Friday, April 11, 2003

Industry notes: Retailing


Saks offers $5 valet parking

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Downtown luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue is appealing to Tristate residents who say they don't shop downtown because parking is too inconvenient.

Saks, at Fifth and Race streets, has begun offering valet parking for a $5 fee from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

"There is a need for convenient downtown parking," said Ina Levinson, Saks' general manager. "Saks Fifth Avenue understands the need for this kind of customer service."

According to a survey by SurveyUSA for the Enquirer and WCPO-TV (Channel 9), conducted just before Christmas, 38 percent of Greater Cincinnati adults said they rarely shopped downtown because of concerns about parking, traffic congestion and safety.

Elder-Beerman opens new-strategy store

Dayton-based Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. recently opened a new 52,000-square-foot store in DeKalb, Ill., that represents the company's new strategy of opening smaller, single-level stores in small to mid-sized markets where they can be the dominant retailer.

That strategy resulted in the exit of the Elder-Beerman department store from Forest Fair Mall this year because the store didn't fit with the company's growth plans, officials said.

Cincinnati was Elder-Beerman's largest market.

Gloria Siegler, a company spokeswoman, said opening smaller versions of its full-line department stores allows the retailer to increase its sales-per-square-foot, a key measure of a store's success.

Kroger board adds business school dean

The Kroger Co. said Thursday that it has elected Susan M. Phillips to the company's board of directors.

Phillips, who has been dean of the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management and professor of finance since 1998, will serve on the board until Kroger's annual meeting in June, at which time she will stand for election by shareholders.

Phillips' election brings the total number of Kroger board members to 15, including two African-Americans and two women.

In 1991-98, Phillips served on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

She was a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Washington in 1981-87 and served as chairwoman in 1983-87.

In addition to her economic background, Phillips has a long tenure in higher education. She was vice president for finance and university services and professor of finance at the University of Iowa College of Business Administration in 1987-1991. She also taught finance at the University of Iowa, as well as at Louisiana State University, in the 1970s.

Phillips is also a director of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Cantor Exchange.

Volunteers needed for Taste of Cincinnati

The Downtown Council is seeking volunteers to staff the 2003 Taste of Cincinnati, which annually showcases cuisine from many of Greater Cincinnati's leading restaurants over the Memorial Day weekend.

Volunteer positions include staffing souvenir booths, working as event ambassadors or in the VIP hospitality area.

Prospective volunteers can sign up on the official Taste of Cincinnati Web site or by calling event coordinator Chris Hooven at 579-3191.

This year's theme for the Taste of Cincinnati - to be held May 24-26 - is "The Art of Eating'' in recognition of the opening of the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art and the Cincinnati Wing of the Cincinnati Art Museum this year.

E-mail rtucker@enquirer.com



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