In an age of personalized Web sites, iPods and a focus on the individual, it should come as no surprise that more companies are letting consumers personalize their purchases.
For a price, buyers can get customized Hershey bars, M&Ms, Wheaties boxes with their pictures and even their pets’ mugs on a Jones Soda bottle. And now Ketchup kingpin H.J. Heinz, the giant of a $500 billion packaged food industry, wants a piece of the action. Continue Reading Manufacturers offering personalized everything
Home Depot is quietly growing its wholesale unit. The company will still be available for the homeowner and the everyday handyman, but it’s also going heavy duty.
Under the direction of General Electric veteran Bob Nardelli, HD Supply is more like Industrial Depot.
The wholesale division — selling and distributing everything from fire hydrants for neighborhood development to bolts for bridge construction — is Nardelli’s way of taking Home Depot straight to the source of the action in the construction supply chain. Continue Reading Home Depot's wholesale division performing well
At the Institute of Food Technologists show, Harry Balzer, vice president of market research firm NPD Group, offered several insights about American eating habits.
Whatever consumers say they are doing when it comes to making food choices, their actual eating habits reveal something very different, Balzer said.
Americans’ eating habits are slow to change, and for the most part any changes are simply extensions of previous trends, he said. Continue Reading Researcher details forces behind consumer choice
More big-name online retailers, including Dell Inc. and Office Max, are saying goodbye to the hassle of mail-in rebates.
Dell plans to move to an online rebate program next month. The company is eliminating paper rebates to improve customer service and sales. The changes, which will mainly affect consumers and small businesses, will take 12 to 18 months. Dell expects a 70 percent reduction in the number of promotions per product line and an 80 percent reduction in the number of promotions tied to a single product. Continue Reading Mail-in rebate replaced by Internet, convenience
Mark Kirkland has moved his photography studio to Palmer Lake, to allow him to better serve his clients in surrounding communities.
Built from the ground up as a photography studio, the new location includes space for Kirkland’s wildlife photography and for photography lessons and Photoshop classes. “Teaching and mentoring are among my favorite things to do,” Kirkland said. “I love being able to give back.” Continue Reading Whickerbill Gifts closes after 49 years downtown
After years of testing, research scientists in Illinois have created a new fabric from corn. Tate & Lyle, the food-ingredient company behind the breakthrough, is building a plant in Tennessee, and should have the fabric in commercial production this fall.
The corn-based fiber will be used by DuPont Co. to make Sorona, a supersoft, stain-resistant fabric that executives say “could be the next nylon.” Continue Reading Science breakthrough: new corn-based fabric
Walgreen Co., the largest U.S. drugstore chain based on revenue, posted an increase in prescription drug sales during the third quarter, citing the Medicare drug benefit program as the source.
The company reported a 14 percent increase in third-quarter earnings with a steady expansion program. New stores are on record pace, with 475 opened during fiscal 2006, and plans for 500 more in fiscal 2007. Continue Reading Baby-boomer members are Walgreen’s darlings
When three major retailers — Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s — began eliminating their petite departments, women protested. And it seems like more than a few retailers have noticed.
Petite sizes hit the retail scene in the early 1990s to meet consumer demand, but were far from stylish. Retailers are just now beginning to understand the petite market. Continue Reading Retailers re-evaluating how best to reach petites
Customers who prefer the self-checkout in stores can now take care of themselves at many major hotel chains, which are offering do-it-yourself kiosks.
Thirty-seven Hiltons provide self-service machines for guests to check flight information and print out boarding passes, as well as check themselves into and out of the hotel. Continue Reading Hotels following airports, retailers into self-service
The red Easy Button has made Staples the runaway leader in office retail.
The five-year branding campaign began in 2001 and has helped make Staples a $16.1 billion business. In 2005, the company’s profit was up 18 percent to $834 million. Second-place Office Depot booked 2005 earnings of just $274 million, an 18 percent slide, and OfficeMax posted a loss of $73.8 million. Continue Reading An ad campaign made easy for Staples stores