South Korea

In just a few short hours, China will begin celebrating its largest shopping day of the year: Singles Day. Adopted five years ago as an anti-Valentine's Day marketing stunt by Alibaba, the quirky holiday has taken on a life of it's own. Last year, Singles Day brought in a record 35 billion yuan ($5.8 billion U.S.) for Alibaba alone, and a reported 50 billion yuan total. In comparison, Singles Day sold more than twice the gross merchandise volume of all U.S. sales during last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined. And now that Alibaba has reported a successful first quarter after going public, analysts are predicting sales for this years Singles Day will be even bigger.

Gone are the days when marketers could simply check the "mobile box" with a one-size-fits-all mobile website or app. Mobile must be personalized and integrated throughout all consumers’ interactions with a brand. Mobile can be used to drive synergies with in-store interactions and improve retail associates’ productivity and customer service capabilities. Smart retailers are making mobile a top priority to capitalize on these opportunities. 

The pressure is on for apparel retailers, as two new competitors are planning their entry into the U.S. discount space. Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M said on Thursday it will bring two of its secondary retail brands, & Other Stories and COS, to the U.S. this year. Last week, General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani told CNBC the retailer was looking to bring these concepts to the U.S. The higher-priced COS brand will open two domestic locations, in

The much-maligned suit worn by the U.S. speedskating team should never have been victimized, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank says in an exclusive interview. "It was a bit of a witch hunt that began to build," he says, in his first extensive interview since the Under Armour suit became a scapegoat for the failure of U.S. speedskaters to win Olympic medals. "The suit became the witch." Plank is so certain that the "Mach 39" suit is a winner that Under Armour will continue to invest in it and tweak it until the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea. 

Avon Products Inc., the world’s largest door-to-door cosmetics seller, will cut about 1,500 jobs globally and exit South Korea and Vietnam as part of a plan to save $400 million by the end of 2015. The steps will result in pretax costs of about $80 million to $90 million, with $50 million to $60 million recorded in the fourth quarter, the company said yesterday. Chief Executive Officer Sheri McCoy, who took over in April, announced the cost-cutting goal last month and said she would lower the company's dividend as it works to recover from three years of declining profit.

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