News Briefs


Toys“R”Us Making In-Person Return at Macy’s

Toys R Us in Macy's

While Toys“R”Us seemingly shuttered its doors in 2018, the beloved toy brand is making its in-person return to all Macy’s locations across America.

Macy’s partnership with WHP global begins October 15 and will showcase Toys“R”Us in-store shops, ranging from 1,000 square feet up to 10,000 square feet. These larger footprints will be in Macy’s flagship locations, which include Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. Footprints may expand during the holiday season as the brand looks to offer a wider assortment of products.

As part of the launch, Macy’s will be hosting nine days of in-store events from Oct. 15 to Oct. 23. This will include daily giveaways from brands like Barbie, Lego, and more, as well as family friendly activities.

The in-store presence will include colorful fixtures and interactive demonstration tables. These Toys“R”Us shops will also feature a photo opportunity with a life-sized “Geoffrey on a Bench.”

[Read more: The Anti-Mall: How Innovative Store Partnerships Are Changing the Face of Retail

“Macy’s cannot wait to bring the Toys“R”Us experience to life in our stores,” said Nata Dvir, Macy’s chief merchandising officer. "We hope Toys”R”Us kids of all ages discover the joy of exploration and play within our shops and families create special memories together. The customer response to our partnership with Toys“R”Us has been incredible and our toy business has seen tremendous growth.”

Toys“R”Us products have been available online exclusively at Macy’s since last August. According to Macy’s reported earnings for the Q1 of 2022, toy sales were 15x higher than the comparable period prior to the Toys”R”Us partnership.


99 Cents Only Stores to Provide Personalized Mobile Shopping Experiences


99 Cents Only Stores LLC is teaming up with Swiftly for its 382 stores across California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada, to provide customers with enhanced mobile shopping experiences and generate new advertising revenue for the extreme-value retailer.

Swiftly technology is powering the 99’s new, intuitive mobile app to provide a connected in-store shopping experience with multi-language capabilities. The app, which is now available for free download on the App Store and Google Play, provides shoppers with products at their home store, exclusive discounts and rewards to boost savings. In addition, 99 Cents Only Stores can unlock new advertising revenue, closed-loop reporting with measurable SKU-level transactions and ad clicks to provide accurate, actionable insights unavailable anywhere else.

“By leveraging Swiftly’s technology to power its new user-friendly mobile app, 99 Cents Only will create new and engaging ways to drive loyalty through personalized digital experiences that translate across multiple languages,” said Henry Kim, co-founder and CEO of Swiftly. “99 Cents Only is a great example of a brick-and-mortar retailer benefitting from building strong digital customer relationships, while opening up new forms of advertising revenue and incremental sales.”

The collaboration allows 99 Cents Only Stores to immediately offer a unique, connected shopping experience. This release lays the foundation for future shopper benefits including Delivery and Endless Aisle shopping. 

The 99 will also provide a seamless way for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands to reach customers in a personalized and ultra-targeted digital experience that drives incremental sales. CPG brand partners can use dynamic ad placements, targeted content, sponsored searches, and product recommendations to engage shoppers and boost basket sizes at checkout.

The Swiftly platform provides a comprehensive and integrated retail media network for brick-and-mortar retailers and brands making the transition to a digitally connected shopping experience. The platform enables retailers to generate new revenue from advertising dollars, brands to yield better analytics and higher return on ad spend, all while offering customers a more personalized and connected shopping experience from online to in-store.


RIS Parent Company EnsembleIQ Recognized as a ‘Best Leadership Team’

EnsembleIQ Top Leadership banner

EnsembleIQ, parent company of RIS, was recently honored by workplace evaluation firm Comparably in its “Best Leadership Teams” category for driving positive culture change.

This honor is based on ratings voluntarily and anonymously submitted to Comparably by EnsembleIQ employees about the performance of the company leadership team. Those rated included direct managers and senior leaders, who all received “A” level grades during the past 12 months.

“The leadership team is approachable and open to new suggestions and ideas. They make themselves available to the team at-large and encourage / motivate us to perform our best,” posted one employee. Another stated, “Communication is excellent! I am asked to participate in any meeting or event that can help my growth and knowledge of the company.”

“This evaluation clearly illustrates that our team members value how company leaders have created a positive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diversity of our employees,” said EnsembleIQ chief executive officer Jennifer Litterick said. 

“Prioritizing positive culture change has strengthened the core of our organization. Our leaders are providing a supportive, flexible, and development-driven environment for employees to innovate and drive growth by delivering actionable business intelligence and connections to retail, healthcare, and hospitality business professionals and solution providers,” she added.

[Read more: Creative Agency EIQ Brand Lab Wins 7 AVA Digital Awards]

Culture is an essential component of EnsembleIQ attracting top-tier talent. In addition to utilizing Comparably for cultural assessment, EnsembleIQ provides a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council with 35 people serving on three employee-driven task forces focused on Community, Cultural Competence, and Cultural Belonging. 

The company also provides two volunteer days per year and a platform to find in-person or remote volunteer opportunities that are individual or team based, monthly leadership training, a wellbeing program with a mental health focus, and a feedback culture where employees receive feedback every week. 

“Company culture is driven by the organization’s leadership team,” said Comparably CEO Jason Nazar. “Sentiments expressed by EnsembleIQ employees clearly illustrate they greatly appreciate the outstanding leadership that has driven positive change to provide a culture in which they thrive.”

EnsembleIQ previously was honored by Comparably as a Best Place to Work in Chicago, where the company is headquartered.


CVS Says ‘Thank You’ With ExtraCare Extra Thanks Event

CVS loyalty rewards event

CVS is rewarding its loyal customers by launching its annual, 14-day, app-exclusive event that will provide ExtraCare members with free gifts to be redeemed in-store and online. 

To access, rewards members with linked accounts can simply select “Deals & Rewards” within the CVS Pharmacy app. Free gifts, while supplies last, can range from exclusive store brand products within the first aid, vitamins and supplements, snack and beverages, skin care segments, and more. 

[Read more: CVS Exec Michele Driscoll Peels Back Curtain on Long-Term Loyalty]

Additionally, members can get their orders in as little as one hour when they purchase online for in-store pickup with Free CVS Pickup. Members will also be eligible for ExtraBucks Rewards.

The Extra Thanks Event is running through July 23. 

According to CVS, the rewards program currently boasts 75 million members, and engagement is high — the company saw a 40% increase in coupons sent to users’ ExtraCare cards from the app in the last year. 

07/11/2022 Tapping 3D Planner to Transform the Kitchen Market

kitchen cabinets, the largest online retailer of U.S.-manufactured and assembled cabinets, has selected Dassault Systèmes’ “HomeByMe for Kitchen Retailers” to disrupt the kitchen market with a fully online business model that transforms how consumers shop for their kitchen cabinet needs. can now enhance the user experience by integrating this cloud-based 3D planning solution into its website. Consumers can choose from one of the largest selections of kitchen cabinets and design their dream kitchens online without having to visit a physical store.

“As a purely online company, providing an easy-to-use, web-based user experience was essential. We were impressed with the ease of use and intuitive flow of the ‘HomeByMe’ solution. We will be able to offer our customers an effective and easy-to-use tool to digitally design their kitchen with the latest styles and trends,” said Jeff Robertson, president,

Although digital technologies, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered brick and mortar stores, have transformed the way consumers shop, purchasing kitchen cabinets online is still new for many homeowners and renovators. is aiming to transform this market and make this process easier for consumers by becoming a purely online hub for all kitchen cabinet needs.

With “HomeByMe for Kitchen Retailers,” can deliver a personalized design experience that draws consumers closer to its brand. The solution combines 3D space planning, automation and intelligence. This offers capabilities to automatically highlight potential planning and design errors in real time, guarantee the precision of customized options, propose design alternatives in seconds, and ensure up-to-date products and pricing while enabling efficient collaboration with its designers. Customers can create and modify door styles and colors, accessories, and a wide array of custom options according to their needs and budgets, and make faster, better decisions based on high quality 3D renderings of the expected finished look. The experience will be made available on the company’s website to all customers at no charge.

“The pandemic has significantly transformed the market and the consumer decision-making process. Individuals have been investing in their homes to improve their day-to-day quality of life, and e-commerce for home furnishings has become the new normal. Kitchen and bath, but also home and decor retailers and manufacturers, need to fundamentally transform the way they engage with their customers,” said Vincent Picou, CEO, 3DVIA, Dassault Systèmes. “‘HomeByMe for Kitchen Retailers’ is the omnichannel solution that boosts retailers’ business by bringing game-changing 3D experiences directly to consumers.”


Gap-owned Athleta Enters Outlet Store Market


Gap Inc. owned Athleta will add outlet locations to its store fleet this year.

Athleta’s two new outlet stores will debut at Chicago Premium Outlets in Illinois this summer and Leesburg Premium Outlets in Virginia this fall, underscoring the brand’s commitment to open 30-40 new stores in its 2022 fiscal year.

Each outlet store will feature a curated assortment of Athleta’s performance and lifestyle product, including the Salutation Stash Tight, Momentum Seamless Tank and Conscious Crop. The remaining outlet store assortment will offer customers value on existing Athleta styles.

“As part of our long-term strategic growth plan, Athleta is investing in new access points to reach new customers, deliver new value to customers who already know and love our brand, and expand our community of empowered women and girls,” said Mary Beth Laughton, president and chief executive officer of Athleta. “Our new outlet stores are intentionally designed to stand out from traditional outlet and clearance store models, helping drive new customer acquisition and increased brand awareness for Athleta.”

Athleta’s first outlet location, featuring more than 3,100 square feet of dedicated retail space, opens at the Chicago Premium Outlets this summer. Its second location, a more than 3,300-square-foot store at the Leesburg Premium Outlets, will open this fall.

To date, Athleta has added 12 new stores in North America in 2022. In June, Athleta underscored its commitment to international growth, confirming it will add four additional Canadian locations by the end of 2022.