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July 22, 2019

Publishing News


Time's Moon Landing Issue Has Ad on Cover Flap, VR App
NY Post: "Time magazine is running a sponsored cover on the issue dated July 29 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, marking a rare commercial intrusion onto a cover of the venerable magazine. In small type, the cover carries the commercial message, “Brought to you by Jimmy Dean.” A front cover flap has an ad on its underside “celebrating 50 years of quality sausage” [the Jimmy Dean brand's anniversary]. Time Inc., which was sold to Meredith in January 2018, had a virtual ban on commercial messages on its cover and a strict separation of church (editorial) and state (advertising). Meredith sold it to billionaire tech entrepreneur Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne late last year. One rare time such an intrusion occurred on Time’s cover was a decade ago when Pfizer Canada had a cover wrap. But Time executives were so concerned about the 1999 cover that they added a disclaimer saying it was a “promotional cover wrap” and “it did not constitute an endorsement by Time and no endorsement is implied.” However, times have changed. In 2014, Time and Sports Illustrated both ran ads for Verizon Wireless on their covers. A spokeswoman for Time said Intel was listed as a sponsor of June 2018’s special report, “The Drone” issue. “As slippery slopes go, that slope has gotten slipped harder and sooner by other magazines,” former Time editor Jim Kelly, now books editor at soon-to-launch Air Mail told Media Ink"... MediaPost: "Jimmy Dean is also the sponsor of Time's new augmented reality and virtual reality app, which launched this week to coincide with the publisher’s efforts around the moon-landing anniversary. Called “Time Immersive," the app showcases new AR and VR projects from Time"...
 

New Chrome Version Could Kill Metered Paywalls
WNIP: "A month ago, almost to the day, we reported that Chrome would make it easier to bypass paywalls. Google has now made it official, confirming that with the release of Chrome 76—slated for July 30—publishers will no longer be able to detect when a user is in Incognito Mode. With around 64% market share, Chrome is by far the most popular internet browser. One of the easiest (and hence, popular) hacks to get around metered paywalls is Chrome’s private browsing, i.e., using the Incognito Mode.“Private browsing modes are one of several tactics people use to manage their cookies and thereby “reset” the meter count,” Google admits.Publishers like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and The Dallas Morning News have all implemented measures to block users from accessing paywalled content using Incognito Mode. For anyone using Incognito Mode, it will become impossible for a publisher to detect if the user is a paying subscriber or whether the person has passed the monthly quota of free articles. Not just for now, the company also confirmed that it will actively monitor possible efforts to bypass the restriction, and will “work to remedy any other current or future means of Incognito Mode detection"... According to Google, “people may have important safety reasons for concealing their web activity,” and the company wants to tighten its privacy features further, with “the assurance that your choice to do so is private as well.”Google has advised publishers “that wish to deter meter circumvention” to look into other options like “requiring free registration to view any content, or hardening their paywalls.” The News Media Alliance has called on Google to rethink these changes. “It’s disappointing that Google is again unilaterally imposing its will on news publishers,” said the group’s president, David Chavern. Since incognito browsing circumvents soft paywalls, and therefore free-sampling opportunities, publishers may be forced to build hard paywalls that ultimately make it harder for readers to access news online. Expecting publishers to make quick changes in light of this development, Google has cautioned, “We suggest publishers monitor the effect of the FileSystem API change before taking reactive measures since any impact on user behavior may be different than expected and any change in meter strategy will impact all users, not just those using Incognito Mode.” “We remain open to exploring solutions that are consistent with user trust and private browsing principles,” it concluded, giving publishers less than two weeks’ official notice before initiating a massive change that will fundamentally affect the business models of publishers big and small. As things stand now, Google’s announcement marks the death of the metered paywall."
 

How Condé Used Pinetrees to Grow Social Search Traffic
Speaking at a PR News Digital Boot Camp, John Shehata, Condé Nast's VP, audience development strategy, "brought the proceedings to a near halt with one statistic: 90% of the world's online marketing content was produced in the last two years, per Botify. SEO data, he said, shows "most of the content gets no traffic...nobody's reading your content." From there it was relatively easy to introduce his presentation on Condé Nast's Project, Pinetree. A play on the word "evergreen," the Pinetree SEO effort tested the efficacy of refreshing and re-publishing content. It also consolidated underperforming evergreen content. Shehata's argument is that updating content can be a better path to gain SEO traffic than constantly creating fresh articles. This is not a silver bullet. Refreshing content is much more than changing dates, updating peoples' titles, giving an article a new headline and replacing "says" with "said." In fact, Google penalizes content providers who try to pass off old articles as new content this way. The Pinetree update process included expanding the scope of an evergreen article, adding in-depth content to it and merging similar content into one in-depth article. All of it was based on optimizing SEO. Shehata said that a benefit of evergreen content is that readers spend more time on the site., "It's not just one and done." Such articles typically contain more "quality, in-depth material," he said. They also drive prospects to the sales funnel.Yet merely populating a site with evergreen material does not guarantee success. Evergreen material decays too. Causes include: increased competition from other articles, new information/data about the topic is discovered, backlinks decay, and search algorithm and search engine results page (SERP) changes occur. Pinetree aimed to refresh evergreen stories every 9 to 12 months, Shehata said, "or when evergreen traffic started declining." In addition, Shehata recommends refreshing and re-publishing seasonal content two to three months before the season begins"...
 

Architectural Digest's Clever Teams With Urban Outfitters
MediaPost: "Urban Outfitters latest Artist Editions series has teamed with Clever, Architectural Digest’s digital brand.The series features pieces for the home by designers Sally Rizzoli, Joseph Algieri, Katherine Entis of Soft Century, Leonard Cordell Bessemer’s Objects for Objects, Mansi Shah and Elise McMahon’s Likeminded Objects. Each artist was chosen based on the kinship between their work and the Clever aesthetic, with bold design, sustainability and accessibility considered foremost.“Editorially, Clever is all about accessible design with a bold point of view. Ecommerce content is an important part of that strategy. We want to help our audience find home decor that's fun and unique, but still attainable,” Keith Pollock, AD's executive director, digital, said... In addition to the line, Clever and Urban Outfitters will host a launch event August 1 at the brand’s flagship store in New York's Herald Square. Four of the artists will appear in a panel discussion led by Architectural Digest’s senior design editor"...
 

Magazines' 2018 Ad Revenue: Print Down, Digital Up
WWD: In 2018, "ad spending in print magazines, including Sundays or inserts, fell by 18 percent year-over-year, according to data compiled by eMarketer, to $8.97B in 2018 from $10.94B in the previous year. Spend in digital verticals of magazines actually rose by 3.3%, to $4.67B from $4.52B, but obviously not enough to make up the difference and not in line with the double-digit-percent growth in the digital ad market. Combined, advertisers spent 12% less with magazines and related content, down to $13.64B last year from $15.47B the year prior. In 2008, ad spend in U.S. print magazines was $20.47B, according to eMarketer, plus $2.14B to digital verticals and sites, for a total of less than $23B. Print spend plunged the following year to around $15B — that was the Great Recession — and held around there until 2015. After that, it dropped by $1B, then $2B for three years straight. All told, print spend has fallen about 33 percent since 2015 and 56 percent since 2008. While digital has grown consistently since 2010 and has actually more than doubled in that time, it’s been incremental at best. By 2022, eMarketer projects that print and digital spend will be about equal, because print will have kept falling, to $5.2B, and digital will have only grown to $4.9B. The annual report from MPA on the general state of the magazine industry normally includes a breakdown of ad spend by the 50 largest advertisers, but did not do so this year. Last year the breakdown showed most major companies reducing their spend significantly. A spokeswoman for the group said the research came through a partnership that has ended. The report is sponsored by magazine printer Freeport Press. Even with continued declines in ad spend — the bulk of revenue for all publishers — the audience for magazine content is still large, although it, too, is shrinking. According to the MPA-AMM report, combined audience (print, digital platforms and video) for the 10 largest magazine brands last year came in at just under 540 million. That is a 7 percent drop from the year before, when total audience came in at 582 million. So it’s down, but still big. And several titles actually saw double-digital audience growth.New York Magazine last year averaged monthly audience growth of 8 percent for its magazine and 26 percent on the web, according to MPA-AMM. Condé Nast title Architectural Digest grew an average of 29% on the web while Vogue’s audience for video grew an average of 95 percent, while video at Bon Appétit grew 107 percent. At Hearst Magazines, Town & Country averaged monthly web growth of 91 percent and mobile growth of 202 percent, while Harper’s Bazaar grew 18 percent on the web and 104% on mobile. In video, Cosmopolitan grew by 155 percent and Good Housekeeping grew by 208%, as video is still a relatively new area of focus for both brands. At Conde Nast — now hyper-focused on video, even bringing in new chief executive officer Roger Lynch with a background in TV, while dramatically shrinking its print portfolio (down to nine from a peak of 32) — digital video is making strides. Bon Appétit with 4.1M YouTube subscribers had 2.3 minutes watched in 2018 and has already hit that number this year. Its series “Gourmet Makes” produced nearly all of the magazine’s top 10 most-watched videos. Recipes are unsurprisingly Bon Appétit’s bread and butter, according to editor in chief Adam Rappaport, but that isn’t all there is to the video success.“The challenge is riffing on a formula that works, while introducing a new wrinkle each time,” Rappaport said. “So, for instance, we’ll take our editors, who have become stars on YouTube, and highlight their favorite things on a page in the magazine, or invite them onto the podcast, or feature their what-I-had-for-dinner photos on our Instagram feed. On each platform, the treatment is slightly different, but the personality remains the same.”Vogue has 5.8M subscribers on YouTube, but its most watched videos over the last year have been entirely celebrity-driven. Its most viewed video was a “73 Questions” with Kim Kardashian West, which featured her husband Kanye West and her children. It pulled in 34.5 million views alone. Kardashian West getting fitted for the Met Gala (which Condé sponsors and Anna Wintour dictates) was also the subject of Vogue’s second most-watched video with 21.7 million views. Her sister Kylie Jenner also accounted for two of the year’s most-watched videos. One on her Met Gala look got 13.1 million views and another on her “beauty secrets” got 25.5 million views.Anna-Lisa Yabsley, Vogue’s digital director, said Vogue content gets an average of 75M views a month on YouTube and adds an average of 250,000 subscribers a month. Yabsley said the growth is the result of listening to the magazine’s online audience, essentially giving them more of what they engage with. So the Kardashians surely aren’t going anywhere. But she also pushed the magazine’s access.“The breadth of talent we feature continues to fuel [our video series’] and audience appetites show no signs of waning,” Yabsley said.But it’s Architectural Digest that had more significant growth in video and with its web content overall. Its YouTube subscribers have more than doubled since last year to 1.84M, with the success of “Open Door,” which tours celebrity homes, but also the launch of “On the Market,” which features high-end non-celebrity real estate for sale... With non-video content, design-focused pieces have done well and average time spent on-site is up 21 percent YoY. AD’s Instagram following has also grown 50% YoY to 4.4M followers... The focus on digital is purportedly paying off for Condé. A company spokesman insisted that the publisher is bucking the larger industry trend of losses in print revenue far outstripping gains in digital, claiming that digital and video ad revenue are actually making up the difference of continued losses in print. However, he declined to provide specifics. Meanwhile at Hearst Magazines, the publisher ended up with the most titles seeing top 10 growth, according to MPA-AMM. Again, Town & Country grew its web audience 91 percent and its mobile audience 202%, with the most read stories being those on “The Crown,” late Sen. John McCain, the Royal Wedding and Queen Elizabeth... Harper’s Bazaar also had growth on the web and on mobile, with its total brand audience increasing by 53%... Even with successes of some magazines with new content and strategies, the market is still difficult given the rapid decline of its place in the ad market. It’s been usurped and then some by Google and Facebook, which get almost all of their revenue from advertising, last year ate up 60% of the entire digital ad market, equal to about $65 billion in revenue... Even with continued growth in digital advertising — it overtook print and television last year and eMarketer projects it to grow another 20 percent this year, hitting $129.34B in the U.S. — magazines are having trouble getting a piece of it. EMarketer projects digital ad revenue will only grow 2.1% for magazines this year. Meanwhile, print ad revenue this year is projected to drop another 17%."
 
WWD 

Forbes, HuffPost Published Positive Articles About Jeffrey Epstein
NY Times: "After Jeffrey Epstein got out of the Palm Beach County jail in 2009, having served 13 months of an 18-month sentence resulting from a plea deal that has been widely criticized, he began a media campaign to remake his public image.The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost... All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times... The articles in praise of Mr. Epstein came about partly because of an online publishing model adopted by some news organizations that relied on outside contributors who often wrote for little or no pay, with little or no input from editors"... Separately, WWD reports that Graydon Carter, in an Q&A with The New York Times’ David Marchese, refuted accusations by writer Vicky Ward that Carter sanitized a 2003 profile of Epstein written by Ward.
 

Penguin Publishing to House Former F+W Titles
PW: "After placing the winning bid in the auction for the book assets of bankrupt F+W Media, Penguin Random House has completed the purchase of 2,000 backlist titles.The company said the former F+W lists will become part of PRH’s Penguin Publishing Group division. Since the deal was for assets only, no F+W employees are moving to Penguin on a full-time basis. Among the titles acquired in the purchase are The Crystal Bible and the Writer’s Market series. In an unusual twist, given PRH’s robust distribution functions, sales and fulfillment for the F+W publishing program will continue to be handled by Ingram’s Two Rivers division for the foreseeable future"...
 

iHeartMedia, Pride Media Co-Produce LGBTQ Podcasts
Variety: "iHeartMedia is teaming with Pride Media, the media company whose brands include Out, The Advocate and Pride, to co-produce a slate of LGBTQ+ podcasts in 2019-20.The partnership will kick off with “The Outcast,” an iHeartRadio original podcast co-produced with Out Magazine. Hosted by Out Magazine deputy editor Fran Tirado, the weekly podcast will explore queer and queer-adjacent topics pertaining to politics, pop culture, fashion, relationships, money and more, with each episode taking a deep dive into one theme or story. The first episode of the series will launch on July 18.In addition, the iHeartPodcast Network later this month will launch Pride Media’s “Food 4 Thot,” a podcast hosted by four queer men...who discuss sex, relationships, race and identity. Pride Media and iHeartMedia companies plan to co-produce more podcasts, to be announced later. The shows will be available on the iHeartRadio app and over 250 different podcast platforms"...
 

NPD, ComicHub Bring Graphic Novel Sales Data to BookScan
PW: "ComicHub, a point of sale system that collects sales data from comics shops, has reached an agreement to supply POS data on graphic novel and comics sales to NPD BookScan, the POS system that tracks about 80% of U.S. book market sales. The agreement was announced at the ComicsPro Breakfast panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. While independent and chain bookstores use POS systems to collect sales data, direct market comics shops—about 2,000 stores that buy stock nonreturnable at wholesale from Diamond Comics Distributors—generally do not. Direct market comics shop sales data is sell-in (what the store buys for inventory) not sell-through (what consumers purchase). The new ComicHub agreement marks the first time comics shops will be able to supply POS sales data directly to BookScan"...
 

OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:







Retail News


Walmart Further Integrating Org to Drive Multichannel
RetailWire: "In a move to better integrate its physical stores with its online enterprise, Walmart is combining both its supply chain and finance teams that work with its e-commerce site and stores. “Our customers want one, seamless Walmart experience,” wrote CEO Doug McMillon in an employee memo obtained by numerous news outlets. “Earning more of our customers’ business in food and consumables is foundational to our strategy, and, at the same time, we will expand our ability to serve them with general merchandise in stores and through our broad e-commerce assortment as we continue to invest and build our e-commerce business.” Greg Smith, EVP of the U.S. supply chain, will head the new combined supply chain team. Nate Faust, currently leading e-commerce fulfillment, will transition to a new role.Walmart U.S. CFO Michael Dastugue will oversee the combined finance team. Jeff Shotts, current e-commerce CFO, will lead Walmart’s U.S. marketplace business. Steve Schmitt, currently Sam’s Club CFO, will become the new U.S. e-commerce CFO, reporting to Dastugue. McMillon said there are “a few areas where we are choosing to maintain some structural separation to enable focus and speed,” including merchandising. “Our eCommerce sales growth, improving customer metrics and progress on contribution profit are encouraging, and we want to keep that going,” he said.One change in merchandising is that Ashley Buchanan, currently EVP and chief merchandising officer at Sam’s Club, will become chief merchandising officer for U.S. e-commerce, reporting to Mr. Lore. Andy Dunn, Bonobos co-founder currently heading digitally native brands Walmart, will report to Ms. Buchanan instead of Mr. Lore.The memo also highlighted several appointees supporting to Janey Whiteside, who in early July became Walmart’s first chief customer officer after a two-decade career at American Express.The management changes follow the announcement in mid-June that the team at Jet.com was being folded into its corporate web organization"...
 

More on Barnes & Noble's New Owner
Quartz: More on James Daunt, recently made CEO of B&N by Elliot Advisors, the hedge fund that bought B&N for $638M in June. "A 55-year-old Englishman, Daunt has spent nearly three decades in the bookselling business. For most of that time, he was exclusively Team Indie, overseeing an idyllic, boutique book-buying experience as the founder of Daunt Books, which has six locations in well-heeled neighborhoods in London.Despite his small-business bona fides, Daunt has in the past decade emerged as an unlikely savior for big-box bookstores, first overseeing the revival of Waterstones, a UK chain with close to 300 branches, and now at Barnes & Noble. His turnaround strategy is centered on a simple premise: In a world where Amazon offers unbeatable convenience and prices, big book chains will only survive if they act more like independents. “A good independent bookshop is something pretty special,” Daunt tells me. “It has personality and character, and that’s primarily driven by the people working in it, the booksellers. Also the manner in which they display their books, the amusement and serendipity of how they curate their shops.” Daunt’s London bookstores guide readers toward such serendipitous discoveries. Some have books arranged by country rather than genre, a setup that encourages browsing... Daunt Books locations are also beautiful spaces, filled with dark wood shelves, green lamps, and gold light... Daunt’s personal affinity for books was what inspired him to open a bookstore at age 26, having worked for four years as an investment banker at JPMorgan—well, that and the urging of his then-girlfriend (now wife), who wanted Daunt out of finance... The core of Daunt’s bookselling strategy relied upon investing in, and trusting, his staff... Daunt Books employees know how to make customers feel that they’re part of a community of readers... Daunt Books developed a devoted fan base, securing a spot on pretty much every list of the best bookshops in London. In 2010, it even launched a publishing imprint, featuring both original works and reissued classics by authors like MFK Fischer and Arthur Conan Doyle... Then, in 2011, Daunt’s career took an unexpected turn. Waterstones was sold to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut, who tapped Daunt to be its managing director. His task was to turn around the struggling chain, which by that point was both unprofitable and widely perceived as money-grubbing and tacky... [Daunt] cut costs by closing stores and laying off 200 employees. But then Daunt set about breathing life back into the company, in part by doing away with everything that made it cookie-cutter. He gave booksellers at each of the remaining stores autonomy over their inventory and promotions, so that each location’s offerings could be tailored to the communities it served. Booksellers at individual stores could even set their own prices... [He} told booksellers to check the visual appeal of their displays by borrowing someone else’s glasses: With the titles fuzzed out, they might see how the colors juxtaposed. He did away with staff uniforms and three-for-two discount deals, and worked to make the shabby branches look polished and welcoming again. He also had Waterstones stop peddling so many non-book products. Stationary, greeting cards, and other paper-based items were similar enough to books to be sensible. Educational toys and games were logical, too. Galoshes, on the other hand, were not. Says Daunt, “You’ve got to be able to work out why you’ve put the thing that isn’t a book in a bookshop.” Daunt’s changes eventually paid off. In 2016, Waterstones turned a profit for the first time in eight years. In 2017, annual profits rose 80% over the year before, and in 2018 it was sold to Elliot Advisors. The turnaround was all the more remarkable because Daunt essentially convinced Waterstones to think locally—a reversal of the usual formula for success in big retail stores"...
 
Quartz 

Kroger’s 84.51° Launches Omnichannel Analytics Tool for CPGs
SN: "The Kroger Co.’s 84.51° data intelligence subsidiary has rolled out an analytics solution to give consumer brands an omnichannel snapshot of customer behavior.Called Stratum, the tool leverages data captured from brick-and-mortar and digital transactions, enabling brands to better position their products with consumers both in-store and online, Kroger and 84.51° said Thursday. Kroger noted that Stratum provides insights gleaned from transactions made by one out of every two households. As the nation’s largest supermarket company, the Cincinnati-based retailer has amassed huge, rich stores of data from its approximately 2,800 stores, vast digital properties, millions of daily transactions and broad analytics capabilities.According to Mike Donnelly, chief operating officer and EVP at Kroger, Stratum can help drive growth for consumer CPG brands and the retailer’s exclusive brands, which are a linchpin of its Restock Kroger plan to redefine the customer experience. The Kroger Co.’s 84.51° data intelligence subsidiary has rolled out an analytics solution to give consumer brands an omnichannel snapshot of customer behavior.Called Stratum, the tool leverages data captured from brick-and-mortar and digital transactions, enabling brands to better position their products with consumers both in-store and online, Kroger and 84.51° said Thursday.Related: Kroger to form consumer brand incubatorKroger noted that Stratum provides insights gleaned from transactions made by one out of every two households. As the nation’s largest supermarket company, the Cincinnati-based retailer has amassed huge, rich stores of data from its approximately 2,800 stores, vast digital properties, millions of daily transactions and broad analytics capabilities.According to Mike Donnelly, chief operating officer and executive vice president at Kroger, Stratum can help drive growth for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands and the retailer’s exclusive brands, which are a linchpin of its Restock Kroger plan to redefine the customer experience.Related: Kroger puts its data science prowess to work for brands“As we continue to accelerate our Restock Kroger strategy, we’re all very excited about the next iteration of our customer insights. Stratum is a science-powered insight tool that is designed with the end-user in mind,” Donnelly said in a statement. “Stratum will be an accelerator for Our Brands and CPG partners alike.”With broad data sets that provide access to in-store and online purchases in one view, Stratum can be used to draw conclusions representative of consumer behavior nationally, according to 84.51° and Kroger. Brands also will have greater latitude in customizing their experience, collecting data on sales performance, inventory and out-of-stocks, assortment, promotions, customer segmentation and behavioral insights, new item performance and in-store space management. Multiple subscription packages for Stratum are available to meet brands’ various needs and budgets, they said"...
 

Kroger Names First Agency of Record: DDB New York
Release: Kroger "has named DDB New York as its official Agency of Record (AOR) after a competitive pitch process. As Kroger's first creative AOR, DDB will be responsible for developing a refreshed, stronger brand identity to support the company's vision of serving food inspiration and uplift through Restock Kroger and beyond... Kroger will work with DDB to evolve the company brand as it transitions to become an omnichannel retailer, powered by four modalities: store, delivery, pickup and ship. DDB's work will build on Kroger's history and purpose to 'Feed the Human Spirit' with an elevated creative and strategic approach, deepening Kroger's connection with customers today and into the future"...
 

House Passes $15 Minimum Wage Bill
SN: "The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Raise the Wage Act that would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025.The bill, sponsored by Virginia Democrat Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott, now faces a more-than-uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly not expected to take up the bill and President Trump has threatened a veto. The House vote was 231-199, with six Democrats opposed and three Republicans supporting it"...
 

Tops to Add SPoT Express Cafes to Stores
SN: "Tops Friendly Markets has teamed up with SPoT Coffee Ltd. to open Spot Express cafés in select stores.Toronto-based SPoT Coffee said yesterday that it has signed a franchise agreement with Tops to install a SPoT Express in the grocery chain’s supermarket at 1740 Sheridan Dr. in Buffalo, N.Y. That marks the second franchise deal between the companies. In late June, SPoT Coffee announced plans for a SPoT Express in the newly renovated Tops store at 3980 Maple Rd. in Amherst, N.Y"...
 

OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:





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