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Keeping footwear in ‘shape’

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A line of inflatable inserts that prevent boots from wrinkling and creasing have gained distribution in Duane Reade.

Booty Shapers offer consumers an inexpensive way to store boots and are available in small, medium and large sizes, catering to all different kinds of boots, the company said.

Booty Shapers can be purchased at Duane Reade, CVS.com, Drugstore.com and more, for a suggested retail price of $9.99 per pair.

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Target garners top spot as valuable brand

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Target once again has taken the top spot as the retailer with the strongest consumer brand equity, according to the latest Harris poll.

This marked the second consecutive year Target has led the way in the "value retail" category, with an increasing gap noted between the company and runner-up Walmart, according to the "2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend" study. Target led the way with a ranking of 74.1, while Walmart had a ranking of 70.8. The industry average in the value retail category was 67.3.

Despite the fact that Target holds the No. 2 retailer spot in the United States, the study determined results by equity, consumer connection, commitment, brand behavior, brand advocacy and trust. The keystone to the program is equity, which provides an understanding of a brand’s overall strength and is determined by a calculation of familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.

“In difficult economic times, consumers look for value.” said Jeni Lee Chapman, EVP brand and communications consulting at Harris Interactive. “Target is seen as a retailer with strong brand equity especially when compared to its competition. As consumers consolidate where they choose to spend their paychecks, those retailers with the highest brand equity are going to obtain greater share of that spending.”

This year’s "Harris Poll EquiTrend" study was conducted online among 25,099 U.S. consumers ages 15 years and older between Jan. 11 and 27. A total of 1,273 brands were rated in 53 separate categories.

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Hy-Vee teams up with celebrity chef

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Supermarket chain Hy-Vee has brought in Australian-born celebrity chef Curtis Stone to develop recipes designed to put the fun in cooking at home, the company said Friday.

Stone, the host of “Top Chef Masters” on Bravo and an investor and mentor on NBC’s “America’s Next Great Restaurant,” will be featured in the chain’s television commercials, print ads and in-store marketing materials for the next two years.

“For a lot of people, putting together a great meal is the opposite of relaxing, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Stone said. “With the right ingredients, the right tools and the right tips, everyone can make healthy, affordable meals their families will love. The recipes I’m developing for Hy-Vee are easy to prepare and serve, leaving families with more time to linger around the table and enjoy each other’s company.”

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