Our survey on Kohl’s continues with regard to Vera Wang’s new product line. The new information we wanted to communicate was that a kohl’s store in Kentucky cited September 9th as the launch date for the new line, the second store to cite this date.
We also continue to get positive responses from Kohl’s in the Northwest U.S. who report they have the line already in place and are selling Vera Wang items.
We have learned from the more expert retail analysts over at No Turn on Red that a phased deployment of a new product line at Kohl’s might be considered unusual. We do not know but will continue our survey through August to keep folks up on our channel check results.
We caught an article in the Wall Street Journal recently on a new Vera Wang line to be offered at Kohl’s. The article alluded the line being launched in September with an ad campaign beginning at the same time. We decided to start a survey calling Kohl’s and trying to identify the first day of sales for the new line of Vera Wang products.
We have been surprised so far in our survey. 12 of the 25 (48%) stores we have called this week have told us that they already have the Vera Wang line and are selling it. We were told there is a Vera Wang perfume on sale at Kohl’s now too. Many of the stores that have the line appear to be in the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast. Stores in Washington and Oregon and South Carolina and Georgia provided the bulk of our positive responses. We called one store in New York City and they claim to be stocking the line already as well.
13 stores reported that the line would be avaivable in the “fall” generally. At the Kohl’s in Altoona, PA we were told that September 9th would be the first day the line wold be available at that particular store. Stores reporting no to our questions were located in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and California.
We also asked if the line was selling well at the stores which claimed to have it in stock. The answers were generally positive although some reps noted that sales were not as strong as hoped, suggesting high expectations. Our take is maybe the early results are very good but not great at the registers. These could all be test markets for the line and the advertising campaign has not even started so we are by no means suggesting the line will disappoint.
Our take is the line may be sneaking into stores early to be in place when the ad blitz hits the airwaves in September and Kohl’s wants to be ready to meet the demand for the new line.
We want to continue to provide diversified surveys for our readers and bring you this very new, very small restaurant concept known as uWink. The restaurants offer video games as the tables and also allow for self ordering over the video game terminal. It is a new concept and management of uWink formerly ran Atari and Chuck E Cheese.
We called and asked a few brief questions to see how the one restaurant was doing and where any expansions might be heading. We called the restaurant 8 times over a few days and asked if we needed reservations. The answer was “No” 7 times and “yes” once. Half of our calls were during the day so we would not expect reservations to be needed for lunch generally speaking.
As far as new locations, the staff at uWink offered several insights. Dallas and Miami were mentioned. We believe that the uWink management has publicly stated that a Miami franchisee is expected and the company put out a press release disclosing the new Dallas store. In addition to these locations, employees we called talked about two new locations to be opened in January 2008. Potential locations for these two new stores were identified to us as Valencia, Burbank or Northridge.
We have just completed a new survey on Apple’s highly discussed iPhone. We have only seen them in person but have not used them so there will be no product review from us, just straight channel checks from AT&T Wireless store representatives.
We called 52 AT&T Wireless stores and asked three simple questions.
- Do you have iPhones in stock?
- How Many?
- Is the iPhone your best selling phone right now?
The responses to the first question was “yes” iPhones were in stock according to 43 of the 52 (roughly 82%) store representatives we talked to. Nine stores claimed to be sold out of the iPhone. The average number of iPhones in stock was 4.5. Only 4 stores had as many as 9 iPhones in stock and most had 3-6 in stock at any one time.
The answers to our third question were more interesting as this time 33 out of 52 store representatives (roughly 63%) said the iPhone was the best selling phone. 19 representatives said it was not the best selling phone at AT&T. One rep cited the Samsung BlackJack SGH-i607 as a better seller than the iPhone (we believe the Blackjack has been on sale with heavy subsidies since before the iPhone was launched) and another said it depended more on what a person needed the phone for. One rep did tell us that his store sold out in 1-2 days of delivery of iPhones at his store, suggesting that it was obviously the best seller there.
We were somewhat surprised by the high availability of the iPhone but more surprised that the response to our question about it being the best selling device. Our data suggests the iPhone is clearly selling well and being moved through retail but it does not seem to be as strong a consumer device as recent consumer tech smashes like the Motorola RAZR and the Nintendo Wii or even the original iPod.