December 15, 2011; New York City, NY
Contact: Alyson Grunder, Managing Director, New York Foreign Press Center
Telephone: 646-282-2837; email: email@example.com
At the height of the holiday shopping period, 25 journalists from China, Japan, Korea, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil participated in the Foreign Press Center’s one-day reporting tour December 15 on “Trends in the U.S. Retailing Industry.” The journalists had a briefing and tour at Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square which now attracts 20 million shoppers per year (having started as a dry goods store in 1858 that also sold livestock). The journalists were given special access to areas of the store crowded with holiday shoppers, including Santa Land, for photo and video opportunities. Senior VP for Communications Jim Sluzewski also briefed the group on Macy’s efforts to develop life-long customers through sophisticated tracking of client selections. In the afternoon, the journalists participated in a panel briefing at the Time Warner Center, an example of a trend toward high-end destination shopping. Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation, participating via Skype video, briefed the group on the holiday shopping statistics so far, noting that sales are ahead of last year but consumers are looking for value in their purchases. She commented on the impact both gift cards and mobile retailing (“couch commerce”) are having on the industry. Related Urban CEO Kenneth Himmel (developer of the Time Warner Center) discussed the wide diversity of shopping experiences in the U.S. -- from “luxury to bridge to value” shopping -- and the profit making opportunities that exist for retailers in luxury goods.