Wednesday, July 05, 2000

Industry notes: Retail


Snap.com praises local shop

By Lisa Biank Fasig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A little Hyde Park boutique that specializes in nature-inspired accessories is attracting flowery comments from its online peers.

        Natcloset.com, the online showroom for Nature's Closet, founded last August by Kimberly Anderson, was chosen by Snap.com as “one of the most popular LiveDirectory sites in its category.” Snap.com is an Internet portal site owned by NBC and CNET of San Francisco. The LiveDirectory is a continually updated collection of Snap's favorite Web sites.

        Nature Closet's site, launched in the spring, displays the merchant's affordable, hand-sewn purses and hair accessories, often used for special occasions such as proms and weddings. Because the items are specially made, shoppers need to call the store to order. But users can see Nature's Closet merchandise on the site.

        “Snap contacted us directly. They sent us a nice e-mail saying further down the line we can be up for more awards,” said Ms. Anderson.

        Ms. Anderson founded Nature's Closet because she wanted a store that offered hard-to-find, not mass-produced, accessories. Focusing on purses and hair barrettes, she made her calling card the small, handmade blossoms that accent her pieces.

        Still, Ms. Anderson said Natcloset.com has a way to go.

        “The Web site is still very young, it's a work in progress,” she said.

Restaurants make $1 billion a day
        Loosen your belt and brandish your credit card: According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans are expected to spend $1 billion a day eating out this year.

        If that figure were averaged out, it would come to about $1,200 spent at each of the nation's 831,000 restaurants and food service locations daily. Plus the tips.

        The industry employs roughly 11 million people.

Two new stores join Prime Outlets I
        Bath & Body Works and Zales Jewelers have joined Pottery Barn and Eddie Bauer, among others, at Prime Outlets at Jeffersonville I, about 70 miles north of Cincinnati.

        Bath & Body Works, the skin care and fragrance chain based in Columbus, opened at the outlet in mid-June. Zales, the nation's largest specialty jewelry chain, will open July 14.

        Prime Outlets operates two factory outlet centers on the east and west sides of Interstate 71.

Online store of the week
        You gotta love technology. How else can you bring some of the best retail in the world to you, without leaving the house or picking up the phone?

        Neimanmarcus.com, the online answer to one of the world's most luxurious retailers, offers many of the distinguishing fashions known to the Neiman Marcus chain. Designers include Kate Spade, Sherrie Bloom and Hugo Boss.

        A nice feature is the pan capability on the site — being able to zoom into a piece and then scan it top to bottom, left to right.

        Standard shipping starts at $5 for packages worth up tp $25 and run up.

        New to the site is a page of beauty tips and trends, cosmetics, fragrances, skin treatments and accessories.

       



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- Industry notes: Retail