February 2009

Lenox purchased at auction

by Cinda Baxter on February 28, 2009

in Economy, Vendors

dickens_pintThose of you who carry Lenox or Department 56 can breath a bit easier. A private equity group led by Clarion Capital Partners LLC purchased the company out of bankruptcy court this week, after the courts opened bidding for a second time.

Unlike the original deal with KPS Partners, the Clarion package includes the Deptartment 56, Dansk, and Gorham brands. The deal should close within the next month, with past Waterford CEO, Peter Cameron, at the helm.

Thank goodness. Those little amazons in the Dickens Village were getting nervous.


NSS hashtag for Twitter

by Cinda Baxter on February 27, 2009

in NSS

twitterAttention, Twitterati interested the National Stationery Show-—I just set up a new hashtag: #nss. We now have a place to gush about all things paper…

…in an electronic medium. Go figure.

Let the tweeting begin!


thumbs_up1. You don’t work for [insert: name of a financial institution], who most of the public distrusts despises hates wants to see on a skewer over raging flames.

2. You’re part of the solution-—not the problem-—where the economy is concerned.

3. You have the ability to make adjustments to your business on a moment’s notice without waiting for board approval or risking corporate pushback. [click here to continue…]


When credit and crisis collide

by Cinda Baxter on February 26, 2009

in Business, Economy, Finances

credit_cardsCredit cards and credit lines give retailers headaches these days-—especially small retailers whose accounts receivable department is pretty much the owner’s desk. At no time in history has the landscape been so muddled.

To accommodate many of the questions and concerns ravaging your sleep, we’re dedicating our first RS:Live! conference call to the topic of credit lines, credit cards, and debit cards. Joining us will be RetailSpeaks Advisory Board member Richard Bodin (previously with Citibank Financial Services Division), ready to share his wisdom and experience as we discuss questions retailers have about the financial maze they face. [click here to continue…]


William Arthur cuts third shift printing

by Cinda Baxter on February 25, 2009

in Economy, Stationery, Vendors

wma_logo1According to a fax sent to retailers by William Arthur this afternoon, twenty-three full time positions are being eliminated in the print division-—ie, the entire third shift. The plan is to try rescheduling them into first and second shifts if possible.

The company will also be reducing customer service hours.

How will this impact turn around times? Customer service hold time? We’ll see…odds are, it won’t take long to find out.


AmEx bribes their way out of debt

by Cinda Baxter on February 25, 2009

in Business, Economy

amex_plat1It’s no shock to retailers paying vendor invoices with AmEx cards that the company is suddenly pulling back the reins on available credit. I know of several storefronts who have had their credit cut back-—or worse, cut off-—in spite of good payment history.

Well, get set. The consumer side is about to heat up. [click here to continue…]


IndieBound: Support for storefront retailers

by Cinda Baxter on February 24, 2009

in Real World, Retail

indiebound_logoMy thoughts about “buy indie” programs are pretty well defined. I’m not a big fan of sites that make  unachievable promises like high Google rankings, streams of new customers, and exponentially increased revenue-—especially when they ask retailers to pay a hefty fee to participate (see here). I do, however, stand behind programs that support stores through online referrals, set realistic goals, and provide materials that can be used to build campaigns from the grass roots up.

Enter stage right: The American Booksellers Association, arguably the king of the mountain when it comes to promoting independent brick and mortars. Their website, IndieBound.org, is not only info-packed, but hyper-hip in that hyper-hip-but-safe-for-middle-agers kind of way. [click here to continue…]


The $50 Retail Challenge

by Cinda Baxter on February 23, 2009

in Economy, Local

50billIndependent retailers, you have a champion in Canada. Ironically, it’s someone from the ecommerce world who understands the importance of supporting local brick and mortars.

In a nutshell, the Retail Challenge (as she calls it) asks consumers to think long and hard about what will happen to their local economies if they don’t keep their hard earned dollars invested there. Here’s the grand plan: [click here to continue…]