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March 3, 2014 - The Great Recession and slow recovery have taken a toll on state and local government revenues. Many states and municipalities have cut services and operations in response, but they’ve also significantly ramped up tax enforcement activities in an effort to secure more revenue, relying heavily on simple technology tools to automate and expedite enforcement processes.

While governments are putting technology to work for tax enforcement purposes, many small businesses have been slower to follow suit on the tax compliance side, living under the false premise that compliance technology is expensive, difficult to use, and relegated only to those large enterprises that have armies of technical and accounting staff who master the expertise to use these tools. This misperception leaves them vulnerable and at a significant disadvantage. It’s not that business leaders don’t want to leverage the best technology tools to ensure compliance: Often it’s a case of small business leaders not realizing the scope of their obligations and the many pitfalls associated with compliance, even for company leaders who have the best of intentions, and more important, that modern technologies are readily available to businesses of all sides, that are not difficult to implement and not expensive to use. Read the full post on the Retail Merchandiser Blog.

Feb. 28, 2014 - Mattel, Inc. and MEGA Brands Inc. announced today a definitive agreement for Mattel's acquisition, through a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc., of MEGA Brands for US$460 million. The acquisition advances Mattel's global growth strategy of building upon its world-class portfolio of brands by expanding into two of the fastest-growing toy categories. MEGA Brands, a family of leading global brands, is the No. 2 player in the $4-billion construction building sets category with its MEGA BLOKS brand as well as a competitor in the $2-billion arts & crafts category.

Read more: Mattel Expands its Playing Field, Acquires MEGA Brands

Feb. 27, 2014 - Today’s woman is a key decision maker for her household, and yet, many retailers aren’t effectively targeting the female market. When you consider that women account for 85 of all consumer purchases[1], and by 2020 women will spend $7 trillion annually[2], it’s clear that it’s time to up our game.

Insights in Marketing, LLC conducted a survey of 1,300 women, ages 18-67, to uncover five Female Behavioral Insight Profiles (FBI ProfilesTM). The goal? To help retailers get better acquainted with who their customers are. Uncovering these female profiles gave us better insight into what motivates her to buy, and, in doing so, revealed how to best communicate with female shoppers. We’ve arrived at the following tips to help sharpen your communication skills when it comes to women. Read the full story on the Retail Merchandiser blog

Feb. 25, 2014 - As a small business owner, how often do you look out front and notice people walking by without even looking? Potential customers walk by daily and don’t even give you the chance you deserve. First impressions are everything. Window shopping hasn’t gone away yet, and it’s still an important element of attracting customers. You can’t make passersby come inside your business, but you can catch their eye.

Modern storefront windows, possibly with a catchy logo or message, are your best chance for making a mark on passersby, who will judge your business in a split second. Read the full story on the Retail Merchandiser blog.

Feb. 25, 2014 - PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division and Activision Publishing, Inc. today announced a promotion that brings fans the ultimate way to get involved in the award-winning Skylanders franchise. For the first time ever, Frito-Lay and Activision are providing fans with the unique opportunity to choose and name a new hero that will appear in the next Skylanders game slated for release in 2014. In addition to naming honors, the winner will receive a $100,000 scholarship.

Read more: Frito-Lay, Activision Team Up For Skylanders Promotion

Feb. 25, 2014 - Ashley Furniture HomeStore, the largest furniture retailer in the U.S., celebrated the opening of their 500th store in Longview, Texas on Feb. 21, 2014. Throughout its 17-year history Ashley Furniture HomeStore has experienced explosive growth – exceeding $3 billion in sales in 2013 - and adding store locations throughout the U.S. and abroad. The brand's robust pipeline includes 50 additional HomeStore openings in 2014. The Longview store is the 48th HomeStore in the state of Texas. Ashley Furniture HomeStore's network of licensed and company-owned stores has been the number one selling U.S. furniture store brand since 2006.

Read more: Ashley Furniture HomeStore Celebrates 500th Opening

Feb. 21, 2014 - Rabin Worldwide, a San Francisco based company and a leader for the disposition of food manufacturing facilities, will conduct a three-day public auction of the remaining assets at the former Campbell's Soup plant in Sacramento, Calif. The auction begins February 25th and will end  February 27th.

Read more: Rabin Worldwide to Auction former Campbell's Soup Sacramento facility

Feb. 21, 2014 - Reflecting on the 2013 holiday shopping season, it’s clear that U.S. consumers are shifting how and where they buy. According to comScore, online holiday season sales rose 10 percent from 2012, including an 18 percent increase in online spending on Cyber Monday and a 15 percent increase on Black Friday.

E-commerce is expected to continue flourishing, with mobile transactions accelerating and online retail sales projected to reach $434 billion over the next four years. Of course online shopping is convenient, but we are learning that consumers can also feel good about its big picture environmental impact. A Carnegie Mellon University study found that E-commerce is the less energy-consumptive option roughly 80 percent of the time, when compared with brick and mortar shopping.

As retailers expand their online capabilities, they should explore ways to promote the intrinsic environmental benefits of shopping online. Read the full story at the Retail Merchandiser blog.

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