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BusINess » Shopping

Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

Strack & Van Til puts its mark on acquired stores

Ron Mize, left, buys groceries at the Strack & Van Til grocery store in Lowell. David Wilkinson, Strack & Van Til president and CEO, said the company is investing more than $2 million in the Lowell store. (Photograph by Kristin Elkins/The Times.)

Ron Mize, left, buys groceries at the Strack & Van Til grocery store in Lowell. David Wilkinson, Strack & Van Til president and CEO, said the company is investing more than $2 million in the Lowell store. (Photograph by Kristin Elkins/The Times.)

By the end of March, Strack & Van Til officials hope to have completed extensive remodeling of the former Wilco County Market that will bring it in line with the company’s other stores.

David Wilkinson, Strack & Van Til president and CEO, said the company is investing more than $2 million in the Lowell store alone, which it bought from Wilco last year.

“Whether a recession or not, we have to make sure it has the look and feel of a Strack & Van Til store,” he said.
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Clothing prices to rise 10 percent starting in spring

Customer Brian Begay looks at a pair of Levi Strauss & Co. jeans at a store in Hayward, Calif. Cotton has more than doubled in price over the past year, and the price of other synthetic fabrics has jumped almost just as much as demand for alternatives and blends has risen. Clothing prices are expected to rise by 10 percent in the coming months. (Photograph by Paul Sakuma/The Associated Press.)

Customer Brian Begay looks at a pair of Levi Strauss & Co. jeans at a store in Hayward, Calif. Cotton has more than doubled in price over the past year, and the price of other synthetic fabrics has jumped almost just as much as demand for alternatives and blends has risen. Clothing prices are expected to rise by 10 percent in the coming months.
(Photograph by Paul Sakuma/The Associated Press.)

The era of falling clothing prices is ending.

Clothing prices have dropped for a decade as tame inflation and cheap overseas labor helped hold down costs. Retailers and clothing makers cut frills and experimented with fabric blends to cut prices during the recession.

But as the world economy recovers and demand for goods rises, a surge in labor and raw materials costs is squeezing retailers and manufacturers who have run out of ways to pare costs.
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Hobart Borders to close as company files for bankruptcy

Borders is closing about 200 of its 642 stores over the next few weeks, including its Hobart store at Westfield Southlake mall, shown here, after filing for bankruptcy Wednesday. (Photograph by John J. Watkins, File/The Times.)

Borders is closing about 200 of its 642 stores over the next few weeks, including its Hobart store at Westfield Southlake mall, shown here, after filing for bankruptcy Wednesday. (Photograph by John J. Watkins, File/The Times.)

Borders is closing about 200 of its 642 stores in the next few weeks, including its Hobart location, after filing for bankruptcy Wednesday.

The Borders location at Westfield Southlake mall in Hobart is among those slated to close, according to a list posted on the company website.

“As part of the filing, Borders plans to take a store reduction program, which this store is a part of,” company spokesman Donald Cutler said.

The company took into account economic conditions, cost structures and each location’s viability when it was deciding which stores to close, Cutler said.

The bookseller has struggled with crushing debt and sluggishness in adapting to a rapidly changing industry.

“We do appreciate the loyalty of our customers over the years and look forward to welcoming them into the stores that remain part of the community in general and also online at Borders.com,” he said.

“Over the next several weeks, (the closings) will take place, and customers can continue to use their gift cards and coupons as usual in all the stores.”

Shoppers at the Hobart Borders were surprised Wednesday when they learned of its impending closure, which comes just a few months after another major bookseller, Barnes & Noble, closed its doors across the street in Hobart.

Brian McGue, of Chesterton, said he was surprised because “bookstores always seem busy.”
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It’s too good not to go

Nada Karas, co-owner of Good To Go by Lucrezia, shows some of the food baskets the store offers. The Chesterton business serves unique, gourmet, and healthy foods. Good To Go also serves olive oil and vinegar bottles that are refillable in the store. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Nada Karas, co-owner of Good To Go by Lucrezia, shows some of the food baskets the store offers. The Chesterton business serves unique, gourmet, and healthy foods. Good To Go also serves olive oil and vinegar bottles that are refillable in the store.
(Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

The Karas’ love of food mixed with job dissatisfaction put them on the path to opening and operating their two restaurants and recently their new Italian deli, Good To Go by Lucrezia.

Michael Karas is the president and Nada Karas is secretary of Karavan Restaurant Inc., the parent of Lucrezia Café in Chesterton, Lucrezia Ristorante in Crown Point and Good To Go by Lucrezia in Chesterton.
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That Santa feeling hasn’t quite left shoppers yet

Shoppers leave the Toys R Us store Sunday in New York's Times Square. (Photograph by Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press.)

Shoppers leave the Toys R Us store Sunday in New York's Times Square.
(Photograph by Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press.)

Forget the returns line. Americans hit the stores after Christmas to buy stuff, indulging the rediscovered retail appetite that may have made 2010’s holiday shopping season the biggest ever.

Revenue for the holiday season is on track to grow at its strongest rate since 2006. Total spending for November and December could exceed 2007 sales—the best season on record. This despite an uncertain economy and a rise in thrifty habits.
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Crown Point grad building Web-based empire

Jake Nickell, a Crown Point High School graduate and founder of Threadless, an online T-shirt company, was inspired to start the business after entering and winning an online T-shirt design contest. Threadless turned into a multimillion-dollar Web-based business and led to two retail stores in Chicago. It is celebrating 10 years in business. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

Jake Nickell, a Crown Point High School graduate and founder of Threadless, an online T-shirt company, was inspired to start the business after entering and winning an online T-shirt design contest. Threadless turned into a multimillion-dollar Web-based business and led to two retail stores in Chicago. It is celebrating 10 years in business.
(Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

While a student at Crown Point High School, Jake Nickell provided technical support for an Internet provider in the city’s downtown square. Now the 30-year-old owns a Chicago-based company whose business model has been taught at Ivy League schools.

Threadless is a business that “was never intended to be a business,” Nickell said.

In 2000, Nickell was working as a full-time Web designer and was enrolled part time at the Illinois Institute of Art when he entered and won an online T-shirt design competition. Read the rest of this entry »


Consumers give holiday shopping season a big start

Shoppers take advantage of sales while shopping during Black Friday at the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Va. Retail sales rose for a fifth straight month in November as the biggest jump in department store sales in two years got the holiday shopping season off to a jolly start. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Shoppers take advantage of sales while shopping during Black Friday at the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Va. Retail sales rose for a fifth straight month in November as the biggest jump in department store sales in two years got the holiday shopping season off to a jolly start. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Retail sales rose for a fifth straight month in November, suggesting a strong holiday shopping season and raising hopes that consumers will boost the economy in the coming months.

The best month for department stores in two years helped lift retail sales 0.8 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

November’s sales figures were better than economists had expected, prompting many to revise their forecasts for consumer spending growth in the October-December quarter. Still, many cautioned that the economy needs more hiring and higher pay to sustain those spending gains in the new year.
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Holiday shoppers came out to spend in November

A shopper leaves a Target store in Boston. Discount retailer Target Corp. said Thursday more shoppers came to its stores in November and spent more than a year earlier, helping a key revenue figure rise 5.5 percent during the month, more than expected. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

A shopper leaves a Target store in Boston. Discount retailer Target Corp. said Thursday more shoppers came to its stores in November and spent more than a year earlier, helping a key revenue figure rise 5.5 percent during the month, more than expected.
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Generous discounts lured Americans to stores and online for holiday gifts in November, providing cheer and delivering the best gains for retailers in four years.

That raises hopes, already buoyed by reports of crowded malls and early numbers, for a strong holiday shopping season and is an encouraging sign for the economic recovery.

The International Council of Shopping Centers’ index reported a 5.8 percent gain, much better than the 3 to 4 percent increase expected.
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12 holiday money mistakes to avoid

In this file photo taken November 23, 2010, a woman looks at a DKNY holiday window display, in New York. The holiday season is full of pitfalls that can drain your bank account. If you're not careful, you can end up taking a year to pay for all the spending. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

In this file photo taken November 23, 2010, a woman looks at a DKNY holiday window display, in New York. The holiday season is full of pitfalls that can drain your bank account. If you're not careful, you can end up taking a year to pay for all the spending.
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The holiday season is full of pitfalls that can drain your bank account.

If you’re not careful, you can end up taking a year to pay for all the spending. More than 13 million shoppers are still paying off last year’s holiday debts, according to Consumer Reports.

It’s fine to cut back on gifts if your finances are stretched thin. But if you plan to join the holiday shop-a-palooza, remember that it’s not going against the holiday spirit to keep your bottom line in mind.
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Shoppers out earlier than ever for Black Friday deals

A shopper at the Hobart Target on U.S. 30 carries a box on his head just after 4 a.m. on Black Friday, November 26, 2010. Hundreds of deal seekers lined-up outside stores and battled freezing temperatures to purchase items at discount prices. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

A shopper at the Hobart Target on U.S. 30 carries a box on his head just after 4 a.m. on Black Friday, November 26, 2010. Hundreds of deal seekers lined-up outside stores and battled freezing temperatures to purchase items at discount prices.
(Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

It was nearly 4 a.m., the wind chill was a frigid 5 degrees and Jim Willson was ready to go.

Willson of St. John got to Best Buy at 11:30 p.m. Thanksgiving night to get his spot toward the front of the line.

“It’s worth it,” Willson said, adding that he was going to save about $500 on laptops going for $189 that normally sell for $449 each.
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