Michael Kors, one of America's largest sportswear brands, is suing wholesale club Costco for false advertising. The issue stems from a Costco marketing email campaign which was sent to Costco customers last April. Advertising Mother's Day gift ideas, including "designer handbags starting at $99," it includes images of several Michael Kors bags, many of which have the MK logo on prominent display. The problem is that Costco doesn't sell MK bags.
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek is eliminating self-service checkout from the company's stores because he says his employees do a better job. "They're great for low-volume warehouses, but we don't want to be in the low-volume warehouse business," he told Brad Stone at Bloomberg Businessweek.
Michael Kors 553,161 956,368 73% CVS 7,273,276 10,877,674 50% American Apparel 380,814 534,573
E-commerce is quickly gaining traction as a quick and affordable entree to China's vast retail market, with U.S. brands Costco and Macy's both reportedly planning big new moves into the space. Their strategy reflects an emerging trend that has big Western chains circumventing the traditional retailing route into China, seeking to avoid the big costs and risks that have led to big losses and retreats for names like Best Buy and Home Depot. But the online strategy also carries its own risks.
For this installment of the Retailer Web Performance Report Card, I looked specifically at response times and availability for big-box retailers Wal-Mart and Home Depot, as well as wholesale warehouse giant Costco. Despite relying heavily on brick-and-mortar locations, these retailers need to keep online shoppers a priority. The stress of managing busy holiday web traffic is over and the industry is in transition before spring, but website monitoring and attention to online visitors shouldn't take a break.
Joe Biden has a Costco card? Who knew? The vice president — who renewed his membership just this week, it turns out — flashed his Costco credentials Thursday as he helped the discount retailer at the grand opening of its first store in Washington, D.C. Costco CEO Craig Jelinek greeted Biden before his shopping spree, as did company co-founder Jim Sinegal.
As you read this, you're likely in the middle of or wrapping up your busy back-to-school season, so your thoughts may not be on the upcoming holidays. But if last year is any indication, you should probably start thinking about it. Holiday 2012 figures to be another blockbuster shopping season for cross-channel retailers.
Have you seen the latest Costco commercial? No? That's because it doesn't exist. Costco runs on a business model that's fueled by word-of-mouth. Usually when people think of Costco they think of buying in bulk. But after a while, that becomes old news and customers need a new reason to talk. That's where wedding gowns, a $3,000 toilet, caskets and mortgages come in — it's all about the unexpected surprises while shopping that sparks conversation about the store.
Maybe it's the gargantuan boxes or pallets stacked to the ceiling, but Instagrammers love taking photos at Costco. Over at Wal-Mart, shoppers prefer Twitter, and Safeway shoppers check in with Yelp. All of these behaviors go by the same name — social media moments, according to LocalResponse, a mobile advertising provider. The company released its first study of retail check-ins from more than 136,500 social media moments at 10 top U.S. retailers, using four social networks — foursquare, Twitter, Yelp and Instagram — over the summer.
Target, Costco Wholesale and Gap are among 15 retailers recognized on the Ethisphere Institute's 2012 "World's Most Ethical Companies" list. The other retailers honored were Safeway, Whole Foods Market, Starbucks Coffee Co., Patagonia, Wegmans, Marks and Spencer, Best Buy, eBay, Timberland, OfficeMax, Petco, and Ten Thousand Villages. Ethisphere evaluates hundreds of companies, naming only those that surpass their industry peers to the "World's Most Ethical Companies" list. The 2012 list features 145 companies in more than three dozen industries that show leadership in promoting ethical business standards.