By Stephanie Landsman, CNBC.com
It isn't unusual to see retailers sell refurbished computers or televisions. But what about shoes?
High-end department store Nordstrom is funneling its returned and worn shoes to its Nordstrom Rack outlet stores. This practice is surprising since outlet stores are not known as second-hand stores. It's a place for retailers to send their unsold merchandise each season.
Worn and refinishedThe shoes are clearly labeled as "worn and refinished" - and it's reflected in the markdown. Sometimes they are slipped side-by-side on the racks with new items. Other times, they're put on display in a section of the shoe department.
"On a perception level, it turns you into a junk store, a second-hand clothing store. And, that is something that now calls into question Nordstrom's reputation as a first-rate, quality high-end type of brand retailer," said branding expert Robert Frankel.
He isn't disputing the rationale of the strategy. Nordstrom gets to preserve margins and sell its
Blog Posts by CNBC
By Stephanie Landsman, CNBC.comRead More »from Used Shoes? Nordstrom's Refurbished Shoe Sales
- CNBC | Work + Money – Wed, Feb 29, 2012 11:30 AM EST
By Katie Little, CNBC.comRead More »from Well-Off, Educated and Tech Savvy: The New Couponer
Constance Atkinson, a 20-year veteran of couponing, estimates that she saves more than $1,000 per year by scouring the newspaper for deals.
Consumers redeemed 63 percent more coupons in 2011 as they increasingly looked online and used their smartphones to scour for deals, according to Coupons.org.Atkinson, a Brooklyn resident, and other bargain-seeking consumers fueled a 63-percent surge in coupon redemption last year, according to new data from Coupons.org.
But the changing face of the coupon user may surprise you.
Households with incomes of $100,000 or more are twice as likely to coupon as those who earn less than $35,000. College-degree holders are also twice as likely to use coupons as those who did not graduate from high school.
Atkinson, who made a beeline for the CVS coupon dispenser during a recent trip to the drugstore in New York City, has grown so accustomed to using coupons that she has a hard time imagining paying retail at Macy's a department store that she frequents.
"It would be very difficult for me to do that unless I had to buy a gift," she said. "I would say nine out of 10 times, I would
By Patricia Orsini, CNBC.comRead More »from America's Most Promising Franchise Opportunities
New Franchising Opportunities
For would-be entrepreneurs, franchises offer built-in benefits, such as brand-name recognition and proven formulas upon which to build success. That's not to say that plunking down a chunk of money will buy you a thriving business: Owning and operating a franchise requires, like any business, an investment of time, as well as the will to succeed.
The downturn in the economy has fueled an interest in franchise ownership, said Brian Miller, president and chief operating officer of The Entrepreneur Source, which offers franchise and business ownership coaching. "The kind of jobs that build long-term wealth and equity have gone away for many, and a lot of people are looking to take control of their own destiny. Franchising is a residual benefit of that."
The number of franchise establishments in the U.S. is projected to increase by 1.9 percent in 2012 to 749,499, according to the International Franchise Association. That's not
- CNBC | Work + Money – Fri, Feb 24, 2012 4:42 PM EST
By Jane Wells, CNBC.comRead More »from What the Tooth Fairy Can Tell Us About the Economy
There are lots of ways to measure the health of the economy-consumer spending, sentiment, productivity, home sales.
And now - teeth.
The Tooth Fairy isn't delivering like she used to.
According to The Original Tooth Fairy Poll, the average tooth bagged $2.10 under the pillow in 2011, down 17 percent from $2.52 in 2010 (and a whole lot more than I ever got!).
Delta Dental, which has conducted the poll since 1998, says this is one of the largest declines it's ever seen, and that may not be a good for the stock market. "In seven of the past 10 years, the trend in average giving has tracked with movement of the Dow Jones Industrial Average." What does this tell me? The Tooth Fairy is underwater in her mortgage and sunk all her teeth into Netflix shares last year.
The good news, the Tooth Fairy still visited 90 percent of homes in the U.S. in 2011. However, while the national average was $2.10 a tooth, Delta Dental says the most common reward was still $1, an
By Darren Rovell, CNBC.comRead More »from Girl Scout Cookies, Selling Year-Round?
Girl Scouts: Year Round Sales By Bakers Don't Affect SalesFor the past 35 years, Little Brownie Bakers has been making Girl Scout Cookies. But there's a story behind this story.
Little Brownie Bakers is a division of Keebler, which is owned by Kellogg.
And over the last couple years, supermarket versions of the Girl Scout Cookies have hit stores, selling on a year-round basis.
The brand? Keebler.
It turns out that Thin Mints are made in the same factory as Keebler Grasshopper cookies. Tagalongs are made in the same factory as Keebler Peanut Butter-Filled cookies and Samoas are made in the same factory as Keebler Coconut Dreams.
One might think that Kellogg is cannibalizing sales of Girl Scout Cookies by producing look- and "tastealikes" year round, but Amanda Hamaker, manager of product sales for the Girl Scouts says that's not the case.
"We've had the conversation about the cookies being made in the same factory," Hamaker said. "But we haven't seen a decline in Girl Scout Cookies because of what they're
By Katy Barnato, CNBC.com
Scenes From London Fashion Week
Britain's economy may be stagnant, but this month's London Fashion Week showed its fashion industry at least is thriving.
Coming shortly after retail figures showed a 0.9 percent sales rise in January, the event showcased a host of British talent, from stalwarts like Alexander McQueen (the late designer's label), Burberry and Vivienne Westwood, to relative newcomers like Louise Gray. Other established names gave debut London performances, with Italian label Moschino making its first foray across the Channel.
Quintessentially British styles were out in force, with a Carnaby Street-inspired show by Moschino, and frequent dashes of tweed, wool and felt fabrics across the catwalk. But designers also looked east, spawning many a Russian-style fur hat, headscarf and peasant skirt.
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Read More »from In Photos: London Fashion Week Fall 2012
By Patricia Orsini, CNBC.comRead More »from Cute Cat Photos? Step Away from the 'Send' Button
Should you send that email?Should you send that email? There's a chart for that, created by some folks at Online IT Degree. We found it on Fast Company's web site.
The cheeky flowchart guides the email-challenged through the decision-making process.
First, are you at work? No? Ok, fire at will.
Yes? Well then, is it for someone you work with? If so, is it work-related? Ok, then, is it about cats? Stop right there.
The chart is also filled with fun, informative - and scary - factoids about how much time the typical office worker spends on email per week.
"Are you sure it's work related?" asks one chain on the chart. "Because the typical office worker sends and receives 110 emails per day, resulting in 13 hours of emailing a week. Your boss is not stoked."
More reasons the boss isn't stoked: "Businesses lose $650 billion every year due to unnecessary emails, and office distractions (like email) cost companies more than $10,000 per employee yearly."
Is there anything a business
By Christina Cheddar Berk, CNBC.comRead More »from Hottest Tech Toys for Kids
Toys and Technology
If you have ever had to wrestle your iPad from your child's clutches, you know that kids love playing on tablets and smartphones. The trend has not been missed by toymakers. They know that even before a child can read or speak, they have an affinity for these devices.
Enter the biggest trend at this year's American International Toy Fair: toys that are either based on apps, or can be used with tablets and smartphones. The trend began last year, but this year the volume of products in this category will explode.
Some see the emerging trend as a way for toy companies to woo children back to their products, but others expect these technologies also can be used to enhance classic children's play.
Whatever side you're on, it is still too early to know what kids will think of these products and which ones will stand out in the crowd.
Already, several basic approaches to this market have sprung up. Some toymakers are using physical
- CNBC | Work + Money – Tue, Feb 21, 2012 4:08 PM EST
By Jill Weinberger and Joseph O'Dell, CNBC.comRead More »from 5 Best Pictures Winners with the Biggest 'Oscar Bump'
The Biggest 'Oscar Bump'
Movie studios can spend millions campaigning for an Academy Award. This isn't just a move to take home a golden statue. Winning an Oscar can translate into big money for a movie studio.
Just how much financial influence can the Oscars have?
According to IBISWorld, the average best picture Academy Award winners between 2006-2010 saw a bump of 22.2 percent (or $20.3 million) in box-office revenue after receiving a nomination and an additional 15.3 percent (or $14 million) following a trophy.
The 2011 best picture winner, "The King's Speech," saw a significant Oscar bump, with 42 percent of its box-office sales coming after its nomination and 16 percent more after it won. Paramount Pictures is hoping for a big bump for Martin Scorsese's high-budget family film "Hugo," which grabbed 11 Oscar nominations but has been underwhelming at ticket sales.
Which movies have seen the biggest boost from Oscar? With data from
By Lisa Flam, CNBC.comRead More »from 5 Cutting-Edge Products for Your Pet
If you believe everything a pet owner could ever want or need has already been dreamed up, think again. Americans shell out more than $40 billion a year to make their beloved pets happy. And if they can't find just the right product to do the trick? Well, some entrepreneurial pet owners roll up their sleeves and create the product themselves. The result is a crop of small businesses that has sprung up around these products, and others that have expanded their offerings to meet pet-related interests. We asked the owners of innovative and quirky pet products about their inspiration, and the growing appeal of their products.
See the full slideshow: 11 Cutting-Edge Products for Your Pet
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Love thy neighbor? Sure. Love thy neighbor's cats sneaking into your home and causing a ruckus? Well, that's another story.
Nick Hill, a British physicist, was frustrated that neighborhood cats were entering through his cat door and