Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.

Effy Jewelry is an omnichannel retailer that has a strong brick-and-mortar presence in the Caribbean and Alaska, catering to consumers on cruise ships. The problem was that customers would get off the ship, make a purchase in one of Effy's retail stores and the brand would never hear from them again. The retailer didn't have a system in place for effectively collecting customer data in-store, making future communication a challenge.

Wayne, N.J. – Toys “R” Us announced that international shipping is now available for online orders on and to more than 60 countries across Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North America and South America. The company...

-- /PRNewswire/ -- Benihana Inc. (NASDAQ: BNHN) ("Benihana" or the "Company"), operator of the nation's largest chain of Japanese theme and sushi restaurants, today announced the expiration of the "go-shop" period pursuant to the terms of the previously announced Agreement and Plan of Merger by and among the Company, Safflower Holdings Corp. and Safflower Acquisition Corp., dated as of May 22, 2012 (the "Merger Agreement"), pursuant to which Safflower Acquisition Corp. will be merged with and into the Company, and as a result the Company will continue as the surviving corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Safflower Holdings

I've always thought of ladies with bags covered in designer logos as walking advertisements. However, I understand and appreciate the high-quality materials and level of craftsmanship that comes with the premium price tag. Being one who is drawn to deals and always wanting a bargain, I turn to flash-sale sites to look for designer goods. Recently, I visited, a flash-sale site that offers lower prices on luxury brands, and found the perfect bag for spring. I definitely felt guilty for coveting a tote that was equal to two round-trip tickets to the Caribbean. 

Perry Ellis International announced that it's amended and expanded its license agreement to design, manufacture and distribute apparel and related accessories with Callaway Golf Co. Perry Ellis will assume all distribution channels in the Western Hemisphere (U.S./Canada/Caribbean/Mexico/Central and Latin America), including sporting goods, national accounts, green grass, tournaments, specialty golf stores and e-commerce channels. Perry Ellis will continue to service better department and specialty stores and the corporate wear market as per its original agreement with Callaway. 

Office Depot is expanding into the Caribbean as part of its franchise agreement with Benmore International. The company has opened a store in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It plans to open three additional locations in the Dominican Republic in 2012.

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