Retailer boosts extended electronics service plans

Filed under: Retail |

Target Corp. is offering extended electronics service plans – just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The plans offer three years of coverage on all consumer electronics, except for contract cell phones.

Consumers can buy a service plan when they purchase an item or up to 90 days after a purchase. The three-year period starts on the date the item was purchased.

The plans range in price from $19 for products priced under $200 to $79 for products that sell for $1,000 or more.

Consumers appear to be seeking not only low prices, but better service for complex gadgets.

Best Buy Co. Inc., the No. 1 U.S. consumer electronics retail chain, has increased its number of Magnolia home theater installers, while Circuit City Stores Inc. is rolling out its new Firedog services brand, which includes TV installation.

Discounter Costco Wholesale Corp. is piloting a “concierge” service that delivers electronics devices to customers and sets them up in homes, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said that it is testing installation service.

Dream Dinners opens fourth location

Jacki Petersen and Tricia Glaspy have opened their fourth Dream Dinners location in Colorado Springs at 5855 Palmer Park Blvd.

Customers preview a monthly menu online at dreamdinners.com and select items from a menu featuring 14 dinners. Then they register to attend a meal assembly session at a Dream Dinners retail location.

They take the uncooked dinners home and place them in the freezer. The process takes two hours and averages between $210 and $220 per session.

Maintenance Made Simple features new handyman

Danny Reyes is opening a Maintenance Made Simple franchise at 3604 Galley Road, Suite 105.

The business provides home maintenance and remodeling services, ranging from installing a ceiling fan to re-shingling a roof.

Summit honored in Esquire Magazine

The Broadmoor’s newest restaurant, the Summit, is on Esquire Magazine’s list of “Best New Restaurants 2006.”

Summit is one of 20 establishments in America to be included in the guide, and received a special mention for “Best New Design.”

“It’s a joy to sit at Summit in view of all that natural grandeur, which is about the only thing that could distract you from all the goodness on your plate,” said John Mariani, author of Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants.”

“Being named to Esquire’s ‘Best New Restaurants’ is a crowning achievement for Summit, we are honored to receive this recognition from such an esteemed publication,” said C.W. Craig Reed, director of food and beverage for The Broadmoor.

Other dining destinations receiving recognition included Acadiana, Washington, D.C.; AME, San Francisco; A Voce, New York; Bong Su, San Francisco; Cordavi, Charleston, S.C.; Country, New York; Dona, New York; Ecco, Atlanta; The Georgian Room, Sea Island, Ga.; Guy Savoy, Las Vegas; Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas; Junnoon, Palo Alto, Calif.; Om, Cambridge, Mass.; Proof on Main, Louisville; Rasika, Washington, D.C.; Redd, Yountville, Calif.; Re.Past’, Atlanta; Sorellina, Boston; and Cut, Los Angeles.

Falling gas prices spur rise in retail sales

Last month, retail sales were stronger than expected, led by clothing and sporting goods.

According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for September (which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) rose 6.3 percent unadjusted compared to last year and increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from August.

The gains, which led third quarter sales to rise 6.3 percent compared to 2005, were stronger than NRF had been expecting.

“As gas prices dipped last month, consumers had more disposable income to spend on other items, especially back-to-school necessities like clothing and sporting goods,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “If September’s sales are any indication, shoppers appear confident heading into the holiday season.”

September retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) dipped 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted from August and increased 5.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

Gasoline sales, which NRF does not include in its calculation of retail industry sales, dropped 9.3 percent adjusted from August and fell 5.5 percent unadjusted compared to last September.

Last month’s sales gains were led by clothing and clothing accessories stores, which saw sales rise 3 percent adjusted from August and 11.9 percent compared to last year. Sporting goods, book, hobby and music stores also saw strong growth of 1.1 percent from August and 9.1 percent compared to last year.

Food and beverage stores, which experienced growth of 4.7 percent unadjusted compared to last year, were the only retail industry sales category to see a dip in month-to-month spending. Those sales fell 0.3 percent adjusted from August.

NRF expects retail industry sales to increase 6.5 percent this year compared to 2005.

Joan Johnson covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.