Entries in Stores (7)


Twinkies Return to Store Shelves Early at Wal-Mart

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hostess Brands LLC has begun to return Twinkies to some store shelves three days ahead of the announced national roll-out.

Twinkies are already available at many Wal-Mart stores, despite previous announcements targeting the re-release of the Twinkie for Monday. The confection was available in 1,600 of Wal-Mart's 4,000 stores by Friday night and will be available in approximately 3,000 stores by Sunday, says the New York Daily News. The new Twinkie's shelf life is said to be 45 days. That's almost three weeks longer than the 26 days the former Twinkie was supposed to stay fresh.

Hostess Brands, based in Kansas City, Mo. had stopped operations at the last of its 11 factories in November after failing to reach an agreement with its second biggest union, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union. The company filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 16. The new owners of Hostess have cut the number of plants to four and the products will be sold through convenience and grocery stores only. Some 600 Hostess thrift stores have been closed permanently.

Other differences for the new product include how the goods will be distributed. Company spokeswoman Hannah Arnold said "90 percent of the product will still be delivered fresh," but some will be delivered frozen.

"A select number of customers -- representing only about 10 percent of Hostess' distribution -- have explicitly requested to receive frozen product," Arnold said. "This allows the retailer to date the product for freshness, provides flexibility in filling their shelves and has no impact on the quality or taste of the products. The decision is up to the customer. The only stores that will receive frozen product are those that request it."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ace Hardware to Open Stores in Afghanistan

Ace Hardware(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Ace Hardware thinks there's money to be made in Afghanistan.

The U.S.-based retail chain is apparently not too worried by the still tenuous security situation in the war-torn country and has enlisted one of Afghanistan's richest entrepreneurial families to run 15 Ace Hardware stores over the next decade.

The Safi brothers, who already operate a profitable airline and luxury hotel in Afghanistan, feel the country's young population will flock to the hardware center for their various home needs.

Despite the ongoing war, the housing market in Afghanistan happens to be doing well and while Afghans aren't traditionally do-it-yourselfers, the Safi brothers believe Ace stores will fill a growing need.

In a statement, the Safis said, "This is a brand new venture bringing a service standard and warranty on every single product. We are optimistic we can start turning a profit by the end of the year."

There's already an Ace Hardware preparing to open in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif with plans to follow up with another store in Kabul before long.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Are Retailers Promoting Too Many Discounts?

Jack Hollingsworth/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There's just two more weekends to go before Christmas and the bargain discounts at the mall continue, as retailers use promotions to get shoppers into stores.

But as Raechel Jackson, the director at Simon-Kucher & Partners, points out, some stores offer too many promotions for their own good.

“Price is not everything,” she tells ABC News Radio.  “There are a lot of other ways that retailers can and do provide value to the consumer.”

An exclusive focus on prices, Jackson says, means less spending on linking brick-and-mortar retailing with website initiatives.

There’s also the look of the store.  

“The way that the shelves look or it’s other things inside the store like a cafe or a play area for children,” she says.  “There are a lot of things retailers can be creative with.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Back-to-School Sales Hitting Stores Early

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- School may be out for the summer, and while the fall semester is still months away, that isn't stopping stores from launching back-to-school sales.

Economist Burt Flickinger says many retailers suffered a sales slump in April and May, and have decided to launch back-to-school sales to try and grab some of the $87 billion that are expected to be spent on school supplies this year.

Flickinger says parents may not spend money on themselves, especially in a sluggish economy, but they will always spend money for their children.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Walmart Plans to Roll Out More Smaller Stores

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Walmart, which has arguably mastered the art of the giant big-box retail store, said it plans to roll out smaller stores throughout the U.S.

Walmart Express stores range from 12,000 to 15,000 square feet, significantly smaller than the 624 Walmart Discount stores, which average 108,000 square feet and employ about 225 people.  There are an additional 3,029 Walmart Supercenters, which are even larger, and include specialty centers for vision and car repair.

Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, said the first 10 Walmart Express stores, which served as testers, turned profitable in their first year.

"We are pretty happy with the initial 10 that we put into the ground," Simon said during a Morgan Stanley Retail conference last week in Boston.

The first two Walmart Express test stores opened in June 2011 in northwest Arkansas, and North and South Carolina were soon added as locations.

Reports of Walmart officials shutting down a bribery investigation related to its Mexican subsidiary last month haven't dampened the company's U.S. expansion plans, at least for these smaller express stores.  Walmart's audit committee is continuing to examine possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are also investigating the allegations.

"Later this year, we will be moving to phase two to test density in a specific market," David Tovar, spokesman for Walmart, told ABC News, although the company has not yet announced which market Walmart is testing.

Simon said the Express stores were "designed as a bit of a hybrid between a food, pharmacy and convenience store.  Some have gas, some don't; most have a pharmacy, but some don't."

The company said the smaller stores offer customers flexibility, especially to those who live in areas that lack larger stores.

"Now, the next phase for us is about how big could this be.  And I think that's important in that we're moving into a phase where we are going to work on the construction costs and we're going to work on the distribution costs," Simon said during the conference.  "Again, already profitable, but we want to get them up to what would be the fleet average, or hopefully beyond that."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


The Gap to Close 200 Stores in North America

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Faced with declining sales, Gap. Inc announced Thursday that it would shutter about 20 percent of its clothing stores in North America by the end of 2013.

Currently, there are nearly 900 stores and within two years, only 700 Gaps will stay open.

The problem is that Gap's mid-priced clothes are being squeezed out by customers looking for items either on the high or low end of the scale.  Old Navy and Banana Republic, which are also owned by Gap Inc., are also seeing sales drop off but not as drastically.

Meanwhile, the Gap is looking East for some answers.  It plans to triple its stores in China from 15 to 45.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


China's Logo Ripoffs: KFG, Pizza Huh and McDnoalds

PRNewsFoto/Apple(BEIJING) -- They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But for many international companies in China, protecting themselves from counterfeiters is a constant and costly battle. Hop on the Beijing subway and you may notice ads for "" It's the same name as the American daily deals web giant, even the same logo. But "" has nothing to do with the real "Groupon," which actually calls itself "Gaopeng" in China.

The real Groupon launched its Chinese website earlier this year with much fanfare but it has been lagging in sales, in part because of websites like "" and the thousands of other Groupon imposters. An employee of told ABC News that the company has nothing to do with "," despite having the same name, and that she did not know why they had chosen the "" domain name.

The problem is not limited to Groupon. This week an American living in Kunming, in Southwest China, ignited a media furor when she posted pictures on her blog of an entirely fake Apple store. From the hardwood floors to the minimalist staircase and sleek Apple posters on the walls, it is almost impossible to distinguish the store from a real Apple store. Shop attendants wear blue T-shirts bearing the Apple logo, and many of the employees reportedly believe that they worked in a legitimate Apple store.

The one major giveaway, the blogger wrote, the sign in front of the store: "Apple never writes 'Apple Store' on its signs -- it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit."

The blogger added that there are two other fake Apple stores in Kunming. No one from those stores could be reached Friday, but one employee told a reporter from Xinhua that staff had been instructed to remain silent and that a press release from the company's headquarters would be forthcoming.

A representative from the real Apple told ABC News that the company is declining to comment on the issue. The three stores are not listed as official resellers on Apple's website.

The fake Apple is just the latest example of brazen counterfeiting in China. In 2003 Starbucks sued a Chinese coffee shop chain that called itself Xingbake, Mandarin for Starbucks. Disney clamped down hard on the "Lovely Rat" Mickey Mouse lookalikes that appeared in Beijing during the Olympics. And it has battled for years to shut down the Shijingshan Amusement Park in Beijing, whose central structure bears more than a passing resemblance to the Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Often companies are smart, changing their name just a tiny bit. Hence the birth of eateries such as "KFG", "Pizza Huh" and "McDnoald's."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio