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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

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An ad campaign made easy for Staples stores

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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

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During the past 18 months, Wendy’s, the No. 3 fast-food chain, has faced challenges ranging from new product flops to marketing nightmares. Perhaps it’s still recovering from the 2002 death of a marketing icon, founder Dave Thomas, who appeared in more than 800 commercials.
Thanks to the rollout of its Frescata deli sandwiches, April was the first month during the past 14 that saw sales growth compared to a year earlier. While sales grew just 0.4 percent at stores open at least a year (known as same-store sales), the psychological boost for Wendy’s was huge. Continue Reading Rollout flops, marketing woes pin down Wendy’s

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The discount cards cluttering consumer’s key chains play a vital part in getting the coupons and products shoppers want while boosting sales at supermarkets and drugstores.
These loyalty cards are used as research tools for what’s called “data mining,” the same tool used by the National Security Agency in culling through Americans’ telephone records to uncover terrorist plots. Continue Reading ‘Data mining’: Marketing tool or invasion of privacy?

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When RadioShack Corp. closed 480 stores, the company’s plan was to freshen its merchandise offerings. Part of the new look will include a return to selling televisions, flat-panel TVs, that is.
Televisions were phased out of RadioShack’s in 2002 to make room for smaller items. And the electronics retailer has no illusions about how long it might take to lure in its new target market. Continue Reading Will flat-screen TVs boost RadioShack's flat sales?

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The National Retail Federation welcomed a study showing that it costs retailers $6.8 billion annually to collect state and local sales taxes across the nation. The group says the study could help merchants in their long-sought goal of receiving appropriate compensation for the collection costs.
The study, conducted by the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, found that retailers’ cost of collecting sales tax – from training personnel to filing paperwork – amounts to an average of 3.09 percent of the amount of tax collected, or $6.8 billion annually nationwide. Continue Reading Price of collecting sales tax approaches $7 billion

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will start selling build-your-own-computer components in more than one-third of its U.S. stores this month.
While the discount retailer has been blamed for bankruptcies in sectors ranging from groceries to toys, analysts say it is unlikely that Wal-Mart will pose much of a threat to the likes of Dell Inc. Continue Reading Dell likely not sweating Wal-Mart’s custom PCs

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U.S. Internet advertising revenue reached $12.5 billion in 2005, a 30 percent increase compared to 2004, according to The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The organizations’ Internet Advertising Revenue Report tracks spending on search, classifieds, display and rich media ads.
Internet advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2005 totaled $3.6 billion, up 34 percent compared to the same quarter a year earlier. Continue Reading Retailers behind increase in online advertising

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Competition in grocery industry is in the bag

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Competition is brutal for smaller retail grocers. Yet as grocery sales approach more than $800 billion a year, many of these companies are growing at an explosive rate.
Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest food retailer, accounts for about 14 percent of all grocery sales. Continue Reading Competition in grocery industry is in the bag

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In May 2003, Steve Bigari opened a McDonald’s call center in Colorado Springs. Six of his 12 stores tested the idea of off-site order taking.
Now other McDonald’s franchises are beginning to latch on to the call center idea. Continue Reading Restaurants test remote drive-through ordering

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