inc Store Designer NYCRetailers for a better tomorrow blogger

Madonna new Hits will be on the Runway not Billboard’s Chart

Thursday, March 25th, 2010


If ever there was a brand that was meant to be, this is it! Madonna has consistently maintained who she is and what she stands for. Her success to have withstood the test of time is a testimonial to an industry comprised of fickled fans.As a retail consultant for retailers and brands my advice is simple. Pay attention to detail and have a clear vision of what you want to look like at the store level. I have seen too many retailers kill a celeb brand by not taking the extra step to do it right. This is not about throw it at the wall and watch it stick. Even Madonna needs to follow the basic rules of retailing in order to guarantee success.The first of many right moves was to join forces with Iconix. They certainly have a track record for successful launches but Beware of Macy’s. Having experienced personally the XOXO brand at Macy’s Herald Square I can only say their intentions were good, but their execution was just that.I for one would like to see a red thread sawn into the wrist of every item if possible. You would be doing many a favor.

Jerry Birnbach F.I.S.P

Partner RDD Associates NYC Store Designers

Retailers for a Better Tomorrow Blogger


Retail Brand leader goes to Target with Walmart number two

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

I recently did a review for a vendor of the number one and number two retailer referenced in this article. Based on my review of Walmart verses Target the order of best was reversed. Target should be number one, not based on volume but on the shopping experience.Having a long relationship with both retailers and experienced the evolution of their store presentation and product offering I think Target has been proactive in their thinking and Walmart reactive.Target has been a sea of red when you entered their store. In concert with their advertising they consistently have a brand recognition without the name even visible. The interior of Target is upscale, they used slat wire units before Walmart. Their graphics are well defined, depict the lifestyle they stand for and have expressed their message to the consumers for years. When Isaac Mizrahi was introduced to Target, it changed the world of Branding in Mass retail. Walmart looking for an answer to Target’s Isaac over a year later landed on George by Me, created by a top designer Mark Eisen. Although the product was innovative, the line was hindered by a reorganization at Walmart which led to the brands demise.Walmart has now introduced a more upscale flooring material. Walmart has become a sea of blue obviously to compete against the color red. Walmart have gone to yet another department sign system which has a very “cheap” look to it. Creativity lacks in a Walmart Store while it reeks in a Target Store. I understand that cost is a major consideration is Walmart, but Target works under the same restraints and pays attention to detail in their display presentation. Walmart uses extrusions, molded clips, mass produced display elements which are very constructional in nature. I think their customer is sophisticated enough to recognize mediocre design solutions. Sure it keeps product pricing down and perhaps that is acceptable to their consumers.One could never take away the success Walmart has enjoyed over many years and certainly they are a power to reckon with. I lived Walmart in the 70;s and 80’s when Mr. Sam was taking hold of the industry. He was innovative, he was a people person and he had relationships with vendors which led to their overwhelming success.What Target has done in my mind was to reach out to the Department store customer who felt the pinch of the economy and make them feel that shopping at Target was not a radical step down from Macy’s.Walmart’s message, in my eye, is they are representing a step up from Family Dollar. As the two approach the middle of the off price retail spectrum it will be interesting to see who leads the way and wins those customers. Will price prevail or will style win over.Jerry Birnbach F.I.S.P.Partner rddassociatesinc Store Planners NYC