Retailers & Distributors

Retail Employees Sue Apple

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Apple finds itself facing a class action suit from its retail workers-- a pair of Apple Store employees claim they lost up to $1500 in unpaid overtime yearly due to too frequent bag searches.

AppleAccording to former employees Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle (who worked in New York and Los Angeles stores respectively) Apple demands bag searches whenever a worker leaves the premises on lunch hours and at the end of the day. Supposedly an anti-theft measure, the “personal package and bag search” policy apparently demands 5-10 minutes of "off-the-clock" daily waiting, adding up up to $1500 a year in unpaid overtime (Apple pays $18.75 an hour).

Such a sum might not sound like much when one takes the profits Apple makes into consideration-- but since bag searches are a company-wide procedure Apple faces a potential liability worth $45 million at the face of its 30000 retail workers spread across the globe.

Apple does not provide comment on the lawsuit as yet.

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"Good" Q1 2013 for Carphone Warehouse

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Carphone Warehouse (CPW) sees a "good" fiscal Q1 2013 with sales growing by 10.6% Y-o-Y (or 13.2% if one excludes France) after it completes the acquisition of the Best Buy 50% stake in CPW Europe.

CPWThe acquisition is worth $775 million in cash and stocks, and will be fully consolidated within the CPW group.

Driving CPW sales are strong growth in the postpay category in the UK and consumer preferences shifting towards high-end smartphones.

"We believe the Group is well positioned following the strategic moves we have made and we are focused on replicating the UK's operational execution across Europe and bringing our Connected World capabilities to other business partners, including our recently announced partnerships with Media Markt/Saturn and Metro Group," CPW CEO Roger Taylor says.

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Carphone Warehouse Teams Up with Kate Moss

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Carphone Warehouse announces an unlikely-sounding partnership-- British model Kate Moss joins the retailer's design team to create "a range of fashion accessories for smartphones and tablets."

Kate MossDubbed "fashion tech," the Kate Moss Accessories Collection aims for female smartphone owners, which CPW says have surged by 52% over the past 12 months (compared to the 37% increase in men).

64% of women in the UK are smartphone owners, the retailer continues.

"My phone's as much a part of my look as my bag or shoes, and yet there's so little choice out there," Moss says. "My whole approach was to treat this as any other fashion collaboration; I was heavily involved in the design process and loved seeing my vision come to life in the final product."

CPW gives no actual details on the Moss-branded accessories (although it's safe to assume a case or two will feature) other than launch on Summer 2013.

Go Carphone Warehouse

Samsung's Best Buy Take on Retail

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Samsung follows the likes of Apple and Google in the US as it makes further steps into retail-- it starts opening "Samsung Experience Shop" mini stores inside much larger Best Buy locations.

Best Buy Experience ShopThe store rollout kicked off on 27 April 2013 (the US Galaxy S4 launch date, non-coincidentally) at the New York Union Square Best Buy, a grand opening complete with CEO appearances (Samsung's JK Shin and Best Buy's Hubert Joly) and Bruno Mars performance.

Like the mini Apple Stores found at several Best Buy locations, Samsung-trained employees man the store-within-stores where customers can purchase, activate and learn how to use Samsung devices without leaving the Experience Shop.

The company hopes to open 1400 stores at Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile locations by early Summer 2013, but has no word whether it will offer the concept in Europe-- which wouldn't take place at Best Buy, if for a rather obvious reason.

Go Samsung Experience Shop

Best Buy Gives Apple Store Example Up

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As Best Buy appears to be getting back on its feet, The Wall Street Journal reports the retailer is set to dump at least one retail idea-- "Richfield," the store model "inspired" by the Apple take on retail.

Best Buy testAccording to the WSJ CEO Hubert Joly halted plans involving the Richfield model when he took over the retailer and, 6 months later, "his finger is still on the pause button."

How come? Joly's answer is "fixture changes [are not] a wise use of capital." The retailer also has bigger plans to concentrate on-- namely beating the showrooming trend, changing product mixes in different stores and store-within-store deals with the likes of Samsung.

A July 2012 idea championed by then interim CEO Mike Mikan, the store redesign was to house less gadgets within a smaller footprint, a "Solution Central" (read "Genius Bar") help desk and several self-service points replacing checkout lines.

Go Best Buy Loses Interest in Being More Like the Apple Store (WSJ.com)

Go Best Buy Follows Apple Store Example